Fasting to the bone: 600 cal ADF + up to 20 hours IF.

$20-$30 per week. I believe I could do it. Though not for long.

Since January to end of Feb I wanted to see how much I can stretch the Cyclical Keto (or rare HC+IF cycle) further with the following in mind:

  1. Using Alternate Day Fasting principle. 25% of maintenance calories on fast days. 
  2. With 18-20 hours of regular Intermittent Fasting. Nope, no “Ad libitum” eating every-other-day indulgence like a spoiled king. 
  3. Without going over >$30 per week food budget expenditure, and still allowing refeed resources.

So I’ve invested 10 days (11th-15th & 18th-23rd of February) as two ADF Trial weeks. First trial week as a HC (low fat) run: while secondly a Keto/LC+IF (high fat). All that On top of 18+ hours IF whilst withstanding daily stressors, including training. 

Is all of this possible? I dare say “yes”. If somewhat a very turbulent experience.

No survivorship-abs selfies required. For anyone nosy enough to see what I look like – go read third part of my 2018 Food For Thoughts. Imagine overall bodily composition reduced by 2%. Then you’d probably be right.

The fast days ≈ 600 calorie ADF.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – are considered my fasting days. Whilst technically speaking this isn’t 100% calorie-free ADF protocol, I had no choice but opted for a Protein-Sparing-Modified-Fast inspired approach to allow volume depletion training sustenance.

So what does a typical solid meal in a 600 cal looks like?  First of starting with a BCAAs (as preworkout if it’s on training day). A 35g WPC shake, then “dinner”. Which consists of 1 Woolworths sardine + another 120g worth of meat source, with very few source of fibre (but at least, some sauerkraut). Condiments wise – low fat Caesar salad dressings have recently been my go to condiment, or up to 13 grams worth of parmesan cheese, before salt and pepper.

Conventional ADF principle advocates 25% of maintenance which equates anywhere between 500 to 600 calories. Obviously, since I exercise – 600 calories only gives 120-130 grams of protein. This only leaves 100 or so calories left for condiments  some fibre amount, and not to mention – Omega-3 supplementation still cannot be ignored as it’s not enough from cans of tuna or sardines alone.

The eating days = 30% deficit with up to 19 hours IF.

Only two (2) days are reserved. These are Tuesdays and Thursdays which follows my 2018’s usual at least 25-30% deficit on all weekdays. Equating anywhere between as low as 1200 to 1600 cals per day. Obviously Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for full two day mandatory carbohydrate refeedings.


I did survive. Though with many concerns.

So…Is it worth these minute glamour of <10% body fat percentages? Whilst remaining happy, all chins-up – even amidst depression and anxieties for living frugally to the bone?

I present bad news first. An entire year (and still ongoing) on Cyclical Keto+IF, $25-$35 per week humility budget was very difficult enough as is.

Imagine this – raise the difficulty with 600 cal intakes on 3 days. Combined that with 18+ hours fasts with training. Hence, totalling just under 5000 calories across five days.

From what seemingly two-forever weeks = deficiencies are much more felt and palpable. Hence, many concerns remain glaring as I journalled them earnestly.

  1. Firstly, being salt intake, and their diverse minerals – which needs to be taken into much more serious account. No, not just sodium. What about iodine, magnesium and traces of copper? This is where one has to embrace drinking some portions of “hard water” – from taps and sinks, whilst still emphasizing fluoride filtered sources. Warmed ACV+Stocks certainly helped, but very underwhelming. Iodised Rock salts, and surprisingly Potassium Bicarbonate which I previously demonised in my 2018 food for thoughts – now become more of a necessity to comfortably aid the glycogen uptake off each and every whey shakes. I do not know how or why, but my body now senses its’ deprivation of potassium that much more convincingly.  
  2. Secondly, glucose control management seems more or less the same. Inbetween HC+ADF and Keto+ADF: obviously the glucose homeostasis is going to be markedly reduced on Keto+ADF. However interestingly throughout all my documentation, especially amongst the PSMF fast day can hover anywhere between 4.5 to 5.5 MMOL.
  3. The hypoglycaemic events at times during Keto/ADF trial week felt sadly different.  Not the calm nor relaxed interpretation I used to associate in recent memory. I’ve testified in the the past whereby although I felt stressful (of all daily stigmas akin to being a “bludger”) yet amazingly calm-zen-like overall state of “being”, when I hovered as low as 3.4 MMOL on wednesday 8PM. After a 20 hour fast and after a 200+ rep leg day the night before. But the 3.9 MMOL cover picture you see was on Thursday’s Keto/ADF trial just before my 250+ rep depletion shoulders training….and I was NOT calm nor collected. I was already – mentally and physically – exhausted.
  4. Following from this – is to watch how often you urinate. I now slowly am coming to terms why a ritual as simple as urinating is actually a bad thing. Sim Land shared this in good detail during his extremely long five day fasts. Especially if the urine is clear, it is certainly a sign the body is catabolising its own water reserves. To think of it logically – water in but no calorie in = water loss.
  5. I find that I was able to get / wake up much earlier that easier. But this comes as drawback. The earlier my waking set point, the more likely sooner I am to experience fatigue throughout the day, even if despite mineral intakes are maintained throughout. 
  6. Lastly but the most worrysome of all – the reliance for more Betaine HCL + Pepsin (esp. solid meals). Apparent as soon as day #1 – my digestibility seems (stagnated) / stalled so much more – to the point whereby being hungry is now simultaneously met with another problem – a lack of acidity. Clinging to my usual ACV routine certainly helped but nothing is as convincing or as convenient as Betaine HCL + Pepsins. 

Good news? The training experience.

All training was surprisingly maintained. Some exercises actually felt improved, if however then plateaus.

From compound Jeffersons( despite my prior L5/S1 injury) alongside many other machines, isolations and negative-tension-holds all remain doable. However of course, one or two sets off 6×6 / 5×5 <30s limited rest regiment – were regular occurence.

But one gain, compensates a loss. I honestly was anticipating some serious drops. But surprisingly, not a whole lot.

The lactic acid burning overload amidst all negative / eccentric tension holds is still there. Unavoidable, but somehow less compared to recent memory. Perhaps the BCAAs I’m taking now have begun showing their true colours. Yes, I’m still taking my Aspirin and ALCAR, though the latter had to be reduced due to supply scarcity.

Body Fat % certainly hovers in the lower 10.5 to 11% by Pollock’s 3-site calipers method. Daily, visual sight of this alone was easily discernible. As anyone can tell from my effeminate protein intakes of <120g on average day, muscle loss – was nonetheless visible. But not that big of a deal.

What is even more surprising was me still managing to survive up to ten (10) depletion exercises. Anywhere between 50% to 65% (hypothetical) 1-RM intensity; accross 250+ reps, 15-30s rests 6×5 / 5×5 regiment. No “air-momentum” movements. All tension holds. 

My (presence) seems so inconsequently small whenever walking through the crowded gym space – people don’t realise I’m actually in their way. Be it doing 5×5 50kg-55kg (25 sec rest) ATG front squats or ISOLAT DY back rows. “Good” or “bad” I don’t care.

I am very happy with what I can or cannot do. Authentically.

Top: January. Bottom: February.

Would I consider ADF again in the future?

Unless absolutely necessary – very unlikely. No, I am not willing to go back eating TVP (despite my insistence that veganism is implodingly suicidal – I wrote that TVP article out of respect).

Cyclical Keto+IF (up to 20.5 hours of fasting) with refeeds still remains my pragmatic limit. The sheer exhaustion of adding ADF to the regiment is not worth the minute glamour of low body fat percentages. Given all the years of SKD, then CKD, then Cyclical Keto+IF, I believe I am more or less very well acquainted within various “dieting” and deprivation zones.

Imagine you’re doing this every week of your life. Four  years+ consistently. That is, beyond just dieting for a “physique contest”. Not by choice. But a necessity imposed by Structural Violence.

Seeing the food I managed to save up in the freezer still to this day brought me glimmers of hope. And that seeing more money saved for petrol and much needed betaine HCL + pepsins; at least motivated me to live ably for the next month. But pragmatically <$30 weekly expenditure, one week to the next isn’t realistic for sustenance. Even though I can testify that it is indeed possible – to survive under this experiment.

But have I learned something from this experience? Absolutely. Wondering what to do with the food supply which I at times realise they will soon spoil to pieces.

Hence, a new regiment I adopt – use them as fertilizer. Bury them. Even amidst sandy and rocky soil.

From long unused molasses syrups, semi-off putting milk, the rotten cheesecakes (I saved yet unconsumed) to chicken frame carcasses. “Gardening” to me is arduous and unfamiliar labor of love. But, hey at least – my rotting thrash – is another soil’s treasure. Sure it will take ages until I get to eat my own produce.

But nonetheless – time spent fasting – is learning another lesson anew, while awakened. At least, my re-grown spring onions (not pictured) is ready for a dinner after a 20 hour fast as I’m writing this.

4 week progress daikon / pumpkin seed Growing amidst rotten cheesecakes, sauerkraut and egg shells and (various) rubbishes.

Any one of you wishes to share your similar Alternate Day Fasting theories to make ends meet? Post your thoughts below!

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