Becoming every day better as a human being and as a pilot is our mindset in this page. As you might have seen in our previous posts we are focusing mostly on the brain, since it is your number one ally up in the air (and on the ground).
A lot has been written about feeding patterns for better performance and a healthy lifestyle. However, it is worth to check out the ”fasting” process, a feeding pattern used by the elite and world-class performers for advanced energy levels during the day.
The story of fasting
In the 1930s, scientists explored the benefits of reducing calories by skipping meals. During that time, one American scientist found that significantly reducing calories helped mice live longer, healthier lives. The early great philosophers, thinkers, and healers used fasting for better health and as a healing therapy. Hippocrates, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Galen all praised the benefits of fasting.
So what is fasting anyway?
Intermittent fasting as it is officially called is a diet that provides fat loss and muscle hypertrophy. By not feeding your self for some hours during the day (read later on…) might be a milestone for your performance.
When you eat, you receive energy who is ready to burn but some of this is stored as backup. Yep, your brain always makes some stock in case of starvation. Jason Fug writes very well on his blog:
“Insulin rises when we eat, helping to store the excess energy in two separate ways. Sugars can be linked into long chains, called glycogen and then stored in the liver. There is, however, limited storage space; and once that is reached, the liver starts to turn the excess glucose into fat. This process is called De-Novo Lipogenesis (meaning literally Making Fat from New). Some of this newly created fat is stored in the liver, but most of it is exported to other fat deposits in the body. While this is a more complicated process, there is no limit to the amount of fat that can be created. So, two complementary food energy storage systems exist in our bodies. One is easily accessible but with limited storage space (glycogen), and the other is more difficult to access but has unlimited storage space (body fat).
>The process goes in reverse when we do not eat (fasting). Insulin levels fall, signaling the body to start burning stored energy as no more is coming through food. Blood glucose falls, so the body must now pull glucose out of storage to burn for energy”.
Glycogen is the best and fastest accessible energy source. So when you don’t feed your self, insulin drops and the body starts burning the stored energy. It is a technique highly used from a lot of people who are energy hackers. Pure energy in your hands.
Neuroscience proved that…
According to Collective Revolution Neuroscience, “Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and your brain responds to that challenge by adopting stress response pathways that help your brain cope with stress and disease risk. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise — both increase the production of protein in the brain (neurotrophic factors), which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses.”
1) Remember, that whenever you learn a new skill (flying technique, hobby, etc) you are building new neuropathways. As a pilot, you are in an ”always learn” state. So fasting is a very trustful ally of yours, helping your brain learn faster.
2) Also by putting your self in fasting (during training etc), you increase your ”available” power.
>Fasting might be a good hack for you. For variable feeding patterns have a look at this awesome post at Dutrition.com.