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Excerpt from book:
AS A MEDICALLY TRAINED JOURNALIST I frequently come across claims that seem too good to be true and often are. Occasionally, after digging around, I reconsider my original position, acknowledge that what might appear at first to be outrageous could have something in it. As the economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “When the facts change, I change my mind.”
This happened to me when, in early 2012, I first heard about intermittent fasting. My initial reaction was skepticism. I assumed it would turn out to be some variation on “detoxing” or other largely discredited views of how the body works. Nonetheless I decided to find out more as I’d recently discovered that I was a borderline diabetic with too much visceral fat (the fat that lies inside your abdomen). My father had died from a diabetes-related illness and I could see myself going down the same road.
So I set out to examine the claim that you can lose weight and get health benefits, particularly improvements in your insulin, by changing your pattern of eating. I soon came across research done in the United States and the United Kingdom which pointed to rapid fat loss and other benefits that would come from cutting my calories, not every day, but just a few days a week.
As I looked deeper I discovered intermittent fasting was backed by a significant body of animal and human research. I spoke to many eminent experts, tested the claims on myself, and made a documentary for the BBC. Then, in January 2013, I wrote a book with Mimi Spencer, The FastDiet, which summarized all this research into what we called a 5:2 diet (eat normally five days a week, cut your calories for two). Using this method, I lost over 20 pounds of fat and my blood glucose returned to a normal level. Although this was just my experience (and personal anecdotes make poor science) it was in line with a number of clinical studies done on different forms of intermittent fasting.
We still don’t know the ideal pattern for intermittent fasting, the true long-term benefits or the potential pitfalls, but since the book was published many thousands of people have followed the 5:2 regime, lost weight, and contacted me to say how easy it is. And I’m pleased to say new studies are underway.
While writing The FastDiet, one of the areas I touched on—but only briefly—was exercise. Diet and exercise are complementary, they go together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, like Batman and Robin. And, as we will see, there are interesting parallels in the way science is transforming the way we think about both.
Before making the film on fasting, I had come across a rapidly developing new area of exercise research called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), also known as HIT (high-intensity training).
One of the pioneers of this radically different approach to exercise is Jamie Timmons, Professor of Systems Biology at Loughborough University. Loughborough is home to the Centre for Olympic Studies and Research and has one of the leading sports research departments in the United Kingdom.
When we met, Jamie made what I thought was an outrageous, almost unbelievable claim. He said that I could get many of the more important benefits of exercise from just three minutes of intense exercise a week. He said that if I was prepared to give it a go he was confident that in just four weeks I would see significant changes in my biochemistry. It seemed wildly unlikely but also immensely intriguing. So I got myself properly tested and then I went for it. The results, which I discuss on this page, were a revelation.
Since I had an initial conversation with Jamie back in 2011, researcFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The FastDiet comes a new revolution in fitness. Lose weight and dramatically improve your health with high intensity training—just ten minutes a day, three times a week.
Hailed as “a health revolution” by The New York Times, Michael Mosley’s FastDiet—also known as the 5:2 diet—gave the world a healthy new way to lose weight through intermittent fasting. Now, Dr. Mosley addresses the essential complement to the FastDiet—FastExercise—teaming up with leading sports scientist Professor Jamie Timmons and super-fit health journalist Peta Bee to turn conventional wisdom on its head when it comes to working out. Responding to the latest research on high-intensity training (HIT), FastExercise dispenses with the practice of boring, time-consuming regimens, demonstrating that all it takes is half an hour a week to lower blood glucose levels, reduce your risk for disease, help you lose weight, and maximize your overall health.
Throughout the book, the authors offer a range of workouts that take just ten minutes a day, three times a week, and can be done anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s pedaling at high resistance while waiting for your kettle to boil or holding a plank during commercials, research has shown the extraordinary impact that ultra-short bursts of HIT can have, whatever your age or level of fitness.
In addition, Michael Mosley and Peta Bee break down the science behind this radically different approach to exercise and give you the tools to take advantage of the most flexible and efficient method out there. It’s a practical, enjoyable way to get maximal benefits in minimal time, short and fast, something that can become a sustainable part of your routine, as instinctive as brushing your teeth.