Work Rest and Play!
During the season I like to try out new tactics on my players and see what results they bring. What changes can I make to improve their level of play and keep my team in tiptop shape. And then, on top of that I like to see what I can learn or more importantly, unlearn, because:
The difficulty lies, not in new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into the corners of our minds.” John Maynard Keynes (British Economist).
“A Mars a day helps you Work, Rest and Play.”
This was the catchy jingle for the number one chocolate bar throughout my childhood:
“With all the goodness of milk, sugar, glucose and thick thick chocolate.”
This confectionary superstar could provide all the energy needs for an action packed day. Indeed, if I didn’t have one in my lunchbox it was tantamount to child cruelty.
I ask you, how was a kid going to survive the afternoon lessons and PE classes, without the nourishment of a Mars Bar in their digestive system and all that sugary goodness bursting through their veins?
Okay, I got the work and play aspect of this 1970/80s superfood, but the ‘rest’ bit left me a little confused. How could eleven teaspoons of sugar, striking the addictive/reward centres in my brain, help me to relax?
Surely, that’s going to create some mayhem up top for my NeuroTeam, especially when you consider there is normally only one teaspoonful of sugar in the blood stream at any one time.
If truth be known, this sugary “high” does create a restorative period, but only for a few fleeting seconds. As your energy levels dip to the bottom of the blood sugar rollercoaster, all you want to do is sit down and eat some carbs to regain those glucose levels.
Yes, you can have all the exhilaration of a funfair ride, but, stay on it all day and you are simply going to end up sick.
Last season however, I think I finally found something that could live up to the “Work Rest and Play” motif, with the potential to completely change the way I play the game and hopefully produce some Premiership Health results.
I call it the: “Stop and Go” tactic to beat the defenders of your fat stores.
In football, “Stop and Go” refers to a clever move a player makes when they stop the ball dead with their foot, draw the defender towards them, and then suddenly go past as quick as you like, to beat the opposition.
As a dietary tactic it refers to intermittent fasting, IF for short.
In this gastronomic exercise, you ‘Stop’ eating for an extended period, allow your metabolic players to take a rest and then you ‘Go’ on a short refeeding frenzy, to take you smoothly past the main opposition to weight loss, which is insulin, your storage hormone.
I had first encountered this move during my research on type 2 diabetes and its ability to reverse this metabolic condition.
However, it was not one I had really considered for myself.
Like most, my preconceptions of fasting, focussed on hardness, starvation, sacrifice and misery, wrapped up in some form of religious servitude, not really my bag, and I was convinced it wasn’t going to be a healthy tactic for my team.
Indeed, the only person I had previously encountered who used this strategy, in the form of the 5:2 diet, was a junior doctor who was not exactly in great shape, but that might have had something to do with their stressful working environment, and/or the packet of doughnuts and fizzy drinks they’d consume most lunchtimes when they weren’t fasting.
Thankfully, there is some good recent research and evidence in the scientific literature that puts a better spin on IF. My number one go to resource on the subject was Dr Jason Fung – a Canadian nephrologist (kidney), with a special interest in diabetes, who had successfully helped many of his patients reverse their type 2 diabetes using this tactic.
So, after consulting extensively with my Chairman, I finally decided it might be a worthwhile tactic to add to my play-book for Premiership Health.
Whether you choose to try it for your own team, naturally comes down to both the game situation and the strength(s) of your squad.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for children or pregnant women or type 1 diabetics or those underweight or on medications that increase blood insulin or indeed Warfarin, (at least not without medical guidance) but, for the vast majority of teams, it’s probably a tactic worth trying at some stage in the game.
Here is my match report: Match Report-Intermittent Fasting
Video: Dr Jason Fung – Intermittent Fasting
Video: The Science of Fasting
Scouting Report: IF study in type 2 diabetics
Scouting Report: IF Could help tackle diabetes
Scouting Report: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27737674