OMAD: Fountain of Youth or Metabolic Death Trap?

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Does INTERMITTENT FASTING (I.F.) really supercharge your metabolism like everyone one Instagram says it does?! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely tried eating one meal per day (O.M.A.D. as we call it for short) personally or know someone who has experienced rapid fat loss with this popular technique of manipulating meal timing. In my experience as a health coach, women are much more experienced with fasting and enthusiastic about its benefits. This is because ladies are much more fragile hormonally and sensitive to changes in when they consume meals than us guys are. For this reason I reached out to a few of the ladies I coach who regularly practice intermittent fasting and an animal-based way of eating. 

First let’s examine what the science says. Here are four common misconceptions about I.F.:

  1. Men only benefit from fasting, and women should never fast.
  2. Fasting negatively affects women’s hormones.
  3. Fasting releases stress hormones like cortisol causing your body to store fat.
  4. Fasting leads to low energy and fatigue.

I used to believe these misconceptions to a degree until I examined the facts and found that fasting reduces inflammation, increases cellular autophagy (which helps prevent diseases), assists tremendously in losing unwanted body fat, improves mental cognition, and not only increases energy but helps regulate my energy through my fully-loaded work days without any sugar crashes so I can give my absolute best to my bodybuilding contest prep (currently 8 weeks from my next competition), my clients, my family, and the Elevation Church worship team and Chevy Walker for trusting me to be their bass player! 

OMAD and 2MAD (same idea as eating one meal per day; but usually with an extended 6 to 8 hour eating window) has been my way of life for years primarily because it is simple. The last thing I have time to do is eat–let alone cook! Most of my clients are more creative and add more variety to their cooking than I do; most nights I crash exhausted and eat as many cold burger patties and sticks of butter as it takes to meet my protein and fat requirements and then I forget about it. Instead of a mid day lunch break, I’ll practice my guitar for an hour or take my dog for a bike ride and not feel like I have to go burn off the 1000 Calories I just ate later in the day, which is how I always felt when I was eating 5 pre-planned meals per day. OMAD has eliminated this madness and has become key for my mental health and my physique. It feels natural because it is natural. Our motto is “Eat like a lion. Live like a lion.” 

“Fasting has shown to improve the reproductive and mental health. It also prevents as well as ameliorates cancers and musculoskeletal disorders which are common in middle-aged and elderly women. The present studies available have limitations such as majority of the studies are preclinical studies and human studies are with lesser sample size.”

Lions and humans are both APEX PREDATORS like sharks, leopards, and other animals that are carnivorous by nature and are not typically eaten by other animals. Lions don’t prep meals into plastic containers and keep track of how many carbs they are eating because they don’t eat carbs and neither should humans. Lions eat large meals whenever they are lucky enough to catch an animal they can feast on. Once they eat their kill, they go to sleep, resting and digesting. I perform, sleep, live and feel my best when I’m eating this way. When you eat like a king, you feel like a king. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Science shows that fasting is HEALTHY, and contrary to mainstream critique can be extremely beneficial for WOMEN! Megan Ramos, Nadia Pateguana, N.D. & Dr. Terri Lance all discuss on The Fasting Method Podcast  how much more frequently women’s hormones naturally change in comparison to men; with this comes times when it is more difficult to burn fat, greater fluctuations in appetite (this includes a natural intuition of when to fast), and now after listening to this podcast I realized I’ve never once had a man I’m training ask if fasting was an option. Every single time a client says “what if I fasted for a couple days this week?” It comes from a lady. That’s just my experience, but I find that interesting and now I understand why. Proverbs 15:22 says “Plans fail when there is no counsel but with many advisors they succeed.” 

Here’s the experience from some of my “counselors,” as we are a team and we all learn from each other….

  • Dr. Glenda M Shepard (Natural Figure Competitor - Tacoma, WA, US) - IG @triumphantstrength - “I practice time restricted eating every day, and it keeps my body regulated. I will do an extended fast (>24 hrs) about once per quarter. I fast not just for physical benefits, but spiritual as well. In fact, when I engage in an extended fast, it is primarily for spiritual. I find fasting as a time to disconnect from the outward things and reconnect inwardly.  As far as advice for beginners, My best advice would to start slow and work up to 24 hrs or more. Try a few 12-16 hour fast first to allow yourself time to acclimate.  When I started fasting, I skipped dinner which for me was easy, because I slept thru the hunger. So, either skip dinner or skip breakfast to begin with. Also, I would not advise a dry fast (meaning no liquids). You should consume liquids that won't break the fast (black coffee or tea, aminos, water, etc.,). Also, use a good quality salt, like Baja Gold to help with electrolyte balance. Lastly, Be kind to yourself and appreciate the journey, turn it into a spiritual fast so you're not focused on food but on your spiritual growth with the Lord.”
  • Danielle Fischer (WNBF Pro Natural Bodybuilder - New Hampshire, US) - IG @danielleluvsher6 “I find it appropriate to fast during holy days; in prayer to pull myself closer to God. Also I find it appropriate for my body to fast when I’m sharing the fasting time period with someone else. My advice for someone who is starting a 24 hour fast…to be prayerful and lean on Christ. Read scripture about fasting. Increase water intake and most importantly acknowledge there will be discomfort but nothing more than you can handle.” I’ll add that Jesus said in John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and finish His work.” Remember the mind, body and soul are all interconnected 🙂 In fact, we resemble a miniature “trinity” just within the anatomy of the human body!
  • Sarah Lawrence (Natural Bikini Competitor - Seattle, WA, US) - IG @meatfed “Women absolutely benefit from fasting and OMAD, and can help with our hormones. I am at the lowest carbs I have ever been, and I haven’t lost any hair or anything. I think eating beef really helps with getting all the nutrients we need to sustain our health, and leverage fasting for not only weight loss, but optimize how our bodies function for men and women.” I’m not surprised she said this after reading a fasting study saying this: “The aim of this study was to document prospectively the safety and any changes in basic health and well-being indicators during Buchinger periodic fasting within a specialized clinic. In a one-year observational study 1422 subjects participated in a fasting program consisting of fasting periods of between 4 and 21 days. Subjects were grouped in fasting period lengths of 5, 10, 15 and 20±2 days…. It led to enhancement of emotional and physical well-being and improvements in relevant cardiovascular and general risk factors, as well as subjective health complaints.”
  • Samantha Kambeck (Advanced hypertrophy client from Virginia; also a health coach and horse trainer!) - IG @wellhorseandrider “If you’re on the fence about fasting, GET OFF THE FENCE! It’s one of the easiest ways to improve your health. Fasting has improved my life in many ways other than just losing & maintaining weight including managing hypothyroidism and my auto immune condition. OMAD for me is what I consider 20 hours of fasting with a four hour eating window; however most of the benefits I get from fasting are when I’ve been in the fasted state for more than 48 to 72 hours. It’s been probably the single most important thing in helping me get the physique I’ve always wanted that I’m really proud of. It makes me more social and helps me to better connect with the Holy Spirit in my prayer life. ADVICE: Fasting is an exercise that needs to be trained just like anything else! Start small. After you’ve become comfortable with one meal per day, set a goal to fast for 30 or 36 hours and work your way up from there!”

Lisa, my mother in law finished a 28 day fast last week in which she lost 25 lbs, but her biggest victories were a reset metabolism, toxin flush, and a reset of her gut microbiome! This means the bacteria (good and bad) inside her gut were completely eradicated so she has a fresh start to repopulate it as she’s since begun to carefully re-introduce her favorite foods one at a time to isolate and eliminate what has been triggering her SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth; very unpleasant). 

Why do we all experience this long, sustained energy? My podcast co-host of Carnivore Coaches Corner (the #1 bodybuilding podcast in England) Richard Smith (professional natural bodybuilder and carnivore coach) taught me on this week’s Session 063 that fasting combined with the production of BHB (the king of ketones!) is usually accompanied with a boost of energy (and by extension an increase of energy expenditure in the form of NON EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS) and many other lifestyle factors. After doing some homework to better understand this, I found a questionnaire that found “that a variety of physical symptoms, including overall energy, physical activity, mood, sleep, focus, skin conditions, and menstruation, had significantly improved.” We’ll talk more about fasting and ketosis below.

What is meant by “FASTING” exactly? Every professional will tell you something different; most  consider anything longer than 24 hours without food to be considered a “true fast.”  An article from lists four stages of fasting:

  1. Fed state (0-3 hours)
  2. Early fasting state (3-18 hours)
  3. Fasting state (18-48 hours)
  4. Long-term fasting state (48+ hours)

This is consistent from my conversations with Professor Bart Kay (NZ) and Stephen Thomas (UK).

Dr. Kiltz has a fantastic perspective that I teach often which he writes in his book Kiltz’s Keto is Carnivore: A Guide for a Fertile Life & Beyond on page 104: “Some refer to this as ‘intermittent fasting,’ but I find the term “intermittent feasting” to be more accurate. I believe your best health comes from eating one meal a day in the evening and giving the body time to clear the bowels of food by allowing 12-24 hours between feedings. This is in line with how prehistoric man lived: going for days to weeks without eating, not knowing where or when his next meal was coming, feasting and then fasting, fasting, fasting while on the hunt for food.”

WARNING: FASTING CAN LEAD TO UNHEALTHY EATING HABITS. Personally I am uncomfortable with fasting for longer than 20 hours. The only time I ever feel like doing this is when I do the lion diet which basically zaps my appetite. Anyone with a history of an eating disorder (myself included) should be extremely cautious when making the ambitious decision to abstain from food for longer than 24 hours. Most of the year, including today, my diet resembles 80% what would be considered “lion diet” which means only red meat, water, and salt (no eggs, pork, chicken, fish, etc.). To find a list of what is acceptable to eat on the lion diet, look no further than The Old Testament! Have a Bible handy? It’s all spelled out in Leviticus 11:1-8! My favorite Bible verse is Deuteronomy 12:20 “Because you crave meat, you may eat meat whenever you desire.” 

Fasting encourages your body to upgrade from glucose to KETONES to be burned as fuel. When you fast, your body begins generating an energy substrate known as ketones. Ketones can directly enter the cell mitochondria for fuel, unlike glucose, which requires an intermediate conversion step. Glucose and ketones work inversely with each other; the increase of fatty acid oxidation decreases glucose oxidation, as organs, muscles and processes throughout the body return to favoring fat for fuel as it is supposed to. “Recent experimental studies have elucidated some of the metabolic mechanisms involved with IF. Animal models have shown positive changes in glucose (lower plasma glucose and insulin levels) and in lipid metabolism (reduced visceral fat tissue and increased plasma adiponectin level), and an increased resistance to stress.”

You may be worrying: “WHAT ABOUT MY GAINZ BRO?!” Fasting does NOT cause your body to lose muscle if done properly. In fact, ketones are anti-catabolic. “It is suggested that in diaphragms from starved rats, ketone bodies in the absence of other substrates inhibit protein catabolism and in the presence of glucose and branched-chain amino acids decrease alanine and glutamine production, by inhibiting glycolysis.”

OMAD certainly speeds up your metabolism SHORT TERM; this we know because the effect INTERMITTENT FASTING and EXTENDED FASTING have on your metabolism is an extremely complex subject; on the short, I have always experienced rapid fat loss from reducing my meal frequency when my food choices, macros, and training remains the same to isolate meal timing as the only variable. This peer reviewed study helps shed some light on why this happens: “In men, decrease in carbohydrate intake was significantly correlated with VAT loss during a 3-month M-LCD, independently of reduction in energy intake.”

“Intermittent energy restriction may result in greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and weight control than daily energy restriction (DER).... In the short term, IECR is superior to DER with respect to improved insulin sensitivity and body fat reduction. Longer-term studies into the safety and effectiveness of IECR diets are warranted.”

However, like any “cutting strategy,” when your body realizes it’s losing body fat, our survival instincts kick in and your body fights the fat burning in an effort to stay alive in the unfortunate event of a famine. This was important in the ice age, so today we view this as an inconvenience when chiseling out an artistic physique by manipulating body composition like a bodybuilder.

And speaking of body composition, don’t rule out OMAD for bulking either. No more than one meal per day is required for enough muscle protein synthesis to occur. We all know that lower inflammation is one of the top benefits of intermittent fasting, and it’s one of the main reasons I abstain from carbohydrates even when bulking. If your goal is to build muscle while intermittent fasting, simply make sure you are meeting your minimum protein requirements. My bulk throughout the winter was very successful particularly in terms of leg mass and most of my days were 2MAD with some days OMAD.

Back to CUTTING: Eventually, OMAD results in a fat-loss plateau for me; from there, oddly enough, spreading out my meals throughout the day appears to “re-awaken” my metabolism because after my last lion diet (60 days) having been OMAD for almost the entire time, I re-introduced Keto Bricks, duck eggs and some pork but still remain 95% “lion diet” as per Leviticus 11:1-8 at the moment and will continue to be until Danielle, Mike (a powerlifting client) & I do it again in winter/fall 2024 after our competitions are over.

  • My weight at the end of my last 60-day lion diet: 196.2some text
    • Almost all days were OMAD
    • Macros: 195g pro / 0g carbs / 230g fat
  • Weight on June 15, 2024: 189.8 lbssome text
    • I continued eating one meal per day until I saw the scale dip below 190 lbs which is a little too far a head of schedule in terms of fat loss for where I need to be to guest pose at The Open Natural on August 31, 2024 in Seattle. 
    • I gradually increased my macros since then to 190g pro (so technically less protein) / 0-30g carbs (depending on whether I have trace carbs from Yogurt or Keto Bricks) / 360g fat (I’m really pushing the envelope trying to stay as full as possible and stay in as deep of ketosis as I can which always happens when I increase my fat-to-protein ratio. (It is possible to be in ketosis and still store body fat!)
  • Weight this morning on July 4, 2024: 189.8 lbssome text
    • From now until August 31 I am eating 1-2 meals per day intuitively taking it one day at a time.

To summarize: Sure there are some variables unaccounted for, but this has been enough experience for me to speculate my metabolism was shot and an increase in meal frequency was required to break through my fat-loss plateau. I only believe this happened because I was OMAD for so long; most health coaches will recommend not to eat one meal per day for that long; hopefully there will be more studies conducted to further test this theory.

Additionally, Danielle and Sam ran into this same problem after an extended amount of time eating one meal per day. We’ve increased meal frequency and so far they have both also broken past their fat-loss plateaus. Their physiques are what I would consider to be highly advanced, so I believe this a rare issue that the vast majority of the population does not need to be concerned about in terms of intermittent fasting. My advice for general health has been and remains to eat one meal per day if you enjoy it and you’re seeing results with it no matter who you are! EAT like a LION. LIVE like a LION.

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Find Colt at or on Instagram @coltmilton.

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