The regular readers of you know that I’ve been an intermittent faster for the past couple of months now (click here for a primer). There are many things that are great about it. I decided to give it a whirl some time ago and decided that I liked it, so I stuck with it. Just last week, however, I woke up in the morning and said to myself, “I would really like some bacon right now.” And so with a side of eggs (over easy!) and a bowl of oatmeal with berries, I very merrily consumed my very first real breakfast of the year 2012.

It wasn’t entirely on a whim, however. Ever since I started interning at Cressey Performance, I’ve had to make the adjustment from being a sedentary, full-time student sitting on my butt for most of the day to standing on my feet for the better part of 10 hours. Talk about a boost in NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). Unsurprisingly, my body was in for a shock and I found myself fatigued during the first week. I felt… depleted. All the time. It probably didn’t help that my first calories weren’t consumed until 3p.m. after a 10:30a.m. training session (and yes, BCAAs were consumed before, during, and after.

So I made the logical decision that I would try the whole eat-breakfast deal again. Perhaps, if I was lucky, Breakfast and I could once again become fond friends. Maybe rekindle our long lost companionship?

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There was once a time when I believed everything I read online. Someone’s blog would tell me that training regimen Bingo Bango Bongo coupled with supplements x, y, and z yielded them killer results, and I’d go running to the nearest store with the names of said items scribbled on a piece of paper. In the middle of processing my order online for protein powder, an ad would entice me to buy the newest fat-blasting miracle product for just a few more dollars – and click, into my shopping cart it would go. Because if someone was telling me that such-and-such was true, then obviously that must have been the case, correct?

The supplement industry has no ulterior motive. Its aim is to provide customers with accurate, reliable information and deliver honest, effective results. Its mission is to help individuals shed fat, pile on gobs of muscle, and push and pull ungodly numbers in the gym, all the while feeling fabulous. Take this pill three times a day and you’ll burn 3lbs of fat overnight; throw this powder into your shake and you’ll be the next Ronnie Coleman. Monetary profit is far from its primary concern.

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Is it possible to look the way you want without relying on a food scale? For the large majority of us, yes, it is absolutely possible. Unless you’re trying to get freaky-shredded, I don’t think calorie counting is by any means necessary. Some, however, may find this a useful tool to accurately move along.

What initially started out as an article to explain the reasons behind why I personally choose to count calories turned into a piece that presents both sides of the argument. The following lists are not exhaustive, but I believe I’ve hit the main points for and against calorie counting. Keep in mind that I speak from personal experience. If I would have known what I know now, I would not have been counting calories years ago.

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