Lent has started!
As today’s Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent, here’s what you need to know when it comes to fasting and abstinence, especially for fitness enthusiasts like me.
The real deal about Fasting for Lent is that you should be able to eat only one full meal. If you want, you can separate this full one into two. Everyone is pretty much required to fast, around 18 to 59 years of age. The only exception is that if you are sick, you may not fast.
This is done only today (Ash Wednesday) and this coming Good Friday.
Abstinence on the other hand is required to everyone from 14 years old and above. The simple idea is to not eat meat during all Fridays of Lent.
A quick note though, abstinence should also be done today, Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday, too.
I got my diet under control compared to previous years. However, one thing i learned from last year is that I feel very ill when I fast just because I don’t have meat those days. So a pretty good substitute is to make sure you have a variety of alternatives ready to consume: Tanigue, a can of Tuna, Tilapia, and Boneless Bangus are my favorites.
It may limit the intensity and frequency of exercise for some. So at these times, I make sure I prepare a preworkout meal minus the prohibited, or an easier choice is simply a preworkout supplement.
Just remember it’s just a matter of choosing what we “give up” or “take on” during Lent. If I need extra protein on Fridays during Lent, I just eat a protein shake instead of beef or chicken. Does this conflict with the notion of fasting? In my opinion, I hate my protein shakes and am drinking them for purposes (which is completing my protein requirement for the day) other than enjoyment and hunger-satisfaction, so it’s OK. This isn’t “true” fasting because part of the point is to actually experience real hunger, but this day and age most people just refrain from eating meat but still eat around 3 meals and never have an ounce of hunger. So it’s still ALL UP TO YOU.
What I will probably do this year is force myself to eat nothing but 3-4 protein shakes for the course of the day… this will ensure I get enough protein, but also ensure I am aware of my fasting.
We are not asked to give up meat or protein for 40 days, just on Fridays. As for what you give up or take on, that’s a personal decision that you need to make. When I was younger in high school or college I treated it like a game, seeing what the toughest thing would be for me to give up, like Jollibee spaghetti or Jolly Hotdog (lol), fries, Burger Machine, or other food in general. And then I would combine things the next year to make it harder. But now I have come to understand what the real meaning behind the sacrifice is, and it’s sometimes better to try to add something (like a prayer, charity work, or service) rather than trying to take something away. Whatever it is, it’s between you and God. So no need to feel obliged to tell others about it or share what it is you are giving up or taking up.
One last thing, most religious fasting will align with the principles of IF (Intermittent Fasting), which we will discuss really soon. Having said that, of course this will be detrimental if you’re on a bulk period. But don’t feel bad, just pick up where you left off when you’re done.
So let’s have a fit yet peaceful lent. Ciao!
Source: Code of Canon Law