Intermittent fasting is becoming ever more popular as time goes on.
I have been using it on and off for several years now, the more I use it, the more I enjoy this way of eating.
That Is exactly what it is, a way of eating, a meal timing plan, not eating for a set period, more of a lifestyle.
It is not a diet plan.
Many health benefits come from IF with studies to back them up.
In this blog, I am going to give you the ultimate quick Intermittent fasting 101 guide.
Explaining the methods, benefits, but more importantly, give you my personal experiences with IF.
Which is nothing but positive.
IF the two most popular methods
The 5:2 method
This method involves eating normally for five days of the week, without restricting your caloric intake.
Then fasting for two days of the week, limiting your calories to 500-600 per day.
It is up to you to choose the days you fast on, preferably having a day of normal eating in between the fasting days i.e. Tuesday and Thursday as fasting days.
When I say normal days of eating, that means keeping it clean, eating whole foods.
Don’t get mistaken because you don’t have to count calories thinking you can binge out on junk food all day.
That will harm your health and will more than likely put you in a caloric surplus, even if you are having two fasted days in the week.
The 16:8 method
This method is the most popular out of the two and people find this one to be the easiest and simplest to stick to.
It involves fasting for 16 hours and having an 8-hour feeding window.
The best way to do this is by having most of your fasting period during the hours you sleep. i.e. 9pm – 1pm and then eating from 1pm – 9pm.
Some people start off doing this but get bad hunger cravings during the day, if that is the case increase your feeding window slightly to 10 hours and build your way up to the 8-hour window.
It does get easier the longer you have been doing it, I mainly fast for 20 hours now with just a 4-hour feeding window.
One thing to mention, drinking water is allowed during the fasts and black coffee or tea.
It is believed that if you have more than 50 calories then you are breaking your fast.
So, I wouldn’t risk filling your coffee or tea with milk and creamers.
Also, stay away from diet sodas as studies show that artificial sweeteners can trigger an insulin response.
My own experiences
Now both methods work well, if your goal is to lose weight then I would highly recommend giving intermittent fasting a go.
I use it as a tool for when I am dieting, the 16:8 is my preferred method as I like to always be in control tracking my calories.
It stops me from going over my daily caloric number which is crucial when trying to burn fat.
For example, when I am not dieting, I consume around 3500 calories per day and when I am dieting, I am on around 2400 per day.
That’s a big difference, so if I were to start eating from let’s say at 8 am, by the time it gets to 6/7 pm I have eaten all my daily allowance for the day.
Starting to eat from later in the day prevents me from having too many calories and keeps me in my deficit.
Furthermore, every time I use IF to diet, I always maintain nearly all my muscle mass whilst burning the fat.
Now there are plenty of evidence-based studies that show this is one of the many benefits of IF.
Another reason I love to use IF when I am cutting is the mental focus I have, the longer I fast the more focused I feel and stronger I am when it comes to me going in and lifting the weights.
I always work out in a fasted state usually doing my cardio in the AM and my weights later in the day, right before I break my fast.
I always eat right after doing any kind of resistance training because, in my opinion, the post-workout window is a vital time for getting those nutrients in to start the recovery phase.
It seems to be doing the trick for me, I am dieting as I write this.
My bodyweight when I started 6 weeks ago was 190lb with 14% body fat, I’m now 189lb with 10% body fat.
As you can see, I have maintained my muscle mass as I am burning the fat.
One more thing that I enjoy about this lifestyle, is not having to worry about food as soon as I wake up.
For years I would eat breakfast, then eat every three hours throughout the day, little and often as we know it.
I only ate this way because I thought this was how you built muscle and strength.
The older, wiser and more experienced I get, the more I know and understand what works for me.
Now I basically wake up, go to work, have a couple of black coffees during the day and then break my fast around 3 pm.
No more carrying Tupperware everywhere I go, eating cold or microwaved meals.
I just have my smoothie prepared for post-workout, then go home and cook a nice fresh tasty meal.
The benefits & side effects
Many studies have been done on IF and I have spent plenty of hours researching these published articles.
Not only have I read about the health benefits of IF, I have experienced them myself through practising this way of eating for several years now.
Here is a list of the main health benefits of intermittent fasting.
• Mental sharpness
• Weight/fat loss
• Preserves muscle
• Lowers inflammation in the body
• Increases autophagy (cell rejuvenation)
• Optimizes hormones
• Increases growth hormone (GH), decreases insulin levels
• Reduces oxidative stress
There aren’t enough long-term studies to show any major side effects of intermittent fasting, hunger is probably the main one.
If you feel like you can’t get through the day without eating, then I would recommend not doing any type of fasting.
Some people have the opposite effects and get brain fog instead of having better mental focus.
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everybody, you must experiment with it first and see for yourself if it is for you.
I haven’t had any issues and as I previously stated, have found it to be a brilliant tactic to use when I am trying to burn body fat and preserve muscle tissue.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet plan, it is a way of eating.
Many different methods can be used to fast. The 5:2 and 16:8 being the most popular.
If weight/fat loss is your goal while improving your overall health, then IF is a brilliant lifestyle to follow.
Many studies show there to be some great health benefits that come from IF.
The only major side effect that comes from it is hunger, as there are not enough long-term studies to show any others.
If you experience this within the first couple of weeks and don’t think IF is for you, simply stop.
It isn’t for everybody; it is not one size fits all when it comes to diet and lifestyle.
I have been using IF on and off now for several years.
It is a brilliant tool for dieting/burning fat and preserving muscle in the process.
The more times I use IF, the more I enjoy it and feel the health benefits.
It will always be a weapon in my diet and lifestyle armoury.
I have tried to keep the blog short and sweet, giving you as much knowledge on the subject without going into depth too much.
If you would like to know more and are interested in trying out intermittent fasting, drop me an email.
I would be more than happy to give my advice to anybody wanting to improve their lifestyle.
Don’t forget to share the blog with friends and on social media.
Thanks for reading guys.
See you next time,