What’s the crack with Intermittent Fasting?

Even though it’s been around forever, there seems to be a big push on Intermittent Fasting at the minute. More and more people seem to see it as the answer to getting ripped!

Before you jump on the band wagon, you first need to understand what it is and how to use it correctly.

The Basic Overview…

Intermittent Fasting works by breaking your day into two parts:

• A fasting window, where you do NOT consume calories.
• An eating window, where you DO consume calories.

Your fasting window is typically from 8.00pm until 12noon the following day, all through the time you are sleeping. This means you are skipping breakfast (not the most important meal, sorry!) and fasting for roughly 16 hours of the day. During this fasting window, you’ll consume lots of water, black coffee (0 calories) and other non-calorie containing beverages to keep you full and suppress appetite.

Your eating window is typically from 12noon until 8pm in the evening, and during this time you typically will consume 2 larger meals and 1-2 snacks or however fits your typical day.

During this eating window, you can eat anything you want so long as calories are controlled and you stick to your recommended daily amounts. But, try and stick with mostly healthy foods and follow the 80/20 rule.

Who does it work with??

Firstly people who’s lives fit this eating pattern! If you think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then its really not for you. People in low stress environments that get a good nights sleep and train properly. People that need to lose vast amounts of fat, fasting up-regulates beta-oxidation and thus increases fat utilization as a fuel source. While over a long period of time this will not increase the amount of fat they lose it will increase their ability to burn fat as a fuel source, which is beneficial after spending many many years having sugar as a primary fuel source.

Who does it NOT work with??

People with high stress levels, sleeping poorly, have impaired thyroid function (Ramadan study, 5), emotional issues, lack of high quality nutrition in their diet. Individuals with performance based goals. Also anyone with a high training volume (around 4-5 hours per week), not having enough food in their system will impair recovery. It is also often pointed out that it works better with males, due to hormonal perspectives.

What are the benefits?

It may be easy for most to stick to due to not having to worry about breakfast. It may increase your ability to use your own energy stores due to adaptation to the environment, long periods of time without food, just a natural adaptation to the environment, no food. Fasting plus weight training turns muscles into glucose sponges, more so than being in a non fasted state. A very easy way to cut calories. And most certainly a great educational tool for people who don’t know how much to eat and what their appetite is really telling them.

As with any form of dieting it all comes down to if it suits you and your lifestyle. Some people have had some amazing results from Intermittent Fasting… while others NEED BREAKFAST!! 🙂