Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

A current trend, although not sure I would call it a trend as I do believe it will be staying around, is Intermittent Fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is not a Diet, it is what I would call an eating protocol, or a pattern of eating. IF doesn not focus on What you should eat, but rather When.  With IF your meals are not measured, your food choices not scrutinized nor restricted. Although, you should be certain that you are eating healthy foods.  Nothing will help you get or stay lean if you are eating a lot of processed or sugar laden foods.

Diets are easy in thought, difficult in practice. While Fasting is difficult to think about doing, but very easy to implement.

With any form of diet, you have to choose the foods, purchase them, prepare them and get in the mind-set that those are the only foods you can eat for a period of time. (The length of your Diet) Obviously there are a couple of problems, one being that your diet will ‘end’ at some point and you’ll simply revert to your former eating pattern, which will likely negate any weight loss you realized.

What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Weight loss, or maintenance is one of the many benefits of fasting. With IF, you put your body in a state where is ‘learns’ to use fat for energy, rather than the food you are consuming.

In addition to weight loss here are a few additional health benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

  • Insulin Resistance/Sensitivity – Being insulin sensitive has been shown to drastically reduce your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic disease.
  • Improved Fat Burning – Training your body to use stored fat for energy
  • Inflammation reduction – Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of all sorts of common diseases
  • Lower Blood Pressure – Numerous studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting can also help in the reduction of high blood pressure.

These are by no means the only known or suspected benefits of Intermittent Fasting, just some of the more commonly discussed benefits. 

Before we delve into the how to with Intermittent Fasting, let’s discuss, at a very fundamental level why you would want to.

In the human body, your body begins digestion as soon as you eat.  As the food is broken down into its basic parts to be absorbed through the intestine,  Insulin is also elevated. This rise in Insulin signals your body to store any excess calories in your fat cells. As long as your Insulin is elevated, the burning of fat is halted, while the body burns glucose (from your last meal) instead.

When Fasting (Intermittent or Long Term Fasting) your body enters a state, interestingly called, the Post Absorptive (Fasted) State. This state begins when your body has consumed, digested, absorbed and stored. We technically Fast every night when we go to bed, hence the term ‘breakfast’ or breaking the fast. By NOT eating first thing upon waking, you can keep your body in the Fasted state longer, thus ensuring your body burns fat for energy rather than Glucose, or food.

The key goal we are trying to achieve with Intermittent Fasting is to force the body to start mobilizing stored body fat from your fat cells and burning this fat for energy (instead of glucose).

Different Methods/protocols of Intermittent Fasting.

There are several methodologies of Intermittent Fasting – However the basic premise is that you split your day or week into “eating windows” and “fasting windows”.

During your fasting window, you eat very little (depending on your chosen fasting protocol) or nothing. In your eating window, you eat as you normally would. No need to select and prepare specific foods, nor deprive yourself of some of your favorites.

Important to note that if during your eating window, you consume large amounts of processed or sugar laden food, you will likely NOT see many of the major benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

Below are several of the most popular methods of Intermittent Fasting:

  • 16/8: With this method you divide your day into 2 sections. A feeding time and a fasting time. You will fast for 16 hours and upon breaking your fast, will have an 8 hour feeding window. The most common way of performing this is to ensure your last meal is completed no later than or you eat nothing after 9pm. The next morning, when you awake, you skip breakfast and do not eat your first meal until 1pm. 

These times are not defined in any way, other than what is conducive to your lifestyle. It’s not the time on the clock that matters, but the 16 hour Fast

  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This is simply fasting for a 24 hour period, once or twice a week. An easy way to accomplish this is to not eat from dinner one day, until the next day’s dinner.
  • OMaD (One Meal a Day): This is a simple protocol that is exactly as it sounds. You eat One meal a day and Fast until your next meal. As with any of the Intermittent Fasting methods, it is best to choose a meal/time that best suits your lifestyle to ensure maximum success. It may be that you eat a Large Breakfast and do not eat again until Breakfast the next morning, or it could be from Dinner one day to dinner the next. This could be done 1-3 times per week.
  • 5/2: With the 5:2 method, 5 days of the week you eat as you normally would, while the remaining 2 days, you restrict your caloric intake to 500 – 600 calories per day.

These are by no means the only Intermittent Fasting methods, but just a few of the more popular ones.

Traveling, for business or pleasure can not only disrupt your training and fitness regimen, but it can also wreak havoc on your eating protocol. (I hate the word Diet) Eating in airports, fast food, or even high calorie and alcohol meals with customers and colleagues.

I often take business trips as an opportunity to take my Fasting to another level. (My normal eating routine now is the 16:8 protocol and I do this nearly every day)

Occasionally on a business trip, I will extend my Fast for a full 24 – 36 hours, thus reducing any temptations to indulge.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. You learn something everyday –  I never heard of Intermittent fasting until now. Its kind of strange to me that depriving yourself of food might actually be beneficial for your health in the long run and yet I can see the logical side of intermittent fasting. One question is this a health fad or trend or has medical research published findings on the benefit of Intermittent fasting. From what I have read on your blog its perfectly healthy. I might give intermittent fasting a try myself as I feel i have too much on my plate

    1. Hello Richard, 

      Thank You for stopping in. Absolutely, isn’t it interesting how we can still continue to learn. 

      I had not heard of Intermittent Fasting (IF) until last year when someone at my gym spoke to me about it. Most definitely, not a health fad, and there are numerous studies, from extremely well respected Universities around the world that highlight and substantiate the benefits I’ve written about and more. 

      I highly suggest you give it a try and if you do, please report back here and let us know how it’s working for you!

      Best, 

      –Brad

  2. I had a friend who tried this intermitten fasting approach and recommended that I should try it too, to help lose some weight.

    But I was unsure because in my opinion, it came across as and unhealthy and unnatural way to lse weight.

    But having said that, the benefits you’ve hightlighted have definitely painted the process in a positive light.

    As a gym-goer, I like the fact that intermitten fasting helps burn fat better. I also suffer from a torn knee ligamnet from some years ago and also get pain in my hips sometimes, so the anti-inflamation can help me. And I also suffer from high blood pressure too (LOL), which I’m medicated for.

    So this fasting thing seems like a no-brainer to me! 🙂

    I really appreciate the insights into this fasting method, and especially the different types.

    The question I have though is (even if it may sound a silly one), do you reckon it’s still a good idea to try out these fasting methods if I go to the gym at least 4 days a week because those sessions really can make you hungry? Or should I just try reducing the amount of food I consume instead to help combat weight loss?

    Cheers, Neil

    1. Hello Neil, 

      Thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you found the article useful. 

      Like you, I was dubious when I first hear of Intermittent Fasting (IF). I have been an avid gym-goer for over 20 years, and the old school mantra was “eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism going”, which I did, but was never able to get truly as lean as I desired. After doing some research (Ok, a lot of research because I’m a nerd) on IF, I decided to give it a try. 

      My results have been fantastic and I wish I had done this in my 30’s instead of at 50!

      To answer your question (Not a silly one at all…) Yes, I would suggest trying IF, even if you train 4 times a week. I practice IF and train 6 times a week (Cardio, Mobility, & Strength) and have not had any issues. You may need to adjust the time/s you Fast due to your individual schedule, but that’s not difficult.  You could also try to Fast on the days you aren’t training? If you’re going to the gym 4 days a week, IF for the other 3 and you should still be able to reap the benefits!

      Let me know what you do and how it works for you!

      Best, 

      –Brad

  3. Brad, I have to admit, I had never heard of intermittent fasting before today.  After reading through your article, I can see how it could be very beneficial.  I do have a question for you though… I recently adjusted the way I was eating, and in the process have lost about 25 pounds, but I still have about 20 pounds to go.  Do you think I could implement intermittent fasting now, or should I give myself a resting period?  

    Thank you sharing this new concept (new to me).  I have a feeling it is what I have been looking for.   Clay

    1. Hello Clay,

      Congrats on losing the 25lbs! That is a fantastic accomplishment…

      In my opinion, and I am not a Dr. and don’t know your particular situation, Intermittent Fasting (IF) could possibly be a great way to help you lose those last 20lbs. 

      There are numerous IF methods out there, and with a little research, you can find one that fits with your lifestyle and will work for you.  

      Try it for 2 or 3 days a week and let us know your results…

      Best,

      –Brad

  4. Interesting take on Fasting and fasting schedules. I am type 2 Diabetic and have medication controlled blood sugars. My diet would likely have to be the 5/2 formula so my sugars do not get too low during any given day. What I am wondering though is how your physical energy is affected during fasting and once fasting is over?

    1. Hello Andy, 

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Not being a Dr. I would be hesitant to offer any advice on your options given the Diabetes. Definitely check with your Dr. though. I have recently read articles that show how IF is helping to cure Type 2 Diabetes, so I think it might be worth looking into. 

      As for my energy level, I have not noticed any degradation in it as I am on my ‘Fast’. In fact, some of my best workouts have been when I am in the ‘Fasted state’ and I have, on more than one occasion, pushed my Fast beyond the 16 hours to 18 or so with no issues. 

      Stay hydrated though!

      Best, 

      –Brad

  5. Absolutely, IF (intermittent fasting) is here to stay. I have been enjoying the benefits myself for about a year now and I must say, I stay satiated longer and feel the need to eat less. I have to agree, I don’t feel that it is a fad or passing diet craze at all. 

    My wife and I have been on the Keto lifestyle of eating and IF just over a year. The benefits, besides weight lose is incredible and long lasting. Watched a video just today about how IF helps your body release HGH, which we know is great for getting back some of that youthful energy and skin and so much more. 

    Yes, the health benefits of IF are phenomenal and I couldn’t agree more with your article.

    1. Great to hear free4life!

      Thanks for stopping in and reading the post. 

      Best, 

      –Brad

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