Fasting has been described as the most powerful healing method known to man. But fasting for long periods of time has its disadvantages too. You can however get all the benefits of fasting, but with none of the disadvantages by using intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting means going without food for shorter periods of time, but on a regular basis. Fasts of 16 – 24 hours done once per week or more can give tremendous benefits when practiced regularly. You may not see that much benefit at first, but the effect is cumulative. The more you do it the more you will benefit.
So What are Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Regular intermittent fasting will cleanse, purify, detoxify and heal your body like nothing else. Some of the many benefits you can expect to experience are:
1. You’ll Lose Excess Fat Easily.
Restrictive diets and calorie counting will be a thing of the past. By practicing intermittent fasting you’ll find the weight will disappear without any effort at all.
With intermittent fasting you’ll reduce the number of calories you are consuming each week. This is the main factor in sustainable weight loss. But apart from this, in the fasting state you produce more fat burning hormones and enzymes, such as growth hormone. And also your metabolism shifts toward burning fat for energy rather than sugar.
And as you can still eat the foods you love, you’ll find it easy to stick to. This means once you have achieved your ideal weight you will be able to maintain it without any effort.
2. Your Body Will Be Cleansed And Detoxified.
Toxins and impurities are stored in your fat cells as well as elsewhere in your body. Fasting releases these, and they are then expelled from your body in the urine, feces, breath, and through the skin.
Fasting on water only (or possibly adding in some green tea) is probably the most purifying thing you can do for your body. And once you are rid of these toxic buildups, you will experience markedly improved health.
3. Your Body Will Heal Itself.
In the fasting state, because you do not have to worry about digesting and utilizing food, your body can turn its attention to other tasks. Chief amongst these is the healing process. You will find that tissues and organs will gradually be healed and over time numerous health complaints can be cleared up. Even some you may have been suffering with for many years.
4. Your Digestion And Elimination Will Improve.
Fasting gives your digestive system a rest, so it will be more effective when you do eat. In fact your entire digestive and elimination system will function much better. So you’ll get more from the food you eat, and will eliminate waste more effectively. You may also find a lot of digestive disturbances will clear up too.
5. Your Immune System Will Be More Efficient.
You’ll find the more you do intermittent fasting the less you will be troubled by coughs, colds and other minor infections. You’ll also recover more quickly from anything you do get. Auto-immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will improve. And allergic symptoms will be reduced too.
6. Your Risk Of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer Will Be Reduced.
Fasting strengthens and heals your entire body, removing the causes of these and other degenerative conditions. Atherosclerotic plaques are gradually dissolved. Blood sugar levels are stabilized, as are insulin levels. And abnormal cells are removed more efficiently. So your risk of developing these conditions is reduced significantly.
7. Your Rate Of Aging Will Slow Down.
Because fasting exerts such a restorative and healing effect on the body, your rate of aging will actually slow down. And you could live a lot longer too. Fasting has even been shown to reduce the rate of shortening of the telomeres on the ends of our chromosomes, an effect which should further enhance life expectancy.
Apart from this wide range of benefits, you should also find your skin will become much clearer and take on a more youthful look; you’ll have more energy; your mental clarity will improve; memory and concentration will be enhanced;and your level of oxidative stress will be reduced.
All in all, as I’m sure you can see, intermittent fasting exerts a powerful healing and health enhancing effect on the body. In fact it’s probably the best thing you could do to improve your overall long term health and longevity.
Why Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is the practice of abstaining from all food intake with the exception of water for a set time, usually 24 hours, with the ultimate goal of producing fat loss and weight loss in general, in addition to other physical and psychological benefits.
The manner in which these results are achieved is simple and straightforward. A full days caloric consumption is automatically eliminated, but because of the limited duration of the fast a light workout schedule can still be maintained.
Clinical research has proven that an intermittent fasting plan such as the “Eat Stop Eat” program will help you lose weight fast and kickstart the process of getting rid of ugly body fat, as well as increase growth hormone in as little as 24 Hours – all while improving your metabolism and even building lean muscle.
This method of dieting is in my opinion the best option for anyone who lifts – regardless of goals. Although the health and performance benefits of this type of dieting are numerous and significant, the main thing that attracts most people is that it allows for fat loss without compromising muscle mass or strength. This is what initially attracted me to the concept – I had trained hard and ‘bulked’ and when it was time to cut I hated the idea that with the traditional 500 calorie a day deficit style cut I would be losing both muscle mass and strength. IF plan provides an alternative that will allow you to continue to build strength and size while lowering or maintaining a low body fat %.
Daily calorie intake can be adjusted for personal goals, but the nutrient timing and fasting principle remain constant. If your aim is to increase lean body mass, than calories should be increased (especially on training days), whereas if you want to lose fat overall calorie intake should be reduced.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting for your Weight Loss
Here are 6 easy steps to start:
1. Identify your weight, daily caloric needs and home food inspection:
You will be starting your IF plan overweight, slightly large, skinny fat or the likes. It doesn’t matter what weight you are, male or female. If you have weight to lose then Intermittent Fasting is the way as I’ve said before. Record your starting weight and save that down. Don’t forget to take before pictures, it doesn’t matter how you look, it’s for visual improvements and tracking progress!
Your daily caloric needs determine how much calories you need each day to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight. This is quite easy to determine with the calorie calculator.
Home food inspection involves you examining all the junk foods you have in your fridge and home. Removing these junk foods and sugary drinks should be your top priority before starting your own IF plan plan.
2. Choose either a 6 or 8 hour fasting window: I recommend choosing 8 if this is your first time doing Intermittent Fasting. Don’t sweat choosing a window as the difference isn’t much noticeable as far as results go. If you simply can’t eat all your calories in 6 hours, then 8 will be for you.
3. Fasting Schedules: Determine when you will be eating. Don’t make this hard because it is not at all! For an 8 hour fast try eating from 1PM-9PM. If that doesn’t fit your schedule simply re-arrange it to the times you have available. Any time will work as long as you get the amount of calories you need in a day, in the specified number of hours. Don’t eat while fasting to maximize that fat burn!
4. Utilize the Full Potential of your Body: If you don’t train, you won’t get the full potential of your body. Cardio burns fat most effectively while weight training puts on muscle which burns fat just by having it on your body. Focus on getting 70% cardio, and 30% weight training. Every 2- 3 days a week is ideal for lifting weights and packing on muscle.
5. Drink Adequate Amounts of Water: Nothing could be better in a healthy diet/lifestyle and fitness regimen. If you’re drinking sugary drinks and empty calories, your essentially drinking yourself fat literally! Making the switch to strictly water creates mind blowing changes to your health and body alone.
6. Get Enough Rest: It’s crucial to give your body rest whether your pro or newbie. Your body needs to recuperate and repair your body to become better. Eat less carbs and more proteins + fats on your rest days due to the need of less energy requirements on resting days.
Discuss the Application Behind the IF Diet
Although different intervals of fasting have been discussed by nutritionists, I chose to go with was a 16 hour fast, coupled with an 8 hour period of eating. Initially not eating for 16 straight hours may seem severe, however it is important to remember that you will be asleep for approximately half of that time.
Choosing when to start your 16-hour fast each day is important. The main factors to consider would be the time that you typically start your training, as well as the time you typically fall asleep. I typically fall asleep around 12am (midnight), and get up around 9am. I eat my final meal around 10pm, and then fast from then until 2pm the following day. I usually have my training begin at around 4pm.
My eating schedule including supplements is as follows:
2pm –Pre-workout meal: ~ 50g of carbohydrate and 50g of protein + multi vitamin/fish oil.
3:45pm – 10g of BCAA’s + Creatine (optional)
5:15pm –Post-workout meal: ~ 65% daily cals w/ high carbs/protein low fat + multi
8pm – 10pm – snacking within daily caloric needs. carbs tapered down towards bed
10pm – final meal: 50g of casein protein shake +multi/fish oil
This is the schedule that I have found works best for me. This is for both social and comfort reasons. I find that fore most including myself the evenings are a time to relax and eat (often with family members or friends). There are however alternatives to this. If you train the in the morning then you may prefer to train fasted (with the exception of 10g of BCAA’s 15 minutes before your workout. The only disadvantage of this is that if you end your workout by 8am, you will have to end your feeding period by 4pm. This may result in going to sleep a bit hungry and for me this makes it difficult to sleep.
The most important aspects of the diet are that you do not consume any calories during the 16 hour fast, and that you consume the majority of your daily calories post workout.