Proponents for intermittent fasting claim that it is an effective and sustainable way to lose weight and burn body fat. While there is more research to be done, alleged health benefits include:
- Boosted metabolism for fat loss
- Reduced inflammation in the body
- Lower insulin levels
- Increased human growth hormone (HGH)
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol
- Removal of waste material from cells
- Increased testosterone
- Extended lifespan
A few years ago, after hearing “intermittent fasting” being referenced more and more often by people in the fitness industry, I decided to do a short 5-week experiment on myself first before coming to any conclusions. I went with the 16/8 protocol, which calls for an 8 hour period of eating, followed by a 16 hour period of fasting. So for example, you eat your meals from 12pm to 8pm, then fast until 12pm the next day.
There are a couple of things I can tell you from my 5-week experiment:
First, I dropped almost 1% body fat per week. My diet (primarily Paleo) and my workouts (strength training, never more than an hour total, 5 per week) were Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday I took off to rest and recover.
Second, you may be a little moody during the first week because you will be hungry and low on fuel in the mornings. However, I noticed that this moodiness went away after the first week or so as my body adjusted.
So, for those of you who really want to push it for two weeks and accelerate your fat loss results, this challenge is for you.
Choose an 8-hour window of the day to be your “feeding period”. For most people, it’s easier to push back breakfast and eat from 11am-7pm or 12-8pm versus having to stop eating early in the day and go to bed hungry, but this is totally up to you.
If your schedule allows for it, do your workouts on an empty stomach, ideally in the morning. When you are “carb depleted”, your body does not have the readily available energy from carbohydrates that it would, had you eaten breakfast. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel. When this is not available, the next thing it uses for fuel are your fat stores. Some research suggests that this can help to accelerate the fat burning process.
I would recommend you consider taking a BCAA supplement before and during your fasted workouts to help you keep lean muscle while burning fat. Your body has the ability to “catabolize”, or break down and use your muscle tissue for energy. You obviously want to avoid this.
Read Also: How To Lose Fat Not Muscle
Read Also: What You Need To Know About BCAA’s
During your feeding period, keep your meals high protein and high vegetable. Usually the first meal tends to be the biggest meal of the day.
Keep in mind that if you are tracking calories, you still need to keep these within your daily targets. A restricted eating window is not a free pass to go over your daily calories. You still need to be in a deficit in order to lose fat.
Combining this challenge with whole nutritious foods with yield the best results. Good luck!
Committed To Your Health,
Brian Donovan is a certified fitness and nutrition coach, and the founder of Online Fitness Coach – an online fitness program where clients get direct coaching and personalized training and nutrition plans. Coach Brian was voted Chicago’s “Best Personal Trainer” by Chicago Reader magazine, Best Of Chicago 2014 edition. He has been featured in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Chicago Reader, Voyage Chicago, Bach Performance, and The Personal Trainer Development Center (PTDC).
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