One popular diet concept that you may have heard about before but have not been quite sure how to incorporate into your program is that of intermittent fasting. While it is much different from most of the mainstream approaches out there, many people do find that intermittent fasting is a great way to organize their meal plan, more easily obtain a fit body and physique and even live longer.
What is it and how can it help you lose fat and build muscle all while living longer?
Let’s go over the basics of intermittent fasting that you need to know about.
First let’s talk about the concept of intermittent fasting. Basically, this approach has you alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting throughout the day. There are two different ways that you can set this up.
First, you can do an alternate day fast. For instance, you would eat food as normal for 24 hours and then the next day, you’d fast for the entire day.
The second approach has you using an eating ‘window’, which typically lasts 6-10 hours long and then has you fasting for the rest of the day. This is then repeated every day, or at least multiple days per week. This latter approach does tend to be the most popular and is the one that is easiest to maintain.
So you’d normally start fasting when you go to bed at night and then fast all the way into the late afternoon. For instance, you might fast from 10pm until 2 pm the next day. Then from 2pm until 10pm, you’d have your eating window where you can begin eating.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
So what are the benefits of this approach?
First, it’s great for weight loss. One big complaint that many people have about weight loss diets in general is that they feel restricted eating such small meals. With intermittent fasting however, that won’t be the case.
Say your calorie intake for weight loss purposes is 1500 calories. If you are going to eat three meals in your eating window – say one at 2 pm, another at 6 pm, and another before bed at 9 pm, you’re going to get to eat 500 calorie meals. This can be a decent amount of food.
Compare this to if you were eating 6 meals a day, in which case your meals would range from only 200-300 calories. This helps keep you more psychologically satisfied as you go about your diet plan, which can also contribute to your success in achieving a fit body.
The second benefit of this approach is that it helps induce a higher state of insulin sensitivity. This means that when you do eat carbohydrates, your body is more prone to shuttle those carbohydrates towards the muscle cells rather than body fat cells.
Using this approach and them timing your carbohydrates so that you eat them immediately before or after your workout period will help put them to best use, allowing them to be used to fuel new muscle growth. Intermittent fasting is one approach where you may actually burn fat and build muscle all at the same time, allowing you to see quicker results for achieving a fit body and physique. This is very rarely happens with other diet plans.
Finally, the last big benefit to know about is that intermittent fasting may also help you live longer. Studies suggest that this approach can slow down the aging process and may help to prevent conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Using This In Your Plan to Achieve A Fit Body and See Results Quickly
So now that you know the benefits, how can you use this in your program?
First, select your eating window. While you don’t have to have it in the late afternoon/evening, most people will find this is simply easiest to do.
Now, you’ll want to structure your workouts around this time period. As much as possible, avoiding exercising in the morning when you don’t have food to eat before or after. You simply won’t have the energy to exercise optimally or to recover properly as you should.
Instead, place exercise either just before you break the fast (and have some BCAA’s to prevent muscle mass loss), eating your first meal after exercise, or break the fast right before, serving a light meal before the workout and following it up with a hearty post-workout meal.
Then, divide up your calories and macros like you normally would on any diet plan into two or three additional meals to serve during the eating window.
Intermittent fasting can be a great way to take control over your fat loss and achieve a fit body, all while reducing your total time commitment to meal prep and eating. For those who often find themselves forgetting to eat during the day naturally, intermittent fasting can be the best diet they’ll ever come across.
Martin, Bronwen, Mark P. Mattson, and Stuart Maudsley. “Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: two potential diets for successful brain aging.”Ageing research reviews 5.3 (2006): 332-353.
Varady, Krista A., and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Alternate-day fasting and chronic disease prevention: a review of human and animal trials.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.1 (2007): 7-13.