What is intermittent fasting? How does it work? Should I do it when I’m cutting? Bulking? How do you go so long without eating? There are probably a lot of questions on the back of your mind if you’re a newcomer and/or beginner with intermittent fasting. It might seem extremely daunting to you, especially if you’re someone who loves eating breakfast but want to make a change in your life. Well, I didn’t see a post regarding this before, so here is the beginners guide to intermittent fasting, from someone who’s a veteran at it at this point.
What is intermittent fasting? To put it simply, IF is just periodic cycles between a fasting and feeding window. We all undergo this - when you sleep and wake up, you’re in a fasted state having gone so many hours without caloric intake. The lifestyle of IF simply advocates to stretch that fast longer and delay your first meal of the day. The most typical pattern is seeing 16:8 where you fast 16 hours after your last meal and eat all your calories within the 8 hour window. It should also be understood that IF is by no means a diet, it is simply a tool/protocol/lifestyle that makes it easier, more sustainable and faster to reach your physique goals.
That seems absurdly hard! How can that be healthy? Well, it’s only hard because were not used to it. We’re all used to eating first thing in the morning, but if you think about it, we evolved eating this way. The hunter-gatherer days revolved around hunting during the day and feasting during the night. There are several advantages when it comes to IF that I’ll discuss in just a moment, but really thinking hard, we weren’t meant to eat every few hours because lets be real that would be miserable if you’re trying to lose weight. Now, granted going many hours without food is a little tough, but thats where the holy grail of God comes into play - black coffee. Seriously, this shit is incredible. It is something to adjust to at first but fuck me, you start loving it. I never really was a breakfast kid, never was excited about it, but now I’m excited about my morning coffee every day. Also, I have a huge sweet tooth, so I put in a splenda or two into my black coffee to make it taste better, it’s a guilty pleasure. You don’t have to but you can, since its no calories. Other things that you can have during your fasting window to make it easy is sparkling water or any zero calorie sodas (diet coke is a favourite for me).
What are some health benefits to IF? Great. I love this part, because IF is more than just eating and not eating for fat burning. Im not going into too much detail, you can look some of this shit up because there are many studies proving it, but in the fasted state we have spiked levels of Growth Hormone (HGH), which is superb for building muscle. This is why I do IF regardless of whether its cutting, bulking or maintaining season - it’s lifestyle. Furthermore, it normalizes your leptin levels (which regulates fat storage) and insulin sensitivity. And of course, the boost in metabolism and fat mobilization. But it goes beyond that - once you get into IF and your body adjusts, you find that you are more clear and level-headed during the fasted state, and more productive in work. This may sound like pseudo-science but try it out and you’ll see, everyone I know responds likewise.
How effective is IF on a cut? Coming from someone who went from obese to ripped (185lbs–>130lbs today @ 5'4"), who loves eating lots of food, is a real foodie, and has a sweet tooth, this protocol is certainly the best one there is. Lets face it, cutting sucks, and eating at a calorie deficit is just saddening because apparently so many foods are just a no go. But IF changes the game, it makes eating at a deficit easy and sustainable. When you compress your calories into two meals, and maybe a snack, you have room to eat big satisfying foods and meals. Im cutting right now but I have a little chocolate or ice cream or something sweet almost every day. You have leeway to eat a lot of the foods normal diets would consider taboo. I’m not saying stuff your face with cupcakes and ice cream, I’m saying you can incorporate that stuff into your calories as long as everything else is in check, and get superb results. When you’re not eating during the day, you’re not just saving your calories for later - you’re also burning nothing but fat. You have to go 3-4 days without eating to put your body into that starvation mode where it starts burning muscle, so don’t worry about that. But in the fasted window, say after 12 hours, your body has no food or anything to use for energy purposes and so it goes to your fat stores, which is the most energy dense source. You can be eating the same number of calories you would on a normal cut, but burn fat faster and more effectively, while having the liberty of eating your favourite and most satisfying foods. Everything in moderation guys. You can go keto if you want, but I personally advocate a diet balanced in protein carbs and fats.
So, feel free to add stuff in the comments guys, we want the newcomers to experience the joy of fasting and we want the world to get ripped! Skip breakfast, go against the grain, and step away from status quo. And don’t be fooled by your body feeling kind of shitty during the first week or so, it’s just the adjustment phase. Stick with IF for 2 weeks and you will realize how satisfying and glorious this lifestyle is.