Intermittent fasting (otherwise known as I.F) seems to be the newest trend in the fitness community. I.F is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting during a certain time period. Many people believe that intermittent fasting helps with weight loss, strength and overall performance in the gym.
So far, research supports this notion that ditching the “three square meals a day” approach in favour of intermittent fasting may do wonders for your health. This type of scheduled eating was practised by our ancestors since they did not have the frequent access to food that we have now.
The Many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Helps promote insulin sensitivity
- Normalizes ghrelin levels, also known as your “hunger hormone”
- Increases the rate of HGH production, which has an important role in health, fitness, and slowing the ageing process
- Lowers triglyceride levels
- Helps suppress inflammation and fight free radical damage
In addition, exercising in a fasted state can help counteract muscle ageing and wasting, and boost fat-burning.
Adding Exercise to Intermittent Fasting Can Provide Even More Benefits
Science has proven time and again that high-intensity training (HITT) is far superior to hour-long aerobic exercises. It burns more calories in less time and increases the production rate of human growth hormone.
I’ve just started to add some HITT training into my gym routine and it has done wonders to improve my overall fitness level. There are a growing number of studies showing that high-intensity exercise combined with intermittent fasting is an ideal strategy to increase your fitness level.
Fasting the Way That’s Right for You
There are many considerations to take note when fasting intermittently:
- Intermittent fasting is not a form of extreme calorie restriction. It’s a practice that should make you feel good. If your fasting strategy is making you feel weak, you need to reevaluate it.
- Typical fast time ranges from 14 to 18 hours, and the longest you’ll ever abstain from food is 36 hours. It’s recommended that you skip breakfast and eat your lunch and dinner within a six to eight-hour time frame, and stop eating three hours before you go to bed.
Fasting will help your body adjust from burning carbs to burning fat. Eating on a six- to an eight-hour window can take a few weeks and should be done gradually. Once your body has successfully shifted into a fat burning mode, it will be easier for you to fast for as much as 18 hours and still feel satiated. Your craving for sugar will slowly dissipate and managing your weight will be easier.
- It is not advisable to practice intermittent fasting if your daily diet is filled with processed foods. Addressing the quality of your diet is crucial before you venture into fasting. It’s critical to avoid the wrong calories, including refined carbohydrates, sugar/fructose, and grains.Within the six to eight hours that you do eat, you need to eliminate refined carbohydrates like pizza, bread, and potatoes. Fill your diet with vegetable carbohydrates, healthy protein, and healthy fats such as butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and raw nuts.
- Intermittent fasting is not something you should carelessly undertake. Always, pay close attention to your body and your energy levels. Individuals who are hypoglycemic or diabetic should avoid any type of calorie restriction until your blood sugar or insulin levels are regulated.
Although there are tons of benefits to I.F, it’s a ‘diet’ or ‘lifestyle’ that just is not for me. I’ve tried many times to do a standard, fast from 8pm to 12am, eat from 12am to 8pm routine, but always end up feeling hangry and end up binging. Now I know why; no matter what I do, I can’t get on a set schedule which is something extremely important if you plan on doing this long term.
I work a full-time job in a busy restaurant with no set weekly schedule and no scheduled break times. I can start my workday anywhere from 830 am to 5pm and work anywhere from 5 hours a shift to 9 hours. Making it next to impossible to have my first meal of the day anywhere near 12 o’clock let alone at the same time every day. Some days when I was fasting, I wouldn’t be able to have my first meal until 5pm and would end up eating an entire day’s worth of calories in just a few hours. Leaving me bloated and feeling week/deprived.
If you want to try intermittent fasting or your eating in this style now, let me know your thoughts and experiences below!