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A First Glance Intermittent Fasting seems pretty counter-intuitive.
When it comes to improving body composition, skipping breakfast, consuming 0 calories for several hours on end and then feasting within a designated time period goes against much of what’s typically believed to be optimal. Before we get into that it’s important that you first understand that intermittent fasting is by no means anything magical when it comes to fat loss.
In fact, the largest systematic review covering 40 studies on the topic found that when calories are equated although intermittent fasting may provide various physiological and psychological health benefits it does not provide any direct benefit for increasing fat loss or muscle gain. When compared to traditional dieting simply means that at the end of the day the calorie deficit is what ultimately produces a fat loss when fasting rather than the act of fasting itself.
However the great thing about fasting and why I personally implemented it for fat loss and recommend that you at least try, is that it makes sticking to your calorie deficit much easier to do not only does. Earlier research from Harvard University showed
that it suppresses your appetite better than traditional dieting but by ingesting all of your calories within a shorter time and incorporating larger, more satisfying meals that help you stay full despite any calorie deficit. Therefore it is likely to lead to better adherence and more fat loss for you in the long run. With that being said let’s start with
# How Long you Should Fast for
Although there are several different types of fasting eg: 24 h fasting, 20/4 fast 16/8, if your main goal is to drop body fat while minimising muscle loss I recommend sticking to the 16-8 protocol popularised by Martin Birkhead.
This simply involves fasting for 16 hours and then eating within an 8-hour feeding window. For example, only eating between 12:00 to 8:00 PM and fasting outside of these hours it’s as simple as skipping breakfast but if you struggle with this you can gradually build up to 16 hours of fasting overtime and or gradually increase the number of days you fast for per week.
The time of day of your fasting and feeding windows are of little significance. The key though is to be consistent with when it takes place because it’s emphasised. Montagnese et al.( 2021) wrote in a paper on circadian rhythms this will best enable your body to adapt by suppressing your hunger hormone during the time of your fast. It does often take around two to three weeks for your body to adapt but trust me it will become much easier over time.
Also worth noting is that at least in rats research shows that females may have slightly more adverse reactions to fastening than men. This means that it’s a good idea for females to start with a 14-10 protocol, for example, and then build up to the 16 -8 overtime when you feel you’re ready now.
As for what exactly to consume during your fasting and feeding windows it’s actually quite simple during the fasting period you don’t ingest any calories or anything that bites your incident. I would however suggest drinking a lot of water as well as black coffee, green tea and or sparkling water while staying busy in order to help suppress your appetite during this time. As for calorie-free natural and artificial sweeteners a 2010 ( Spencer et al, 2016 ) literature review found that most calorie-free sweeteners don’t have an appreciable effect on insulin and are therefore fine to have during your fasting If you enjoy it in your car for your tea for example.
As for your feeding window, the actual foods you should be eating are no different than the foods you should be eating with any fat-loss diet. A good rule of thumb is to stick to 80% of your foods coming from whole unprocessed sources like broccoli, avocado, potatoes, and wholemeal bread with the remaining 20% in foods considered not as healthy like chocolate, pizza, ice cream.
#How Much to Eat During your Feeding Window
As I mentioned, there’s no strong evidence that intermittent fasting will help you lose fat without being in a calorie deficit.
An article written by Helms et.al (2014) clearly stated the fact that if your body weight in pounds is 13 you should provide the body with roughly the amount of calories need to ingest daily in order to be in a calorie deficit such that you’re able to lose around a pound a week. In addition to this, your protein intake will also be vital to maintain your muscle mass as you leaned out so a minute intake of roughly 0.73 to one gramme of protein per pound of body weight would be ideal and in agreement with the literature.
For example, a 170 pounds individual utilising intermittent fasting should place a priority on hitting these two main goals during their feeding window. As for the optimal
#Number of Meals to Eat During your Feeding Window
At getting the best and most convenient option is to stick with three protein-rich meals is not only enables you to have larger more satisfying meals as you diet but as shown in talks to the CBS by the chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital Dr.Mitchell Roslin
that compared to ingesting three large meals versus six smaller meals throughout the day three male seems to be the better option for hungry control although this will likely vary individually. In addition contrary to popular belief when compared to eating more frequently a lower meal frequency doesn’t cause a reduction in your metabolism as your total calorie content and composition governs this rather than the actual frequency.
However, that research indicates that there may be a slight advantage to spacing out protein over four meals rather than three. In terms of maximising protein synthesis meaning that if your main goal is instead to build muscle fast it may actually be sub-optimal for this reason. |But this is likely of little significance if you still consuming adequate protein with your three meals which is the more crucial factor regardless of the experiment with it and stick to a meal for you can see that best suits your lifestyle now
#When to Train
Although there are various potential benefits to fasted training and various benefits that training in a bad state the best option for you will ultimately depend on your schedule and also what enables you to perform the best in your workout. In either case, there are a few things to keep in mind in the event that you have to wait for training to fast in the morning.
As shown by Dr Joe in this video
A good alternative is to simply ingest essential amino acids during the workout and or a whey protein shake afterwards although this will technically spike your insulin and break your fast you still get the benefit of pushing your calories later on in the day which is ultimately what makes passing such a powerful tool for bad where’s if you train within your feeding window.
For example, after workout time is able to get any other protein intake without approaching carbs.
Experience with it and see what works best for you and what you’re being a most consistent superfood.
#Points to Take Away
Keep in mind that fasting is nothing magical in terms of fat loss but for many, it does make sticking to a calorie deficit that much easier to do, which is why I can be such a powerful tool for fat loss especially when we play with the right training plan. If you’re looking for a complete evidence-based programme that shows you exactly how to to optimise go through nutrition and your training in order to transform your body as efficiently as possible. When simply head on over to build to a science.com/courses we can view the poor programmes I have up and choose the one that best suits
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