Intermittent Fasting Cliff Notes
Well, it’s 2017 and even though we have access to more information than ever before, there is still an abundance of outdated, hilariously wrong, agenda-pushing nutrition advice.
I would consider myself pretty well-versed on the current and previous scientific literature regarding exercise and nutrition. I’m lucky enough to enjoy it, so reading on these topics is really more of a hobby even though it’s my job. I’ve seen a lot of fads come and go. I’ve also used a myriad of these diets myself so that I had an understanding of what the person would be going through. I typically manage a large client load which allows me to gather my own “data” and continue to develop an effective, ever evolving protocol.
I say all of that to say this – Intermittent Fasting is still, hands down, the simplest, most effective and easy to implement dietary strategy with the highest yield and lowest risk.
It is also often misunderstood and misapplied. So I wrote a 4 part, 80+ reference article series on Intermittent Fasting if you care for the nuts and bolts, those can be found here:
But – if you’re here for the Intermittent Fasting Cliff Notes then read below:
Less is More
Several, smaller meals a day has been thoroughly disproved as being more effective than less frequent meals in weight loss or health parameters in numerous recent studies. In my experience helping hundreds of different people with their nutrition what I’ve noticed is – more opportunities to eat leads to increased likelihood that you overeat. Once you adapt to intermittent fasting, you will have control over your appetite and thus your body composition.
Big fancy word but it’s important in this discussion. In the simplest terms – this is your body’s ability to change from one energy source to another. Those who have “in-tact” metabolic flexibility can more easily use fat as a fuel source during fasting or exercise (this is good). They are also able to switch over and burn ingested energy more efficiently than their “non-flexible” counterparts. Fasting provides us with an environment where fat can be freed up and utilized, thus making its usage as an energy source more efficient.
Nope – not if done correctly. If you read part 4 of my series on Intermittent Fasting you will see that IF beat traditional caloric restriction in terms of lean mass retained. Studies done on athletes during Ramadan also show the preservation of lean mass and loss of fat mass. Your body is more resourceful than you give it credit for.
Your Damn Health
Where should we start? Improved insulin sensitivity/blood sugar, activation of certain longevity genes, beneficial effects on cholesterol, reduced inflammation and so on. Once again, ALL OF THESE POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR SIMPLY DOING NOTHING. Just pushing meals off a few hours can literally improve your health and lower your body fat. Or keep trying juices, fad diets and bs supplements hoping you one day wake up with abs.
How To Implement Intermittent Fasting
There are many forms of intermittent fasting, from alternate day fasting to daily fasting. The length and frequency of the fasting period should be based on your current goals. For a reduction in fat, you want to mobilize and utilize fatty acids during your fast. You do this by performing some activity in the fasted state.
Waking up and performing cardio on an empty stomach is an easy way to do this. If you continue your fast after cardio, you will continue to burn stored fat as fuel. A common method is to fast until 1pm since skipping breakfast is relatively easy to fit into people’s schedule. It’s important to remember that these calories aren’t lost, they are meant to be made up during your “feeding” phase. It’s also essential that you stay hydrated during this time.
If you are interested in the potential anti-aging or longevity effects of fasting, the fast period should be longer in length (24-36+ hours). The longer the fast, the more stress is placed on the cells. While this sounds troublesome, it’s this stressor that boosts the resiliency of the body’s cells to oxidative stress. This engages a cellular degradation process (autophagy) that gets rid of dysfunctional cells.
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