Intermittent fasting is getting a lot of press lately so of course I wanted to try it for myself. My weight loss efforts have seemed to plateau and that’s when I know that I need to do something to change up my routine.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
The Daily Intermittent Fast is an 8-hour feeding period followed by a 16-hour fast.
Why Do It Intermittent Fasting?
To pursue extreme leanness.
Who Is Intermittent Fasting For?
The Daily Fast is best for people who are already fit, have plenty of experience eating healthy and want to be extremely lean.
Men generally respond best to the 16-hour fast, 8-hour eating split; women seem to need a longer eating window and shorter fast (try a 14-hour fast with an 10-hour eating window) or a more relaxed approach in general. But it can work for both men and women as long as they have good self-discipline and don’t have a history of eating disorders.
Who Intermittent Fasting Isn’t For …
Pregnant women, people who have or have had eating disorders, and people simply looking to be healthy and fit with no particular desire to be extremely lean. The Daily Fast will typically be much harder to adhere to for men over 15% body fat and women over 22% body fat. Furthermore, there are far easier ways to make rapid and lasting change for people in those categories. See “How to get in shape without fasting” below.
How To Do It
The basic principle of intermittent fasting. You eat during an 8-hour feeding period and fast during a 16-hour fasting period. But there are other key principles as well:
- High protein & vegetable intake: During the 8-hour eating window, eat a ton of protein (meat, poultry, fish) and vegetables (think green growing things). Err on the side of eating too much of these foods.
- Fasted training: Do intense resistance training 3 times per week, right before you eat your first meal. In other words, you’ll be training on an empty stomach.
- Carb cycling: On training days, add carbs (quinoa, rice, whole grain bread, fruit, etc.) to your base diet of protein and veggies.
- Nutrient timing: On training days, eat as much of your food as soon after training as possible. Your biggest meal should come right after your workout.
Most people who follow intermittent fasting from 9 PM until 1PM the next day, exercising around noon while consuming 10 grams of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) during training. I prefer to fast from 7pm to 11am the next day.
After training, eat 2-3 large meals before 9 PM, with your biggest meal coming right after exercise.
(Note: If you can’t get away for a workout in the middle of the day, there are other was to set this up. Also, this protocol is more strict and therefore suited for more advanced trainees. Not for newbies.)
Sample Single-Day Intermittent Fasting Schedule
8:00 AM – Wake up, drink 500 mL (2 cups) water
9:00 AM – Drink 1 L (4 cups) water with 1 serving greens+, 250 mL (1 cup) green tea
11:00 AM – 250 mL (1 cup) green tea
12:00 PM – Workout session with 10 g BCAA during session
1:30 PM – Eat first meal, largest of the day
4:30 PM – Eat second meal, moderate sized meal
8:30 PM – Eat third meal, moderate sized meal
Tips and Strategies for successful intermittent fasting
- Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just skip breakfast and get shredded; what makes it work is combination of all the principles at play, including the food selection, fasted training and nutrient timing. This is an advanced strategy, not a magic bullet.
- Even if you think you can do the Daily Fast, consider choosing the Trial or Periodic Fast first.
- Make sure to re-read Chapter 6 for a full outline on how to perform the fast safely and effectively.
- If you find eating this way is too strict, try a) extending the eating window from 8 hours to 9 or even 10 hours, or b) turning your hardest training day into an “eat what you want” day to relax things a little. Or try two “eat what you want” days. These aren’t rules, just guidelines; better to follow a more relaxed plan than abandon a stricter one.
NOT A FIT FOR YOU? HERE’S HOW TO GET IN SHAPE WITHOUT FASTING
So how does intermittent fasting fit in? In three ways.
First, its a great way to intentionally practice being hungry. The better you can manage hunger, the less likely you are to react compulsively to it. To get fit — and stay fit — you need that skill.
Second, it’s a lesson in disguise for people who care about their health and fitness: relax. So you missed a meal. Who cares? Might even be good for you. Just keep going.
Third, it’s great as an advanced strategy for extreme leanness. If you want that, and you’re prepared, you may find this protocol easier to follow than the typical bodybuilding-style diets. I did.
But ultimately, fasting is a “nice-to-have.” It’s unnecessary to get in shape, and alone it’s insufficient.
You know what’s both necessary and sufficient? Things like eating good quality food in the right amounts at the right times. Things like learning to prepare healthy food in the first place. Those things are enough for most people to get in the best shape of their lives. I know, because my team and I have helped thousands of clients get there; none of them did any more than the Trial Fast, but all of them are taught those essentials.
So if you’re looking at all this intermittent fasting stuff and aren’t sure where it fits in for you, what should you do?
Learn the essentials of good nutrition. It’s by far the best thing you can do for your health and fitness.
My Free 3 Day Quick Fix Program