Do you get tired of tracking every morsel of food and obsessing about when you’ll get your next meal? Being a slave to eating around the clock gets tedious and doesn’t make sense for our busy lives. Contrary to popular belief, IT IS POSSIBLE to have your dream physique without the 2-3 hour feeding schedule.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating protocol that offers a solution to these problems. You can make incredible progress while consuming all of your calories and macros within a window of time, without any phone reminders. IF is popular with people who have demanding schedules that don’t allow them to pull out a container of food every few hours.
Benefits & Basics
When fasting your insulin levels drop, increasing the body’s fat-burning abilities. Human Growth Hormone increases, promoting muscle gain. Metabolism goes up and appetite goes down. Fasting can also reduce overall inflammation, promote cellular repair, aid in disease prevention, and may help you live a longer life. In addition to physiological benefits, IF is easy to follow!
IF can be done in a number of timeframes (windows) that you can cater to your schedule.
16 hours fasted, 8 hours feasting. The most popular window, 16:8 offers a greater amount of time to eat so you don’t have to cram large amounts of calories into a short timespan. This window is the one I implement in my own day-to-day life. I try to consume 4 large meals during the 8-hour feasting phase.
Here’s my typical 16–8 day:
9am: Pre-Workout Drink
10am–11:30am: Gym (Resistance Training)
12pm—8pm: Feeding Phase
8pm–9am: Fasting Phase
Post workout, I break my fast with BCAA muscle recovery supplements and immediately have a protein-packed lunch. Throughout the rest of the day I will consume three or four more meals and have an additional cardio session.
Within the eight hour feeding phase I will consume all of the calories and macros I need. I don’t track my food, but I make sure I get the proteins, fats, and carbs my body needs. You can adjust the 8-hour feeding phase earlier or later to best fit your schedule.
20 hours fasted, 4 hours feasting. This aggressive window forces you to eat 1 or 2 very large meals within the feeding phase, typically in the afternoon or evening.
No calories consumed during a 24-hour period, with regular calorie consumption resuming the following day. For example: on Monday you eat dinner and begin fasting at 7pm. You eat nothing until dinner on Tuesday, after 7pm.
This high-intensity window should only be done a couple times a week.
Choose two non-consecutive days each week, and only consume 500 calories on each of those days. The other five days you eat regularly. Popular fasting days for this window are Sunday/Wednesday or Monday/Thursday.
The Rules of Fasting
For any fasting window you choose, during the fast you can consume water (sparkling is fine), black coffee, or tea. Avoid artificially sweetened beverages if at all possible.
Breaking Your Fast
Begin your feasting phase with a meal high in protein instead of carbs. Opt for a protein shake, omelet, or a typical chicken meal, and skip the oats and fruit.
The benefits of IF are undeniable. Although it does take discipline to refrain from eating during the fasting window, the freedom is worth it! Decide which fasting window works best for your schedule, follow through with the protocol, and watch it do its magic.