Ever heard about Intermittent Fasting (IF)? It has recently been one of the hottest topics in nutrition science.
- • First of all: it totally works. We had been very sceptical before getting into it, but we are now convinced.
- • How it works: There are several variations of IF, but here our favourite one: eat between 12am and 8pm and fast between 8pm and 12 am. That's it!
- •Benefits: Lose body fat, gain lean muscles and benefit from positive hormone and cognitive effects
What is Intermittent Fasting?
IF is not a diet, it is a dieting pattern. It does not necessarily mean that you reduce your overall calories consumption. What it means is that you eat all you calories in a specific time period of the day, while in the other period you fast. We will call it the feast period and the fast period.
In other words: It changes when you eat, but not what and how much you eat
Different ways of Intermittent Fasting
In fact, there are several ways of how to intermittent fast.
1. The 16/8 Method
In this program you fast for 16 hours (usually between 8pm and 12am), followed by an 8-hour eating period (usually between 12am and 8pm). This essentially means to “only” skip breakfast.
This is our favorite, since it is probably the best method for regular gym-goers who want to lose fat but still increase muscle levels.
Also called the Lean Gains Protocol, invented by Martin Berkhan.
2. Other methods
Other methods are
- Eat-stop-eat by Brad Pilon: In here, you fast for 24 hours once or twice per week.
- 5:2 diet by Michael Mosley: Eat normal on 5 days per week, on the other 2 days consume only 500-600 calories per day
- Warrior diet by Ori Hofmekler, including a fasting phase of 20 hours.
In this post we will focus on the 16/8 method, as we think it is the most suitable program for most people.
How it works in detail
The first question that usually arises: Isn’t skipping breakfast bad for you?
Simple answer: No.
But let’s go through the process and analyze what actually happens in your body:
After eating a meal, the body has a lot of energy readily available and therefore, does not need to use the energy that is stored in your fat deposits. Your body stays for about 8 to 12 hours in that so-called fed state.
Once you reach the fasted state, your body will rely on the fat deposits of your body and will start to burn that fat.
Now, when we analyze a normal eating pattern with regular breakfast, lunch and dinner, we can easily see that the body never reaches the fasted state. And this is exactly where IF comes into play: By simply fasting for a period of a specific time, your body learns to rely on the fat resources in the fasted state.
But not only that: also because of the increased insulin sensitivity after a fast period, your body will be use the energy afterwards more efficiently.
Moreover, growth hormone levels increase during fasted states. This is exactly why IF can help to gain muscles while decreasing body fat levels! We know, that sounds like a miracle.
Health benefits of Intermittent Fasting
It is well known that fasting has several benefits for health. These benefits have also been proved for IF. The following list includes some examples:
- Reduced body fat
- Brain health
- Reduction of insulin resistance
IF has changed the view on preferable eating patterns of athletes and people who want to gain muscles / reduce fat substantially. When starting with IF, one of our main concerns was about skipping breakfast. Indeed, in the beginning it was not easy to focus at work in the morning (especially for Martin). However, after some days we realized that it was even easier to focus in a fasted state and that we were even performing well in heavy workouts.
One of our main motivations is that we can benefit from the health effects of fasting, without the downside of losing muscles.
Another advantage is, that it makes life easier. We simply do not have to think about food the first part of the day. This saves a lot of time that we used to dedicate to preparing breakfast and a snack.
Our recommendation for everybody is at least to try it 😉
Enjoy being fit