And does it work?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
To put it in simple terms, intermittent fasting is a dietary system where you explore eating windows. The windows can be:
- 16:8, an 8-hour window where you are allowed to eat and a 16-hours where you either drink water, un-sugared black coffee, or un-sugared black/green/herbal tea.
- 18:6, a 6-hour window where you are allowed to eat and an 18-hours where you either drink water, un-sugared black coffee, or un-sugared black/green/herbal tea.
- 20:4, a 4-hour window where you are allowed to eat and a 20-hour window where you either drink water, un-sugared black coffee, or un-sugared black/green/herbal tea.
- 5:2, a 5-day period where you can eat normally with 2 days per-week where you don’t eat and only drink water, un-sugared black coffee, or un-sugared black/green/herbal tea.
So, as you can see there are many options for which you may want to choose, each variably more challenging, but what is the purpose of this structure? What are the pros’ and cons’ that come with this? And how does this measure up against other diet models that are currently out there?
What is the purpose of these structures?
The purpose is to allow the body to fully digest the food that the body has inside, this will allow the body to start producing ketones which will allow the body to target fat as a fuel source. Intermittent fasting also induces a cellular repair process known as autophagy, this is where the cells in the body initiate a “waste removal” process involving the breaking down and metabolising of broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside our cells over time. This process also helps reduce inflammation within body and also promotes HGH (human growth hormone) which promotes stronger and healthier muscle growth.
There is an idea that intermittent fasting would also mimic our species, more primitive eating patterns. In the time of being hunter gatherers we would find, hunt, and eat probably once a day if we were lucky. So, the evidence that we would eat as “nature intended” would go inline with digestion and “how a human body” should naturally function against our body continually being focused on the digestion of food from snacking throughout the day.
What are the pros to intermittent fasting?
- Intermittent fasting has many variations and options for you to be able to schedule your time and window.
- There are varying degrees of difficulty, of which all will work towards fat burn and, potentially, a healthier life-style.
- Within your window, you can eat as you wish as long as you have some sort of vegetables and nutrients.
- You don’t need to track what you eat. You can also fit in a treat if you so desire.
- Can potentially increase your fluid intake throughout the day.
- Allows the body to utilise processes such as fat for fuel source, autophagy and promotes HGH.
What are the cons for intermittent fasting?
- Takes will power to over-come the hunger that some may not be used too.
- For some people, the eating windows clash with their everyday lives.
- Can feel fatigued in the first few weeks.
- You have to eat a lot in the windows provided which can prove difficult for some.
- If you work out, you may have to get used to working out on an empty stomach, which can be a hard adjustment.
- Some people won’t eat enough in this window, leaving the body malnourished.
- You have to ensure you drink adequate amount of water to allow for the flushing of toxins produced by autophagy.
How does this hold up against other dietary methods?
I only can speak from my own personal experience, and I have found this to be the best one to work for me. I do not like tracking calories, I have never enjoyed it so with intermittent fasting, it works perfectly for me in that sense.
Having the job I do, I can easily fit the windows to suit my everyday schedule and, personally, I have come to enjoy training on an empty stomach as I feel that I don’t nearly fatigue as much as I do when I have eaten before I train. I guess that’s because there is no blood needing to concentrate on digestion and the oxygenated blood can focus on supplying the muscles in use.
I have found it easy to stick too though I will say there are moments where I have become hangry, a kind of anger over me when feeling hungry. Finally, I have found that I have produced my best results when both training, and aesthetically through intermittent fasting, so I am quite the advocate for this approach.
With my clients I have found mixed results, I have found some that completely excel. They lose weight and gain muscular definition very smoothly as the approach fits and works well with their life-style. For others I have found that this doesn’t seem to work as well, as the eating window doesn’t work with their schedule or their life-style making us have to find another approach to reach their goals.
The main take away from this article is that it does work well for some people, and if done right, there are some great health benefits as well as aesthetic benefits to be had. But if its not for your life-style, then it won’t give you the desired outcome you are looking for. The best way is to try and experiment and come to your own conclusion to see if this works.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us here at Realfit and we would be happy to help you further.
©Realfit Coach Lucio Adger