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Intermittent Fasting 101

“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors” – Mark Twain

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF): 

This ancient method is voluntary abstention from eating for spiritual, health or other reasons. It happens nightly as we sleep and daily as we take breaks between meals. It basically requires MINIMAL effort and its FREE.

IF is a more realistic, sustainable, non-pharmaceutical and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.


 

Just a few Benefits:

 

❤️Assists with weight loss, type 2 Diabetes, fat-burning, has neurological benefits, lowers blood pressure and lowers the risk of cancer.

💪🏼Promotes stronger insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone (HGH) secretion.

💩Fasting regimens appear to have positive impacts on the gut microbiome.

👌🏼It simplifies your day, is convenient and flexible. Rather than having to prepare, pack and eat your meals every 2-3 hours, you can skip the smaller snacks and consolidate.

🍪Fasting restores the ability to occasionally enjoy the dessert by balancing out the feast; especially when traveling.

💸 It saves you money! You don’t have to worry about buying snacks or stopping every couple of hours to pick up a quick bite.

📌Please note that the benefits listed above may be in conjunction with dietary restriction.


We Practice What We Preach

When my husband and I travel, we always fast through our flights. Why be at the mercy of crap airport food or unsatisfying over-priced snacks? We simply eat before or after our flights (hydrating in between) allowing us to eat like a king (and queen) when we arrive at our destination with zero guilt. We even fast through our flights to Budapest! Remember, if you can fast through the night for 6-8 hours, you can TOTALLY fast for periods throughout the day.
Breaking our fast at 1:00 pm in Chicago!


Where to begin?

First and foremost, get approval from your physician – it’s not for everyone.
And don’t even think about jumping right into an extreme fasting window.
Think small changes. Also, please note that there is no one “right’ way to fast so please experiment with different fasting methods (see below).
  1. The easiest way to begin is to start with an overnight fast of 6-8 hours. This will also help with your circadian rhythm.
  2. You can always try intermittently fasting between meals. If you’re eating a balanced and nutrient-dense meal, you should be able to go 4-5 hours between meals. And if you can’t, that might be an indicator that your macros are off, you are undereating or you may not be hydrating enough.
  3. Once you’ve established the above routine (s), lengthen your fasting window by 1 hour before you go to bed and 1 hour after you wake up.
  4. Based on how your body responds, add another fasting hour before bedtime and/or after you wake. This is where you must consider your lifestyle and continue with a fasting method that is sustainable for consistency.

 

⏰ Example windows:

  • For a healthy woman with zero contraindications, an optimal IF method for fat loss is 14 hours fasting/10 hours eating. Fasting hours are dependent on the individual and can be lengthened.
  • For a healthy man with zero contraindications, an optimal IF method for fat loss is 16 hours fasting/8 hours eating. Fasting hours are dependent on the individual and can be lengthened.

 

🏆 For Best Results:

🔑 Make your eating hours earlier in the day (between 7 am to 3 pm, or even 10 am to 6 pm and limit eating right before bed.

🔑 Avoid snacking between meals or eating late at night.

👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

🔑 When we snack, our insulin levels rise and our fat cells are unable to release stored sugar to be used as energy. If we desire weight loss, our insulin levels must drop low enough so that burn off our fat. 


What NOT to do:

If you’re coming off a long fast, the last thing you should do is:

 

❌ Eat whatever the heck you want. The quality of food and quantity STILL matters and fasting doesn’t give the green light to abuse food.

❌ Be unprepared. It’s important that you plan out how you will break your fast (i.e. have your food prepped, review the restaurant menu beforehand, etc.).


FAQ’S

How will I feel?

After 3 days to 1 week… FREAKIN FANTASTIC. Or at least that’s what the majority of fasters experience. Imagine a rush of adrenaline and epinephrine that clears your mind and keeps you hyper-focused through your fasting hours. Not only are you are able to work more proficiently, but you don’t have to waste thinking about what you’re going to eat or when you have to leave to pick up food.
BUT – When 1st starting fasting, you may notice your stomach grumbling, headaches or constipation. Some people may initially feel exhausted, lightheaded, or shaky from diminished blood sugar. Many medications can also cause problems on an empty stomach and should be discussed with a physician.

 

Can everyone fast?

No. Fasting is NOT recommended for:

One who does not lacks a healthy relationship with food (i.e. eating disorder).

One who has difficulty meet their daily caloric needs or is underweight.

One who has chronic stress, elevated cortisol or irregular hormones (menopausal women).

One who is currently taking prescriptive medication.

One who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

One who is under the age of 18 years.

It is not something that everyone has to do. This is just another tool in the toolbox that can be useful for some people. Some also believe that it may not be as beneficial for women as men.

Won’t I lose muscle if I fast?

Does The Wolverine look like he lost muscle while fasting?
It’s quite the opposite. To make a long story short, Mother Nature designed us to conserve protein and utilize excess fat for fuel during fasting. With the production of Growth Hormone,  the availability and utility of fats for fuel increases. We actually preserve muscle mass and bone density. Click here for more information.

 


Can I lose weight with Intermittent Fasting?

A 2015 systematic review of 40 studies, published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, showed that IF was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of seven to 11 pounds over 10 weeks.
In combination with caloric restriction and a healthy gut, IF can definitely help with weight and fat loss.

 


Are there different methods of fasting?

🔹16/8 Method – fast for 16 hours each day

🔹Eat, Stop, Eat – 24 hr fast 1 or 2 times per week

🔹5:2 Fast – Fast 2 days of the week

🔹Alternate-day Fasting – Fast every other day

🔹Spontaneous meal skipping – skip meals when convenient

🔹Liquid Fasts – relying on broths, juice, teas and water

🔹Fat Fasts – a high-fat, low-calorie diet that typically lasts 2–5 days.

🔹Religious Fasts – Lent, Ramadan, etc.

 


We highly encourage you to consult a doctor to see if intermittent fasting is a healthy approach to eating for you.

 

🤳🏼For more FREE IF tips, download the 4U Fitness Podcast here.

And our Youtube video here.


Resources:

  • Dietary restriction and brain health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5560378/

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