These all are common questions associated with a IF and rightfully so. You have probably been raised believing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Or that you need to eat often in order to keep your metabolism "rev'd" up.
Well like most information in the nutrition and fitness world (unfortunately) these are all myths. One big issue with health "science" or "studies" is that they are based on observational studies and not controlled ones. Asking people to fill out a questionnaire about what they have eaten the last 10 years has couple flaws don't you think? Anyways I am digressing...
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone but if it something that you can integrate into your diet regime it can be super powerful. Not only does fat melt away quicker, but your hormones become more balanced, you become more insulin sensitive, as well as having many other health benefits associated with it.
Lets take a look at three of the most popular IF protocols...
The LG approach focuses on a eating window each day. More specifically a 16/8 window. Everyday you eat for an 8 hour period and fast for 16. Once you are in your eating window you eat anywhere from 1-3 meals.
The LG gains protocol is almost "perfect" for gaining muscle while staying, or even getting, lean. Due to the fact that you can implement this method on a daily basis, you receive many of the positive health benefits associated with IF every day. Especially the hormonal benefits.
IF will increase your testosterone and growth hormone (good for you ladies too, not just men) while also allowing you to become more insulin sensitive. This increases your ability to build muscle and burn fat.
The only real "issue" that can arise with the 16/8 window is that somedays your schedule can get a little messed up. For example I typically eat from 10am-6pm everyday. But maybe we have been invited to a dinner where I won't eat until 8pm.
Because you implement this IF method on a daily basis it is easier for it to get a little screwed up. At least when you compare it a fasting for a full day once in a while. More on that shortly. However one thing that I have learned is that it doesn't really matter.
Sometimes my feeding window gets stretched to 10 hours or I end up fasting for 18-19 hours. On occasion I end up fasting for only 14 hours. What I heave learned is that is doesn't matter! Sure once and a while things do not go according to plans, but as long as you get right back after it the results keep rollin' in.
2. Eat Stop Eat.
What is great is that unlike the LG approach, you are not implementing this everyday. If you want to try it once a week go for it. Twice, give it a go. Three times is doable but starting to get a little much. This protocol is virtually impossible to mess up.
I kind of covered the pros. It is a super simple, east method to try for all the IF virgins out there. You can have your fasting day on whatever day may work best for you on a given week. If you have a social lunch or dinner then don't IF that day. Simple right?
Another huge benefit associated with the ESE protocol is the increased hormonal re-balancing. The longer you go without eating the better your insulin sensitivity will become. Great for fat loss! Similarly, increased growth hormone secretion is experienced during/following a fast. Also great for fat loss and muscle gain.
Finally, assuming on the days you eat you are not eating more, removing an entire day or two of eating in a weeks periods will in and amongst itself lead to fat loss. If you are eliminating 2000-5000 calories per week from your diet it is virtually impossible to not wreak the benefits of fat loss. Unless you eat more on the days you eat and eat really shitty food!
The only real con that I have experienced with the ESE method is that going 24 hours without eating can be difficult. Especially if you are trying it for the first time. By about 20 hours you can get pretty grumpy and irritable. At least I do!
Your energy levels can be fairly low on these days so any type of training is virtually impossible. Now that being said if you fast on an non-training day you do not need to worry about it.
3. Warrior Diet.
It would look something like this. Let's say you ate dinner at 7pm. 4 hours later you are allowed to start eating again. However most do not since they go to bed. During this 20 hour period you are allowed to eat small amounts of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.
When dinner rolls around again it is game time. You would have eaten very a little amount of calories during the day so you need to make those up at dinner. At dinner you feast on a large scale meal. Eat virtually as much as you want.
Due to the fact that it is not a true fast, this style of eating is a great stepping stone for getting the true IF. You can start eat smaller and smaller amounts during your 20 window until you get to the point where you can go 16-24 hours without eating.
Because this protocol is not a true fast you do not experience all the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting.
Also, it can be difficult for some to eat a healthy 2000 calorie meal in the evening. Because you need to eat a very large dinner, and A LOT chicken breast and quinoa would need to be eaten to make up 2000 calories, is becomes natural to eat less healthy foods. While fat loss might not be affected too much by doing this, you overall health will certainly take a hit.
I hope that this was able to lay out a few of the popular intermittent fasting methods. Perhaps it helped clarify which one may be right for you?
Let me know if you have ever tried IF? What approach did you take? Did you like it?
Live Your Best Life!