What is it?
Why do you want to do it?
What benefits does it bring?
How often Should I do it?
Those are just a few of the questions I will be answering. So, what is intermittent fasting (or intermittent energy restriction? It is simply a fancy term for a cycle of when you choose to consume calories, when you time your meals and when you start restriction.
There are a ton of different ways you can approach it, but in order for you to not hurt your metabolism permanently you have to listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, stop. There’s the 16/8 method which is the one I personally follow. This means you allow yourself to have meals for 8 hours of the day then fast for 16, so for me I stop eating around 6 PM and I don’t eat again till 12 PM the next day. All I have between is water, lots of water. Then there’s the 5:2 method which means you fast for two days per week, this is more extreme and should be done cautiously, if you feel sick in any way immediately stop. There’s also the eat-stop-eat method which requires you to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, also should be done cautiously. Then there’s intermittent fasting to an extreme, a lot of the pro body builders and strong men will use this method called the warrior diet, where you fast all day and have one giant meal at night.
When you’re just starting to play around with intermittent fasting, I would start with 12 hours and work your way up to 16 where I am. Fasting over night is so much easier than throughout the day as well which is why I stick to the 16/8 method.
So why would you want to intermittent fast? It has great benefits; 1. it will help with inflammation of your digestive system, especially your stomach. Our stomachs work hard everyday, it’s super important to give it a break so it can work optimally. 2. It kick starts your metabolism, if you notice you’re bloated and you just can’t seem to get rid of it this is a good indication your body needs a re-set, and intermittent fasting will do that for you. 3. It will help reduce bloating due to inflammation, water retention, and sodium retention. 4. It can assist you in weight loss, our bodies cling to the carbohydrates and the sugars we consume and store them as fat unless we somehow force our bodies to burn it (which is difficult because our bodies survival instinct kicks in and wants to keep it there for fuel if necessary). By fasting for 16+ hours, it forces your body to use those carbohydrates and sugars instead of keeping them in storage. So in turn our insulin levels will drop, blood pressure will drop, and so will cholesterol. Pretty cool right?
For me, I use intermittent fasting as a re-set so after the holidays is perfect. But I normally keep up with it for a couple weeks at a time (minus the weekends normally), and then eat on a normal schedule for a few days if I feel like it. For me it is not hard to fast because I’m usually not very hungry in the mornings and all I crave is water. You just have to listen to your body, see what feels good. I use it during both my cutting and bulking phases (since I keep my bulks lean), it’s really helpful. I wouldn’t do anything crazy like the warrior diet method, but I do highly recommend intermittent fasting for total body health.