Back in the day when I was starting out on my wellness journey, I had the good fortune of meeting an extremely accomplished coach. He began way before the dot com bubble and remains relevant till this day. That’s one of the primary reasons he is most revered and sought after aside from being a body of knowledge. An ever so evolving tutor which makes him the perfect counsel for one and all.
So, we were having a chat over coffee. I told him my plans on starting a fitness blog to help people. In spite of being a regular guy (day job & family) I was quick to highlight how passionate and consistent I have been all these years with my training and nutrition. We discussed workouts, food etc. He was very encouraging and then suddenly threw something at me which put me out of sorts.
He asked, “Why are you so stringent with your regime? You’re not a performance athlete. There will come a point you will burn out and coming back will be most difficult…..” Very relevant and true. My answer at that time was, “I will continue for as long as I a can and let’s see how it goes. Typically, inexperienced and unfamiliar of the nuances of the trade, all I was trying to do was save my face and get out of the situation.
That was 6 years ago. The pictures you see below are from a week back and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows of my progress.
So, there is a way for blokes like us (working professionals, dad bods & regular guys) to get in shape and maintain it around our lifestyle. And yes, you do not have to be a performance athlete to do it. If it wasn’t for the person i’d met at the beginning, I would never have had the foresight or motivation to find out an alternative approach to the sport for people like you and me. So, ladies and gentleman, brace yourself ‘casue this is the real deal.
What am I talking about? Well, I am talking about a diet protocol which is the opposite of conventional eating. We’ll get to it in a minute
An eating pattern you can build around your lifestyle. When I learnt about it, I was stumped!!! I couldn’t believe it is so simple and doable. If your goal is to lose or maintain weight, then you must stop eating. You read that right. Ok, not entirely, however, eat in windows, therefore, reducing your total calorie intake. A lot of us are not the breakfast kinds and we have been listening to conventional wisdom that you must eat first thing in the morning to kick start your day. We get into a routine and follow it for a while only to come back to where we were in the beginning. For long, experts have been endorsing the benefits of eating frequently which is technically correct, however, this new protocol has got everyone’s attention. And, it is backed by science. The peer reviewed article at the end of the page validates my claim.
We are talking about Intermittent Fasting ladies and gentlemen. What exactly is it? Let’s get into it.
This is an eating pattern where you limit your calorie intake by fasting on certain days of the week, or simply by fasting for a few hours in a day reducing the eating hours and total calories. Let’s expand on it.
Intermittent fasting is a diet protocol which is the opposite of conventional eating where meal frequency is of prime importance. You can stop worrying about eating every few hours and still lose weight and maintain muscle mass. How does it work? Well, when we don’t eat for let say more than 6-8 hours, our body gets into fasting and starts to tap into stored energy, glucose and fat, thus its capacity to burn that stubborn fat is higher vs when you eat every few hours. Insulin plays a vital role here. You see, every time we eat, insulin responds to food and gets a signal to open the cells to absorb the food. Now this is when fat burning stops as insulin needs to carry the nutrients to your cells and process the food. So, your body uses up all the energy to process what you have eaten. In case of fasting its different. The body will start tapping into stored energy (glucose & fat) as it does not have an alternative when deprived of food. It’s a natural transition. Fat loss is inevitable when you fast. Now, do we lose muscle? Not a chance. How? Well, first the body will catabolize or break stored energy, which is glucose and fat and after using all that energy it will break muscle tissue, which is usually around 72 hours. Now the important question. Does this impact negatively on your metabolism? Again, lets understand this. Metabolism refers to the process of breaking down what you eat and converting it into energy. When you feed your body every few hours it certainly does what explained above, however, a lot of it depends on your body composition. How healthy or unhealthy you are. If you are an overweight individual, your metabolism will be slower as you are carrying significant amount of fat so eating frequently will not change the game for you. Some research has shown that short term fasts boost metabolism. This increase is due to the rise in the hormone norepinephrine, which promotes fat burning. Now, when you fast long term and restrict your calories too much, it certainly will affect your metabolism negatively. However, that’s not what we will practice. Listed under are popular methods of intermittent fasting. My video explains about the 16/8 method which is for all of us. Make sure you watch it and feel free to come back in case of questions.
- The 16/8 method
- The 5:2 method
- 24-hour fast once or twice a week
- The Warrior Diet
The benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
- Fasting has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by regulating insulin levels.
- It helps to lose weight and has a positive impact on body composition.
- It has shown to improve brain health by preserving learning and improve memory function.(cell re-generation)
- It helps to boost the human growth hormone as much as 5 times.
- It gives the digestive system a break which otherwise works overtime when you eat frequently.
- Eat clean as often as possible irrespective of what Intermittent diet protocol you follow. You can’t be junking your way and expect to lose fat.
- Women may experience minor hormonal disturbances or menstrual disturbance, however, that can happen in any calorie restriction diet. The idea is to get sufficient amount of protein, fats & carbohydrates and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the eating window.
- Don’t fast if you’re expecting or going the family way. It could be counterproductive to insulin sensitivity and affect fertility.
- You can drink liquids which don’t have any calories like black coffee, green tea, apple cider vinegar etc. during your fast.
- In case you train mornings in a fasted state, don’t worry, the carbohydrates and fats from your last meal will fuel you through your workout. Your body stores glycogen in the muscles which helps to get the energy during your workout.
- Make sure you keep your workouts at the start of your eating window or in-between. Which means if you train in a fasted state, break your fast post your workout and start your eating window.
- This protocol may not be the best if you’re looking to pack muscles and get big. Although it does boost the human growth hormone by a great degree, however,the body requires a constant supply of amino acids when we are looking to build muscle and get big which is only fulfilled when you eat frequently. Again, it depends on your goal.
This one is as real as it can get. You must try intermittent fasting to see the benefits for yourself. When done correctly, fat loss is inevitable. Watch the video above to learn on the 16/8 method. The one below speaks about the food you should be eating on intemittent fasting for best results.
So, the next time people tell you to eat breakfast and harp on its benefits, just tell them your breakfast starts at lunch!
We lift; therefore we are!