The Rise in Popularity of Intermittent Fasting
If you’re looking to lose body fat, the one principle that underpins every diet is the adherence to a calorie deficit.
It doesn’t matter if your method of fat loss is calorie tracking or weight watchers…the one thing that underpins all diets is the requirement to eat less than the body needs to maintain its current weight.
In this blog, we want to talk to you about the rise in popularity of intermittent fasting and hopefully by the end of it you’ll be in a position to decide if it’s something you want to try for yourself.
So intermittent fasting or IF is a series of regular short term fasts over a period of time.
So, what are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
For starters, studies have shown that fasting results in a decline in insulin levels. What this means is that when there’s a decline in insulin, the body then looks at your stored body fat as a method for fuel.
Secondly, IF helps to reduce fat. The fasting approach leads to the consumption of fewer but much larger meals during the allotted eating periods. Therefore fewer calories are consumed throughout the day, meaning a positive energy balance for weight loss.
Now, there are a number of different ways of intermittent fasting and there’s also varying rules on timing and what you can and can’t eat during your ‘feeding’ window.
The most popular method of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method. This is where you fast for 16 hours and then feed for 8 hours. So, once you’ve eaten the last meal of the day the clock starts ticking on your period of fast. That 16 hour period then ends at the point you eat your next meal.
So on face value, not eating for 16 hours might sound to some people like a hell not worth contemplating. But when you think about it…it’s not actually too bad.
If you were to eat your last meal at 8pm all you would need to do would be skip breakfast and start eating at 12pm. You’d then hit your 8 hour period of eating which would end again at 8pm allowing you to then repeat the cycle. But for most of that cycle you’re gonna be asleep so the process might not be as bad as you first thought.
And what’s important to remember as well is that during the period of fasting, it’s not a case of ‘nil by mouth’. You can drink water, sugar free drinks, and black coffee. As well as chewing on sugar free gum which is also a great way of combating that feeling of hunger.
If the 16/8 method sounds appealing to you then there are some things that are important to remember, particularly surrounding body composition…so it’s still important to look after those macros.
A few general pointers for the 16/8 method of IF include…
Maintaining a high protein diet – this is gonna help build and preserve lean muscle
Consume your largest meal of the day after your workout. This should be 30-50% of your daily calories and in the region of 50-100g of protein.
Eat some form of slow digesting protein in the last meal of the day.
Our personal thoughts on intermittent fasting are the same as it is for meal timing in general…it’s not the most important aspect of your diet to get right. Having said that, if a meal timing strategy works for you and your lifestyle then that’s okay.
But, adherence to your training and nutrition programme is one of the biggest keys to success. When you nail that you’re on to a winner.
If you are going down the intermittent fasting route remember these top tips…
Base your food sources on whole foods. The quality of food that you’re eating is still very important so try and avoid eating too much junk.
Calories matter! Like we said at the start, energy balance is key to any diet. When you’re in your feeding window try to eat normally and don’t just treat it as a complete blow out each and every day.
Be consistent. Now, this is universal for most things. If you want to see results, you’re going to have to stick with it. Don’t expect ground breaking changes in 2 weeks.
Patience. This goes hand in hand with consistency. You need to allow your body time to adjust to the fasting approach. So make sure that you allow enough time for results to show before abandoning it!
Training – Don’t be tempted to stop the resistance training as this is still important for fat loss and muscle growth…so keep on grinding at the gym.
With intermittent fasting it’s not a recommended method of fat loss if you have a medical condition. Or if you’re diabetic, underweight, currently pregnant or if you suffer from low blood pressure.
If you like the idea of skipping breakfast and eating infrequent larger meals then perhaps IF could be something for you to try to see if it works.
If, however, you don’t like the sound of fasting for long periods of day…and we are with you on that one…then intermittent fasting probably isn’t going to be the one for you.
And although there are indications that intermittent fasting has some health benefits, you can still achieve fat loss and great physique using a more standard calorie controlled diet.
Our final words of advice on this topic is this…when it comes to dieting there are no miracle solutions out there. In our experience, the combination of hard work and the right guidance is the most effective way of getting great results.
‘You can’t out train a bad diet.’
As well as training packages, we also have an in-house nutritionist who can offer you nutritional support, education and personalised nutrition plans.
Established in 2016, the MHR coaches have over 15 years of combined experience in the world of personal training and professional sport.
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