It’s a buzz word at the minute and I am getting more and more questions on the topic. So in true #SimpleStrength fashion (yup just started that hashtag then) lets explain things… simply.
“If you’ve ever woken up late for work/school/uni and skipped breakfast and haven’t eaten anything till lunch time. You’ve intermittently fasted. Congratulations!”
Fasting is simply the process of not eating food.
The word ‘breakfast’ literally means to ‘break’ our ‘fast’.
And going with the example of being late for work and skipping breakfast, do you notice that those first couple of hours you’re actually quite alert? Like you think to yourself – “I haven’t eaten breakfast, but I am more awake and able to concentrate!”. That’s because intermittent fasting has been shown to improve cognitive function in the morning. Aka your brain works well whilst fasting.
There are other health benefits that intermittent fasting can produce, one of my favourites being reducing inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process the body goes through in response to certain stimuli. Exercise or lifting weights creates an inflammatory response within our muscles, from which we adapt and grow #Gainz. This inflammatory response is good in mild doses, but there can be ‘too’ much inflammation (generally caused by too much training or not enough sleep or not enough food) – this can cause injury or increase recovery time. Where intermittent fasting is beneficial is in limiting inflammation caused by injury or diet.
Hunger levels can be controlled through intermittent fasting. From personal experience and clients in the past – the first couple days are a little tough but after day 3 onwards you’re good.
And for all of you out there who are panicking about what intermittent fasting does to your metabolism and how you’re not ‘firing up your metabolism’. Chill. There is no evidence that intermittent fasting has a negative impact on basal metabolic rate (BMR). If anything, your metabolic function is improved and becomes more efficient through controlling your eating patterns.
You can drink water during intermittent fasting. Other liquids you can drink include black coffee and tea.
Intermittent fasting is quite simple. Wake up and don’t eat anything. You can drink water, black coffee and/or tea. You can also have artificial sweeteners such as Stevia, Equal or Sweet’N’Low. These sweeteners contain zero calories and all evidence so far reports no impact on fasting when consuming artificial sweeteners.
Push back your first meal to around lunchtime (specifics don’t matter) and when you break your fast I suggest you have something relatively ‘light’. Don’t consume the entire work fridge even though your hunger levels might say otherwise. Have a lunch that is high in protein and vegetables with a little bit of complex carbs (rice, whole meal bread etc.). Too large of a meal will cause you to feel tired and lethargic (#foodcoma). Save the large meal for when you get home and have dinner.
Now for people who practice I.F often – usually I see them eat within a ‘window’. This might be from between 1-7pm or 2-8pm or even 11-5pm. What this means is that this is the time frame where they will consume their meals. The science around this is a little ‘eh’ but the idea is that by confining yourself to an eating window you subconsciously consume less calories and as such lose weight.
Example: If you wake up and eat breakfast at 7am and have your last meal at 7pm – that’s 12 hours to eat all your food. Most of us safely do that, if anything – eat slightly more. Considering it takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes to digest food. You could be eating every 2 hours #BroDiet. But if you restrict yourself to eating within a 6 hour window – well now you have half the time to eat the same amount of calories (for example sake lets say 2500 calories). If you break your fast at 1 or 2pm. Your hunger levels are contained. You don’t need to eat for another 2 hours. Suddenly its 4pm. You have a small snack and now its 5pm. You’re on the way home from work and upon coming home its 6pm and you have an hour to eat what might be 1600-1700 calories. If you’re eating lean meat, fish, veggies and/or fruit be surprised as 1600-1700 calories worth of whole food is a LOT. Afterwards you’ll feel satisfied, satiated and ready to sleep early, helping you recover and grow.
Now – if you’re someone who likes to exercise in the morning, specially lifting weights – I wouldn’t recommend IF. The body goes through a little tug-of-war when lifting weights fasted. Usually this is fine if you consume food after a workout but if you’re not eating for 4 or 5 more hours. It’s a little tough.
If you’re someone who has midday crashes or afternoon cravings for sweets and can’t control hunger levels. Intermittent fasting is for you.
If you start work early and find it difficult to prepare breakfast – I.F is for you.
If you work out in the afternoon/evening and want to lose weight – I.F is for you.
In our ‘Zero To Hero’ Program we have Intermittent Fasting nutrition plans available for our members. If you would like to find out more click here.
Alrighty – I hope this article has helped shed some light on what Intermittent Fasting is all about.
Have any further questions? Email me.