7 tips to help you get started with Intermittent Fasting, Today.
I’ve been talking about nutrition a lot lately, both online and in-person.
People ask me these questions all the time: What’s the best diet? What’s the best macro split for weight loss/muscle gain? What are the best times to eat? What are your favorite cheats? The questions could go on forever.
This week I really want to focus on a lifestyle I’ve used on and off for years – Intermittent Fasting (IF).
I first heard about IF years ago and my first thought was “I could never NOT eat and I could never do that. How crazy?!?”
Little did I know that within a few months I’d have adopted this style of eating and within the year, I’d become the leanest and strongest I’d ever been.
While on IF, I became the leanest and strongest in my life.
I’ve written about IF on here before including articles on Intermittent Fasting For the Female Athlete, The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting, How to Increase your energy with Intermittent Fasting, just to list a few. For more in-depth reading on IF, please PLEASE read these articles before starting the protocol.
To give you a general breakdown of what it is, with IF, you eat for a certain amount of time and then fast for the rest. For men, the norm is 16 hours of fasting with 8 hours of feeding, for women, 14 hours of fasting with 10 hours of feeding. This ratio of fasting to eating for women seems to help me with my hormone regulation. For women with hormone problems, and for everyone, consult with a registered nutritionist before starting this protocol.
Through the act of eating then fasting, without getting into the entire science of it (see article links above!) you get the body to burn and use all the available food and then the metabolism targets fat to use as energy. Thus, you have targeted fat loss
I believe that IF is the single handedly easiest way to target fat loss in clients. Having done IF for years, I also know the process isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s an option that’s out there and available to those who are interested.
The types of food you eat while on IF are important. The types of foods I recommend my clients eat on ANY lifestyle are: WHOLE, UNPROCESSED FOODS. Have a protein shake when you need, but generally speaking, whole foods are best.
7 Considerations on starting Intermittent Fasting.
- During your eating window, it’s important to break your fast with meat (protein), veggies and fruits. I like to workout fasted but if you’re going to break your fast before a workout, throw good carbs into the first meal. Training is normally best when done 3 hours post meal, you’ll then also eat a larger meal after your workout is complete and it’ll include even more complex carbs. My favorite thing about IF is that I can eat dessert pretty much all the time.
- I like drinking 2-3 green smoothies a day when I’m fasting. Greens are liquid energy and when I first started IF, I noticed energy drops (very common and normal when fasting, think about that for a second and it makes clear sense).
- Generally speaking, you’ll eat LESS calories on days you don’t work out. Because you’ll need less calories due to activity levels. Fiber veggies and fruits should take the preference over other carbs on these days. The first meal of the day should be the largest meal – it should give you about 40% of your calories for the day, and should be protein heavy.
- You do have to keep track, generally, of your macros when you’re on IF. Ensuring you feed the body adequate protein, carbs, and fat is essential to preserving muscle and promoting growth (protein synthesis uses protein), carbs ensure the body has the energy it needs to perform the workouts and day to day life, where as fats are another common form of energy and perform vital services to our organs and bodily functions.
- The last meal of the day should include some slow digesting protein – an egg source, casein protein, cottage cheese, yogurt. This keeps you fuller longer during the fast.
- You’ll be a bit uncomfortable when you start expanding your fasting window, which is how I recommend people slowly adapt to the IF lifestyle. For example, say you normally eat breakfast every day at 10. When you’ve decided to start IF, the goal would be to slowly push back the first meal of your day, so for a few days try 10:30, then 11, then 11:30, etc.
- Coffee. I can’t talk about IF without talking about coffee. Coffee kills some of the hunger pains you’re likely to experience at the start of the IF journey.
Final Words on IF
Intermittent Fasting IS NOT for everyone. But this is my surest approach to long term fat loss in myself and in my clients.
Here’s a list of things about IF that support my lifestyle and the things I like
- I don’t have to worry about when I’m eating next. I know the time I’m going to break my fast. I know how much I’ll eat in my eating window. It takes the “prep” out of having to put together 5 small meals a day and find the time and location to eat them. IF is a great life hack – it’ll simplify your daily meal prep times and clean up and free up your mind and energy for other things!
- It keeps me lean as fuck. Seriously, without a doubt, I’ve been the shredded of my life while adhering to the IF lifestyle. Being shredded isn’t always my biggest goal, but I do enjoy the side perk.
- I can drink wine, eat chocolate, dessert, etc, pretty much whenever I want. Since IF gets me into a sustained fat burning zone, I can really experiment with treats, and for me, that’s a win – win
- I no longer need the time of day to regulate my food choices. Just because I skip the traditional time people eat breakfast, doesn’t mean I don’t eat a shit-ton of breakfast food. I regularly eat breakfast type meals for dinner. And it’s great.
- The health benefits, some of which are listed below, most of them are disputed because controlled food studies are hard to test in a lab. But generally speaking, you can really boost your health and positively impact your levels on IF. And by giving the body REST from digesting food ALL THE TIME, you can help the body rid itself of inflammation and free radicals.