Not gonna lie, kids. I’m not really in the mood for this. Well, I’m not really in the mood for anything but sitting here and watching “Rome”. But, I’m hoping as I get writing it will help cheer me up a little. So, shall we get started?
Intermittent Fasting: What is it?
Intermittent fasting is nothing more than the practice of NOT eating for a set period of time, either daily or once weekly. Now, if you’re that anal about reading every post I have ever written, not only do I want to send you a free t-shirt, but you will see that I used to be in the “you MUST eat 6 meals a day, and it MUST be all ‘clean’ ” camp. Well, here’s the thing: more questions led to more research which led to more personal experiences. So, I changed my mind….drastically. More on that in a bit.
2 Methods of Intermittent Fasting
The two most well known methods are one 24-hour fast a week, made popular by Brad Pilon’s “Eat Stop Eat”; and daily 16-hour fasts made popular by Martin Berkhan.
Both methods really ARE as easy as they sound. In fact, so easy a caveman could do it. Oh wait, that’s ‘kind of’ what they’re both based off of. Any-Hways, for both methods, during the hours you can’t eat, you can’t have any calories at all, including liquids. That means you can drink water, coffe, or tea. I’ve been asked about zero calorie “sports drinks”, and I don’t think they’re a good idea. They could trick your body into thinking that it’s getting carbs, but when you really aren’t getting them, it sends a signal to your brain to keep craving carbs. I don’t know; it’s a theory, and if you gamble and lose, you could end up sabotaging a day’s worth of effort.
As stated, for Eat Stop Eat, you can’t ingest any calories for 24 consecutive hours. Most people see results doing it just once per week as long as they stick with it. If you are metabolicly inflexible, you can either increase your physical activity or try doing two 24-hour fasts in one week. Easy peasy, simple pimple.
As stated, for Martin Berkhan’s daily fasts, you simply pick 16 consecutive hours in which you don’t ingest any calories. Or, if you want to look at it a different way, you only have an 8 hour window to eat all of your calories for the entire day. This window is also known as “the feeding window”. Well, I think it is. I might have just made it up. Maybe not though. I might have called it “feeding time” or something that sounds a little more juvenile.
Berkhan’s method is also very closely related to the popular “Warrior Diet“. (Or maybe the Warrior Diet is closely related to Berkhan. I don’t know which one came first, nor do I care.)
Irregardless, whichever you choose to follow, the underlying biological/physiological responses are very similar.
Which Method is Right for You?
That can only be answered by you. Do you have a lifestyle that allows you to eat 6 times a day? Do you enjoy preparing meals and eating 6 times per day? Do you actually like eating clean most of the time? Certainly you don’t *have* to eat like that in order to pick Eat Stop Eat, but if you’re already eating that way, it might be the easiest transition for you.
On the flip side, maybe you’re a construction worker and can’t bring 5 meals with you or just don’t have time to eat 5 meals. Maybe you just naturally dislike eating breakfast. Maybe you like high calorie (absolutely delicious) comfort food. In that case, the daily 16 hour fasts would be PERFECT for you.
Remember, no matter which method you choose, if you want to lose weight, you must eat FEWER calories than you burn. If you want to gain weight, you must eat MORE calories than you burn.
My Experiences with Intermittent Fasting
I’m happy to say that I’ve had great experiences with both forms of intermittent fasting. When I started Eat Stop Eat, I dropped 10 pounds almost immediately without any loss of strength. Progress then slowed a little, but weekends filled with consecutive days of binge drinking probably didn’t help. I also got a little careless with my calories. But in all actuality, that should be even MORE of a reason to try it. I was able to maintain weightloss WHILE drinking like a sailor and eating like a pig. Pretty good, eh?
I’ve just recently started daily 16 hour fasts. Over the 4th of July weekend, I managed to gain 5 pounds. True story. Again, drinking like a sailor and TONS of sweet, delicious deliciousness. But in just a week, I’ve managed to lose 4 of those pounds. The great thing about it is that I have been eating just MASSIVE f*cking meals every night. Tonight I made tacos with 1.16 lb. of beef, FLOUR tortillas, PROCESSED cheese, and sour cream (as well as onions, olives, and lettuce). Not exactly what most fanatics would call “clean”. But you know what? I probably still didn’t hit my maintenance level of calories today. That means I’ll lose weight. Wicked!
So, as I like to torment my clean eating fanatical friends, if you could eat “unhealthy” meals, still lose weight, and still be healthy, wouldn’t you want to?
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.
Eating for only 8 hours out of the day seems like a bad idea. To me, it seems like it would lead to a.)overeating in that short period of time and b.)tricking your body into thinking that it really is being starved and that it should go into “hibernation” mode, slowing down your metabolism and storing every bit of everything that you put in your mouth. The “Eat Stop Eat” method seems like the most sensible idea, considering you still have 6 normal days to keep your metabolism on track.
Pretty ironic that you posted this today. Last night after workout, I remembered you talking about this on live. I decided that I was going to email you and get some more thoughts on it and see if you had any more info or could tell me your results. I open my email this morning and viola!
I am going to attempt the 24hr once per week fast. Now as far as supplements are involved, I am assuming I will cut those out as well also? Multi vitamin, creatine, BCAA’s, protein? It makes sense that they would be cut also, but then again, how much hard can they do to the fast? My first thought’s would be I could begin my fast on Sunday night, after dinner. So Monday morning would I skip all the above supps? I workout late in the evening after dinner, so protein would not be an issue after workouts since the fast will have just ended.
Thoughts? Oh, and uh, yeah, I’d love for you to send me a free shirt. I’m an extra medium, or smedium. Whichever you prefer.
Thanks for the comment.
I would cut out the supplements on the fasting day even though they are zero calories. They all trigger different hormonal responses that wouldn’t be present otherwise (during a fast).
When I did 24 hour fasts, I did them from Sunday after lunch until Monday at lunch. Seemed to work the best so I like your hours. Of course, figuring out what’s best for you can only be determined by you.
Also, it sounds like you’re planning this on a regularly scheduled rest day. That’s perfectly fine, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do this during normal training days too. I have in the past and it wasn’t that bad.
Send me your address for the shirt. :serious
I wear t-shirts sometimes.
Sorry, your comment got delivered to the SPAM filter for some reason.
Anyways, check out the link to Martin Berkhan’s website. Spend an hour or so on there and tell me if you still think it’s a bad idea.
As for overeating, it’s possible. But trying to feed yourself 1,000 calories in one meal is a lofty goal. You should try it some time and let me know how it goes. (Fast food doesn’t count for this challenge, but is perfectly acceptable if that’s the way you want to go in your daily routine.)
I don’t know why you would wear a t-shirt at all with a rockin’ stache like that.
I think I do the 16 hr fasting and didn’t realize it. I consume the majority of my calories between 8 and 3 and 5pm is workout time, often I don’t feel hungry after working out but then always thought as the above commenter did that if I didn’t eat something I’d screw up my metabolism so I’d have like a bowl of cereal. I’ve steadily been losing weight these past two weeks doing that but I’m going to try and do the total 16 hr fast and not have anything between 3pm and 7am & see if I get the same results or better. Since I’ve increased my workouts and the intensity of them I think I may have to increase the amount of calories I’m taking in by just a bit, really don’t feel like passing out on the gym floor.
As always great info.
I like how my comment got filtered, but the t-shirt guy made it through, lol.
I wouldn’t increase your calories until your weightloss progress slows down or performance begins to decrease. As long as your performance is just as good, you’ll see even bigger numbers come off the scale.
My SPAM filter recognizes rockin’ stache’s as well. Maybe if you had a gravatar it’d let you through. :-p
So you’ve done both methods, right? Which method did you find most beneficial—both in nutrition and lifestyle? Why?
I think that 16-hour fasts would work best for me. I’ve tried 24-hour fasts and was completely unsuccessful. I get bored. I eat. True story.
Nutritionally, they should be the same. For me, it definitely came down to lifestyle. Fasting daily makes food prep so much easier. I don’t spend an hour or two in the evening planning out 4 meals during the day at work. I’m also a fat kid so I really enjoy eating a 1200 calories in one sitting. Lastly, once you really embrace the calories in/calories out concept, you can mix and match both methods depending on what’s going on in your life.
Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
Please let me know. Thanks
People are still using Myspace? What is your group?