Diet and Training Coach Extraordinaire
I am sure you have seen a lot of diet approaches out there from Adkins, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, South Beach, Dukan and the list goes on. So let me be clear: at Uprise Nutrition, our entire nutrition panel & staff unanimously believes in some simple life changes such as eating whole natural foods, monitoring total daily caloric intake, energy timing and yes, a well rounded macro-nutrient profile. Our reasoning is that this is not a "diet", it's the proper way to eat. ALL other fad diets work in one way or another like a sliding scale to mimic the successes of this very mantra.
So you are probably wondering at this point: why would we write an article about intermittent fasting? Well, for starters it can be a very powerful short-term weapon for many. If you are a good candidate and do it correctly, it can work and work well. Let's not forget, the above guidelines should still apply for optimal success.
In this article we are going to provide a couple hotlinks for you to jump to the section of main curiosity & concern surrounding intermittent fasting. Because, we know that everyone is looking for a quick read. When you are finished here it is our belief you will have all of the basic information you need to make an informed decision. Like all diets, be sure you consult with your primary healthcare provider before attempting.
Before you begin, remember to...
Weigh In Every Day
Same outfit, same scale, same time
Drink A Ton of Water
The water that's clear with no added flavors or bubbles, ya know - old school
Monitor Health & Energy
Keep an eye on yourself, a major drop in energy means you're doing it wrong
How Intermittent Fasting Works
To understand the approach of how, you first must understand the WHY. Fat is mainly long-term energy storage and is released when your body reaches a mode where energy expenditure is slow and steady (no, you're not burning that much fat while jogging). Think walking type exercise or general day to day meandering.
Your bodies first line of defense is glycogen, or the carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver. Once this is depleted, your body will begin looking at other energy storage areas. By fasting, you are forcing the hand of your body to look to release Fat storage.
What we are trying to accomplish here is to create predictable yet longer stints for your body to go without any readily available energy to use, except that of Fat storage. These "fasts" also force you to limit your food intake. No more late night snacking, because you're bored and don't want to go to bed yet.
This in essence is what a properly performed caloric deficit is, but here we are speeding along the circumstances. The caveat is you will need to decide if you have the body type in which this safe or even going to be effective.
Deciding If Intermittent Fasting Is Right For Me
Let's first start with a proviso: We are not doctor's nor do we have access to your blood work on file. We cannot definitively say, "You're a match for this diet approach." What we can do is invite you to explore this yourself. Most individuals fall into a like version of the 3 main body type categories. Endomorph, Ectomorph, and Mesmorph .
Of course this image doesn't tell the full story as many false Ectomorphs can carry nearly the same body fat percentages as the meso or endomorph. These two types are referred to as "Ecto-Endo", and "Endo-Meso". Never the less, if you tend to carry body fat and are not participating in any other diet program, you are potentially a candidate for an intermittent fasting kick start. Conversely, if you have low body fat and/or high muscle, we don't suggest you lead with this approach.
We think that it's worth adding the cleansing of all bad habits, for a good 3 weeks, before attempting this diet as to provide a bit of a ramp. Cut out all the junk food, added sugars, fried foods, processed foods, excessive carbs and alcohol. Once you have stripped your body of all of this, you are ready to move on.
Remember the main goal here, losing body fat. Not just weight. Although the scale is your ally here, we want to be careful that you aren't just reducing overall body weight. This can sound like a nightmare to most since this typically implies you are smaller, but still the the same proportions of fat to muscle.
Losing Weight, But Still Look The Same
Can you think of anything more terrifying? Maybe killer clowns or a live in mother-in-law, but it's up there with those.
Your body has 3 major materials of weight. Water, muscle, and fat. The first part of this process is reducing the water weight. That's natural. Losing muscle is a totally different endeavor. This usually indicates the wrong feeding schedule, improper
nutrition, or something else.
For many, the proper interval is from Lunch to Dinner. A full 16 hours of fasting with a few balanced meals. For other's it may be breakfast to late evening with a large meal after a morning workout and a small meal before bed. I can't stress enough how important these meals are as in many cases it's your only window to eat right for a long period of time. Losing weight but looking the same after 4+ weeks means something is wrong. You are burning too much muscle instead of fat and something needs to change.
For many individuals, keeping all hard earned muscle is on a very high-priority. I can tell you that intermittent fasting may not be your weapon of choice especially longer than 3-4 weeks. You will want to really focus on antagonistic habits (drinking, sugars, junk food, etc) first and move swiftly into a more macro based meal plan. Fasting would be a flash in the pan, but very effective if thought of in this way.
If you are set on trying this, lets first focus on 2 parts of your day. The part of your day where you're least active and the part of your day you workout. Your fasting should fall under a period of time where you are not active for more than 8-10 hours (ideally added to your sleep schedule). Your feeding window should be surrounding your workout timing. Starting with an immediate post-workout should be met with a recovery supplement and a high-quality protein supplement. The idea here is your body will want to go catabolic quickly, so let's stop that process and feed those muscles on the spot. Then within an hour, lets eat a solid balanced meal. This should help limit your muscle losses during the fasting process, but the results can be a bit addictive. We want you to beware that there are some adverse long-term affects that should be mentioned if you are 12 weeks in and still going.
For clarity, if you decide to undertake an intermittent fasting diet, you should greatly limit your workout volume and frequency. Trying to have a killer workout while essentially starving yourself for a large portion of each day are counter-productive. You cannot eat a low amount of calories and hope to have long intense workouts. Pick one or the other and focus on it!
Intermittent fasting can expose you to some unwanted ramifications that are due to lapsed nutrition. Some of the observed side affects can easily be avoided and others are unfortunate realities to depriving yourself of any sustenance for long periods of time.
Some nearly immediate side affects are hunger, dehydration, irritability, brain fog, fatigue, heat-burn, and even IBS due to irregular or change in eating habits.
Longer term affects that are indirectly related to an absence of proper nutrition can be immune deficiency, injury, light-headed, early fatigue, fainting, over-heating, and more.
Nutrition Above All
Don't forget that proper nutrition, sleep, and stress management will wildly help your training. This process is cyclical as your training will help the other 3. Keep steady routine, your mind light, and enjoy the process!
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