Intermittent fasting has taken the world by storm. No longer is it the province of fitness freaks. No longer do you get weird looks because you skipped the break room donuts. Now you’ve got grandmothers trying it and doctors recommending it. It’s here, the benefits are legion, and you’re interested. But how should you do it? Are there different types of intermittent fasting? Are there different benefits associated with the various flavors of IF? Thinking about fasting, reading about fasting, and reciting the benefits of fasting are all pointless if you don’t know how to go about doing it. First, the most fundamental concept central to all the flavors of intermittent fasting is not eating. Skipping meals, skipping entire days of meals, letting yourself get a little hungry. There’s no getting around that. It will happen. let’s go over the different variations of fasting. I’ll give a quick rundown. Each involves not eating for a period of time, unsurprisingly. A couple other rules that apply to all the given methods: Sleeping hours (provided you don’t sleep-eat) count as fasting hours. Eat well regardless. While some fasting plans tout their adherents’ ability to eat crappy food and still lose weight, I’m not interested in fasting solely as a weight loss method. Keep your food Primal as possible. Okay, on to the variations. Stay on track, no matter where you are! Instantly download your Guide to Dining Out 12:12, 16:8, 18:6, or 20:4 Intermittent Fasting As the names suggest, these breakdowns of intermittent fasting involves fasting for either 12, 16, 18, or 20 hours and taking in all of your food for the day over the remaining window of hours. How to find out which fasting length is the the best one for you? There’s only one way. You have to experiment. You can start with a 12:12 intermittent fast, which comes with the benefits of intermittent fasting and is easy to do for most people. You stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime, and delay breakfast a couple of hours after waking. If that works well, extend your fasting period the next day, and repeat until you find the eating and fasting pattern that feels good. Lots of diets have added more detail to the intermittent fasting model, but bare-bones intermittent fasting is simply a shorter feeding period. If you’ve heard of Leangains, Martin Berkhan’s incredibly popular fasting protocol, you’ve heard of 16:8 intermittent fasting. How does it work? A daily 16 hour fast during which you eat nothing containing calories. Coffee, tea, and other non-caloric fluids are fine. Some people get away with a little cream in their drink. A daily 8 hour eating window. Three days of weight training, ideally performed at the tail end of the fasting period. To improve performance and muscle protein synthesis, you have the option of consuming 10 grams of branched chain amino acids 10 minutes before the workout. Always eat high protein. On training days, eat more carbs and less fat. On rest days, eat … Continue reading “How to Intermittent Fast and Which Type of Fasting Is Right For You”
At this point, intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept, nor is it a difficult one. You take in all of your calories for the day within a limited window of time, and the rest of the day, you stick with water, maybe a cup of coffee, or tea in the morning if you feel so inclined. The idea is that giving your body a period of time “off” from digesting food allows your cells to heal and renew in other ways.
A Practice Born Because Calorie Restriction is Unpleasant
Intermittent fasting became popular because calorie restriction was found to contribute to healthy aging. A few mouse and worm studies seem to show that drastic reductions in food intake over a long period of time could prolong your life.
When describing someone that has successfully made the transition to a Primal or Keto way of eating I often refer to them as “fat-adapted” or as “fat-burning beasts”. But what exactly does it mean to be fat-adapted? How can you tell if you’re fat-adapted or still a sugar-burner?
As I’ve mentioned before, fat-adaptation is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human animal. It’s nothing special. It’s just how we’re meant to fuel ourselves. That’s actually why we have all this fat on our bodies – turns out it’s a pretty reliable source of energy.
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of becoming fat adapted, or keto adapted, and why it works with your biology.
A lot of people are having a hard time staying motivated to work out while fitness centers and studios are closed. Perhaps you enjoy the social aspect of workout classes or you have a standing appointment to meet your lifting buddy at the gym. Maybe you lost access to your favorite activities as a result of temporary Crossfit box or pool closures. Or, you finally found a coach or trainer you connect with, and regulations mean sessions are on hold.
It’s understandable. Many people recognize that intrinsic motivation (self-motivation) to exercise isn’t going to cut it, so they’ve set up their fitness life around extrinsic motivational (motivation from outside sources) factors – friends, friendly competition, stellar coaching, whatever have you.
Off the bat, I should say that I’m actually a fan of eating less. I’m on record as saying that my goal is to figure out how few calories I can eat and still thrive. Still, eating less isn’t always the magic bullet people will hope it will be. There are many ways that eating less can go wrong.
For weight loss, the advice to “eat less, exercise more” often doesn’t work like it “should” on paper. The weight-loss diet industry thrives on repeat customers who struggle to lose weight and keep it off. Dutifully following this strategy has led many people down the road to frustration and dejection, as they blame themselves for their failure to successfully lose weight. This is despite their best efforts to eat less.
Even after publishing several books and hundreds of articles that draw upon the science of ketosis and low-carb living, I keep researching, thinking, revisiting, and discussing the underpinnings of ketosis. My writing partner, Brad Kearns, and I maintain a running dialogue on all things keto. The latest conversation revolved around two very common questions or “problems” that keep coming up in the ketogenic community: why am I getting low ketone readings?
It’s a fair question. Why do some people on a keto diet register high ketones while others eating the same way register low numbers?
I won’t offer definitive answers fit to etch into stone. I will offer my exploration of the research, some educated speculation, and actionable advice you can ruminate on. And by all means get back to me with your take on the questions and my explorations, please. Dialogue is essential to understanding.