A quick informational blog to introduce you to intermittent fasting and the benefits it offers.
The best way to get lean and gain muscle….
I’ve been IF (intermittent fasting) for years! I am so used to it now, I never eat breakfast even when I take breaks from ‘real’ IF fasting. (‘Real IF’ would be not eating until 4 pm (Fat/Protein only), working out at 5 pm and then consuming Low Fat/ High Carb/ Protein immediately after, and switching to High Carb and Protein for the remainder of the night. For women, I suggest a shorter feeding window, 4 to 5 hours, and for men 6 to 8 hours). The IF fasting I tend to do when I am not trying to get super lean is I will start eating at 12 or 1 pm and stop at 8 pm (8 hour feeding window).
Intermittent fasting, in simple terms, is not eating upon waking for at least 8 to 10 hours. If you get a full 8 hours of sleep, thats 16 to 18 hours of allowing your body to take a break from digesting foods. Then, you give yourself a feeding window, which lasts from 4 to 8 hours.
By allowing your body to take a break from digesting foods, it can work on other things like regenerating new skin cells and healing your organs instead of constantly working to digest the 6 meals your eating everyday.
IF fasting is a GREAT tool for losing weight AND gaining muscle at the same time. This is what initially turned me on to IF fasting. By not breaking your fast first thing in the morning, your HGH (human growth hormone) stays spiked and you burn much more fat.
Your body always prefers to run off of carbohydrates, biologically we are programmed that way. By not giving your body carbohydrates first thing in the morning, it will become depleted of its carbohydrate storages as time moves on and revert to using fat as fuel. This is why when you do break your fast, it is smart to break it with a fat so the fat burning process continues.
Then, by working out after your M1 (high fat, protein) your body will use the fat to fuel you through your workout (extra fat burning). After your workout, your muscle cells are now completely depleted of all carbohydrate storages, so, when you eat M2 (high carb, protein) those carbohydrates feed your depleted muscle cells instead of your fat cells = muscle growth.
Meal Sample: (keep in mind, I am vegan)
Water all day
Optional: black coffee, or green tea all day
M1 – Avocado with chia seeds, sesame seeds and nuts
M2 – Rice, beans, quinoa, or pasta with vegetables (high carb with a high protein)
M3 – Fruit (high carb meal) or repeat of above meal
M4 – (if hungry) Oatmeal, cereal, or a clean high carbohydrate or low fat protein shake
After 10 days of doing this, your body will convert over to using fat as its main source of fuel, rather than carbohydrates. Essentially, you are tricking your body.
Another reason I also love IF fasting is it teaches you discipline and makes you a more humble, aware person. We (as westerners) have gotten into a routine that once we wake up we stuff our faces. Then, two hours later, without even thinking, we eat again. We continue this process all day until we go to bed. There are many problems with this, but the one I would like to address is that by doing this we are no longer listening to what our body is telling us.
Your body will tell you when it needs carbohydrates, fats, and proteins if you just learn how to listen to certain signals. If you just feed your body aimlessly without giving it much thought, you never give yourself a chance to learn your body.
It also makes you more aware of how lucky you are. Anytime you’re hungry, you have the availability to feed yourself, when there are millions of people around the world who go days without food. You are not starving. You just need to work on your discipline.
- Has positive effects on insulin levels (helps with muscle growth)
- Puts your body in a fat burning mode 24/7
- Less bloating
- Forces you to drink more water
- Allows you to become more self aware and learn your body
- Gives your digestive system a break
- Humbles you, puts you in a better state of mind
- Muscle growth
- Cleaner energy in the morning
Effects on hormones:
I would like to suggest for women to get rid of the birth control! If you really want to become in touch with yourself and have a fully balanced body, I strongly suggest not ingesting hormones through a pill. (I am not a doctor and this is just my opinion). I have been off birth control for 4 years and eating in align with my hormones has changed my life.
–Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone will increase tremendously. Higher levels of this hormone promote fat burning and muscle gain, and have many other benefits.
–Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
Intermittent fasting has also been proven to target visceral fat, specifically (belly fat), and increased your metabolic rate.