Intermittent Fasting: The Dos and Donts to help with a Titan Physique
In today's fast paced world, it is easy to get lost in the fad diets. We consume enormous amounts of digital content every single second that makes it hard for us to contemplate what is right and what is a fad. The aim of this article is to help you understand how you can implement one of the easiest lifestyle changes to reach your body goals. This lifestyle change is called Intermittent Fasting (IF).
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike other diets or lifestyle changes, intermittent fasting does not require changing your diet, buying new ingredients from the grocery store, buying new gym clothes (although you can if you want to :D ). So, what is it?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet! It is simply changing the timings of when you eat your food. Intermittent fasting is a change in your lifestyle where you consume food during a 8 hour feeding window and fast for a 16 hour window. What is a feeding and fasting window will be explained a little later.
Why should you do Intermittent Fasting and what are the benefits?
If your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, then intermittent fasting is the simplest way to do it. When you consume breakfast, lunch and dinner you end up releasing cortisol which is a fat storing hormone. This makes it incredibly difficult to lose fat in the areas which we want to the most (love handles) and attain your wash board abs.
This lifestyle change is easy to implement and to implement in the long term unlike other diets. It improves cognitive and processing abilities which allow you to get the most out of your busy days. The big spikes of lethargy are completely avoided.
What is the Fasting and Feeding Window?
During the fasting window, one cannot consume any food. You can consume liquids which have no calories such as black coffee without milk and without sugar, various tea without milk and without sugar, water and any other liquids which have no sugar or sweeteners. Please be aware that powders and drinks with zero calories such as BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids), Coke Zero or any sweetener-based drinks, will break your fast. Be careful of multivitamins or fish oils or other supplements as well. These generally have a small number of calories which can break your fast. The fasting window is generally for a minimum of 16 hours.
The feeding window is the time during which you can consume your calories. During this window you can consume your regular food (avoid junk not for IF but for your metabolism in long run) and can break up the window according to your preference. The feeding window is generally 8 hours.
What are some of the popular schedules that people follow?
Intermittent fasting is quite flexible when it comes to choosing your fasting and feeding windows. Some of them most common schedules are as follows:
- Skipping breakfast: This is one of the easier ones and the most popular one for business professionals. This allows the feeding window from 12 pm to 8 pm and the fasting window during the rest of the time. I would recommend adding in a workout in the morning as well in order to increase your fat burning and keep up your metabolism. Refrain from using BCAA’s or protein shakes if you are following this. You can consume your protein once you break your fast.
- Skipping dinner: It is hard to skip dinner for a few people; however, this is effective as you can feed your body with protein right after your workout as compared to having to wait for your feeding window in the previous schedule.
- Overnight Fasting: The idea behind this is to give a longer gap of fasting window so that fat burning is more vigorous. In this schedule you eat your last meal at 8 pm at night and then have your next meal at 8pm the next day. Then you have a regular feeding window the following day and go back to fasting for 24 hours. 24 hour fasts strengthens your body and immune system.
What are some the common questions that we need to tackle?
- Do I need to fast for 16 hours minimum?
- It is generally recommended to fast for this amount of time because it takes a minimum of 4 hours to digest your food and 12 hours start burning your fat
- How do I break my fast?
- Post your 16-hour window of fasting, it is recommended to break your fast via consumption of protein & carbs or protein & fats. This is because when you consume carbs & fats together the cells are open which will allow for fat to be deposited and can harm the effects of your fat loss.
- Do I need to fast every day?
- It is not required to fast every day. You can fast as per your convenience and lifestyle choices.
- Can I fast for more than 16 hours?
- Yes, there are a few studies that have shown that fasting for periods longer than 16 hours once a month such as 24 hours or even 48 hours can help in rapid fat loss without any side effects. However, post 48 hours, the benefits plateau and hence is not recommended. Some people recommend fasting for 18 or 20 hours and reduce their feeding window to 4 hours. However, this is all based on personal preferences and mindset. We would recommend sticking to what works for you.
- What do I eat during my feeding window?
- Generally, we recommend doing a low-carb high-protein diet or a keto diet during the feeding window. Do not eat whatever you want or refrain from junk food. It is common to eat whatever comes in your hand as soon as you break your fast. Hence you will have to plan your meals beforehand if you want to stick to your diet.
- Is intermittent fasting recommended for women?
- There are studies which have shown women have great results using intermittent fasting. However, it is not recommended for women who are in the pre-natal stage or who suffer with other dietary ailments.
There are several advocates who talk about the immense benefits that they have gained using intermittent fasting. Some of them include our favourite mentor and guide Mr. Robin S Sharma.
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