INTERMITTENT FASTING 101
This is going to be an in-depth series covering everything you need to know about Intermittent Fasting so you can follow it without getting stuck or confused.
In order to kickstart this series you’re going to learn the three different types of Intermittent Fasting and how to get started with the one that that will suit you best.
The three different types of Intermittent Fasting are:
– One Meal A Day (OMAD)
– Whole Day Fasting
– Time Restricted Eating (TRE)
Now let’s learn about each one more in-depth
ONE MEAL A DAY (OMAD)
OMAD involves a 24 hour fasting period followed by a one how non-fasting period. The most popularised version of this is known as the warrior diet and was created by Ori Hofmekler.
The premise is that you would eat very little if any calories during the day and just eat one big meal.
You would eat this at, say, at around 6 pm and it will be just a large dinner.
For example, You might have three portions of lean protein, three to four fistfuls of vegetables, a large sweet potato for your carbohydrate source and a whole avocado for your healthy fats. You would drizzle over some olive oil over the top and also add a shake with your meal to ensure you’re eating enough. This could be a combination of a small handful of nuts, half a cup of oats, one cup of milk and a medium banana all blended together.
Eating just one meal a day can be very difficult, especially if you’ve never done fasting before. But if you have a big appetite (like me) then this can be a useful strategy to avoid overeating and to help restrict your calories.
I do OMAD once a week to give my digestion a rest for 24 hours, reset my hunger cues and just remind myself that I’m not going to die if I don’t eat for 24 hours.
This method is best suited for someone who has super-hectic days at work and just can’t fit any time to eat food into their day, someone who has a problem with overeating too much food or if you prefer, you can do it once a month to give your digestion a rest.
With this method, you follow various ratios on fasting to non-fasting days. If you’ve heard of the 5:2 diet which was popularised by Dr Michael Mosley, people eat freely for five days of the week and on the other two, consume 400 to 500 calories for women or 600 to 800 for men.
I’m going to share with you a slightly different approach in this guide that is tailored more towards a person who wants to combine fasting and lifting weights.
This approach to intermittent fasting is called The Deficit Day System and was created by one of my mentors, Tony Boutagy.
With the Deficit Day System, you eat very little for several days of the week and then on the other days you “eat normally”. On deficit days, you’re restricting your calories to about a third of what you would you usually eat.
The average male burns about 2,400 calories a day. This means that for the deficit days you would only be eating 800 calories a day and the majority of those calories would come from protein.
The reason you want most of these calories coming from protein is that you want to protect or even build lean muscle and you need protein in order to do that.
Your deficit days would fall on the days you train with weights because weight training is also protective of muscle. When you lift weights, you’re sending signals throughout your body to use protein and carbs more efficiently, so it goes to your muscles.
Typically, you would only eat two meals on these days. You will skip breakfast have lunch between 12 pm and 1 pm and then a dinner from 5 pm to 6 pm.
Keep your first meal small and light, and then have more calories around dinner time.
Lunch could be something as simple as two scoops of protein powder with water.
Then your dinner would be a big lean serving of protein (fillet of white fish, chicken breast, a piece of steak, etc.) a lot of leafy green vegetables and salads, and a small serving of starchy carbs (think sweet potato or some type of legumes). That’s basically all you would have for the day because you’re restricted to only 800 calories and when you find out how many calories those foods contain you will be very surprised.
To follow this program, pick two days during the week when you’re going to do weight training and make them deficit days.
In this example, we’ll pick Monday and Thursday. Having a day at the start of the week and one in the middle will mean you’re more likely to stick to it.
You’re less likely to go out for breakfast since it’s not a weekend and you’re not going to go out for dinner with mates since it’s not a Friday night. You also won’t really have any lunch commitments on a Monday.
Let’s take a closer look at those deficit days.
You wake up and train at 7 am and then you’re on your way to work by 8.30am.
During the day you drink a black coffee, black tea, green tea or sparkling water (anything with no calories) to keep hunger at bay.
At 12.45pm you have your first meal, which is a shake consisting of two scoops of chocolate protein powder and water. Then you have a green tea at around 3 pm to keep the hunger cravings away.
You have dinner at 5.30pm, which is homemade chilli con carne, then you finish eating by 6 pm.
For the next two days, you go back to eating at a normal time that suits you and following the 90/10 approach of eating which means 90% of your intake of the day should be whole nutritious unprocessed food and 10% on a few pieces of chocolate etc.
This method works well for people who have busy days and don’t really worry about food. If you struggle with trying to manage calorie intake day-to-day then this would be a better option because you’re putting yourself in a big deficit for only two to three days during the week and don’t really have to focus too much during the rest of the week.
On those deficit days, You will get some cravings for more food, but you’re just going to have to refrain from them with coffee and tea.
Remember it’s only a few days during the week and one thing that is very helpful to overcome your cravings is to just tell yourself you can have a normal day tomorrow. Then when it is your “normal day”, the craving will be gone.
TIME-RESTRICTED EATING (TRE)
The final method you need to be aware of is TRE, which means every day there is a fasting period and a shortened eating window of four to ten hours.
This is my favourite style of intermittent fasting and I follow the most common approach – 16:8.
This means that you fast for 16 hours each day and eat all of your daily calories during the remaining 8 hours.
This diet has been widely popularised thanks to Martin Berkhan and the diet is known as Leangains.
It’s the most popular method for people who lift weights as one of the most important things for muscle growth is food.
With this system, you have a specific
period every day when you’re eating and one when you’re not – but you’re still getting food into your body daily.
Here are the different types of TRE that people use:
This means if you stop eating at 10 pm at night you should not be eating until at least 2 pm the next day or even longer depending on the amount of time you’re aiming to fast for.
In the time frame, you’ve chosen you would then make sure to eat all of your calories you need for the day.
This method works best for anyone looking to live a normal life and not feel restricted because they can’t go out with friends and family when they’re “dieting”. This is also the best approach if your goal is to gain strength and muscle mass.
So there you have it. The three styles of intermittent fasting and how you can follow each one.
What’s the best for fat burning?
NONE OF THEM, they all work equally well. The most important one is picking WHICH SUITS YOUR LIFESTYLE.
Out of the three different types of Intermittent Fasting, pick which one is going to suit you best and follow it.
In the next post, you’re going to learn what you can and can’t have during your fasting window.