Intermittent Fasting Benefits for Fitness [2019]

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Intermittent fasting is more about when you eat than it is about what you eat.

There are of course guidelines on what to eat on IF, but it does depend on what your goals are.

The basic premise is that in 24 hours you have a time window in which you eat.

It is during this time window only that you eat all your meals and then you fast for the rest of those 24 hours.

Fasting might sound jarring to you because it seems very restrictive. A common point often brought up is that most of human history eating patterns were like this. All your hunter-gatherer ancestors had to eat like this. Think about it, back then you ate when you caught something.

Are we spoiled today, or what?

Why Consider Intermittent Fasting?

Let’s have a rundown of the pros and cons of intermittent fasting. Because I can hear you saying, “Why on earth would I eat in such a strange restrictive way? What is in it for me?

Intermittent Fasting Enhances Your Bodies Fat Burning Ability

It’s important to understand that intermittent fasting is an eating discipline. The general trend if you stick to intermittent fasting is that you will end up eating less.

Research has shown that intermittent fasting helps boost your metabolism. That nifty little benefit means you burn more calories and body fat.

Intermittent Fasting Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has become a major problem in recent times. Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not use insulin to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal level.

If your body has developed a resistance to insulin, then you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to help your body increase its insulin sensitivity as well as lower blood sugar levels.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits and Stopping Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting Helps Regulate Your Body’s Cell Repair Processes

Fasting is a cleansing practice for the body. In recent decades we learned that at the cellular level what really goes on and it’s fascinating.

When you fast, your bodies cells start to engage in a process known as autophagy.

Autophagy is cells in your body breaking down and getting rid of defunct proteins and parts. Your body does this to incease your cells metabolism efficiency.

This process can protect you from various diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer.

Intermittent Fasting May Improve Your Heart Health

Heart disease still stands as the number one killer of humans. Intermittent fasting might help you fight off this killer.

There are several tell-tale signs that your heart may be at risk for disease. Intermittent fasting fights them off.

It improves:

Few people can argue against great improvements like that!

The Drawbacks to Intermittent Fasting

There are of course some cons to intermittent fasting. Conducted right there aren’t any significant risk factors associated with intermittent fasting.

What follows are potential pitfalls that you should be aware of if you are going to set out on this kind of an eating plan.

Intermittent Fasting Might Be Tough for You to Sustain

Restricting your eating window could be a significant mountain to climb. Most people find that they can adjust to the eating patterns on intermittent fasting. Some folks feel the hunger pangs are too harsh to continue with the fast.

Note: For help combating hunger pains check out our post, 19 Practical Ways to Control Hunger Cravings Now

After you start seeing results, it gets easier and easier.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits

Beware of The Binge on Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting teaches self-restraint. Binge eating is not supposed to be of the essence when you start eating in your window.

Keep control of your mind if you are going to set on this path. You don’t want it to turn into a constant binge fest because that could destroy the whole purpose.

How to Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting

As I mentioned, earlier intermittent fasting can help you lose weight.

No surprise there. 🙂

Another benefet you get from fasting is it will increases your metabolism.

Why is this a good for your body?

You burn more calories without having to do anything.

It makes you lean toward eating fewer calories. Your eating window trains you to restrain your eating habits.

That said here are some tips to keep in mind.

Remember to Break Your Fast in Stages

Don’t make the mistake of diving head first with a huge meal every time you enter your eating window.
If you find yourself doing that, make a habit of having a very modest snack to break the fast.

Enter your eating window with something like a meal replacement bar, or a piece of fruit with some yogurt.
Even a small bit of meat with some veggies.

Eating something light this will keep you from binge eating when you are breaking your fast.

16:8

This kind of intermittent fasting regimen is the most common. Most people find it to be the easiest one to stick to and the one that they can commit to the most in the long run.

In this regimen, you fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window.

Now the eating window can be at any time during your waking hours.\

Most people find it most comfortable to skip breakfast. That way they have an eating window that starts sometime in the early afternoon.

Which gives the time to eat something at around bedtime and feel full falling to sleep.

20:4

In this intermittent fasting regime, you fast for 20 hours and have a 4-hour eating window.

You might eat between 3 pm and 7 pm.

This technique is more robust to sustain but is achievable with practice.

24-Hour Fast

In this fast, you go 24 full hours without eating.

If you eat dinner at 7 pm, you would skip breakfast and lunch the next day and not eat until 7 pm again. Usually this fast is not done all that often.

It’s quite harrowing to be going 24 hours without eating every other day. Most practitioners only fast once or twice a week at the most.

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Intermittent Fasting for the Strength Trainer and Bodybuilder

Is intermittent fasting a good idea if I’m trying to build muscle and strength?

Intermittent fasting is a great way to stay shredded while maintaining muscle mass.

Note: Check out Strength Training for Beginners and How to Increase Bench Press Strength for all the strength training tips you need to get your workout regiment rolling.

It allows you to get all the macro nutrients that you need while burning fat.

Everyone has different goals when doing strength training or bodybuilding. Intermittent fasting does allow flexibility for you to tailor to your goals.

You need to tailor your workout program to your fasting regiment. No universal way works for everybody. Because I can hear you asking, “When should I workout while on an intermittent fasting regime?”

The short answer is it depends.

If you’re like me, you don’t like lifting weights on an empty stomach.

If I’m doing intermittent, fasting; I will do it after the first meal in my eating window. That way I have a good energy boost before I go and murder the weights.

If you are trying to destroy body fat, it’s not a bad idea to do your weight lifting and cardio before your eating window.
While you are in a fasted state, your glycogen levels are low which means your body will use more fat for energy.

If you hit the weights hard and then follow it up with a cardio session, you’ll be killing your body fat.

Why?

Your weight lifting session depleted your glycogen levels to a nil.

I can attest to it getting me results when I had goals of getting my body fat % in the single digits. So yeah, given your daily schedule you’ll have to work out how you fit intermittent fasting into your regime.

There are two tips I want to leave you with to help max your gains while using intermittent fasting.

One is the advantage of using a BCAA supplement in your fasting times.

Many people wonder if doing a long fast like this will take a toll on their bodies and it is a legit concern.

BCAA’s are an excellent way to help keep your muscles fed while not breaking your fast window.

The second tip is to make sure your first meal in your eating window is high protein.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits and strength training

Intermittent Fasting and Keto

One of the tough things about the keto diet is controlling your cravings.

It can be quite a challenge to keep yourself from grubbing on carb-heavy foods.

Note: For more tips on dieting see our posts Paleo Diet Guidelines for Beginners and 111 Paleo Diet Recipes!

If you stick to one of the intermittent fasting schedules, you will end up curving some of the cravings.

Think about it.

If you skip one meal a day and exercise that good old’ self-discipline.

You’ll end up simplifying your eating schedule in a sense.

You must be careful not to binge eat. Squeeze your meals into a smaller window as a matter of routine. Doing this will help you not to get sidetracked.

It’s also true that people tend to eat less on the keto diet because of the high satiety level that it tends to induce.

Intermittent Fasting with Keto Can Make You Lose Weight Faster

The purpose of the keto diet is to put your body into the ketosis state. You want your body to be using your fat stores as fuel.
Intermittent fasting will help lead you in that direction.

While you are in the fasted state, you are pushing your body to eat away at those fat stores like crazy.

Why?

Your low carb diet has you in that ketosis state as it is. So keto and intermittent fasting together can be a knockout 1-2 punch.

Intermittent Fasting with Keto Can Help Stabilize Blood Sugar

Intermittent fasting while eating a healthy diet can lead to spikes in blood sugar. You can go from a state of ketosis to a huge spike when you break your fast. Resulting in side effects like brain fogginess, mood swings, and low energy.

Pairing intermittent fasting and keto helps you stay in a ketosis state. So long as you are consistent, you can prevent the jumps in blood sugar and cut these side effects.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits for Women

Is intermittent fasting beneficial to women?

The short answer is yes…but. Let’s discuss the but here.

Note: Make sure to read, “Strength Training for Women” while you’re here!

As you might already guess the effects of starvation aren’t the same on the male body as it is to the female body. The female body is well known to be more sensitive to calorie restriction. Low calories can affect the hypothalamus part of the brain and affect hormone levels.

A female’s reproductive health can end up taking a jab if caloric restriction is too extreme.

With that said, there still are ways to make intermittent fasting work for the woman’s body. There are more usual and controlled methods of intermittent fasting in your favor. Here are some tips for a more tempered and effective periodic fasting method.

Don’t Fast More Than 24 Hours

Might seem crazy to some but some people find themselves trying to push their boundaries too far.
Remember that fasting does have a method that you should respect for the sake of your own body. More than 24 hours fasting and you’re going to push yourself into an unhealthy starvation mode.

Don’t Fast on Consecutive Days

The female metabolism isn’t built for that kind of a leap. Always have a day of average food consumption before you have a fasting day.

Stay Hydrated

During your fasting period, there isn’t a limit on the amount of no-calorie fluids you can get into your body.

Intermittent fasting can be a healthy challenge for your body. You don’t want to challenge it in unnecessary, unhealthy ways. Getting enough water in you throughout the day helps keep you energized.


Staying hydrated assists your body in reaping all the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Be Mindful of Your Exercise

Many people advocate doing their workout during their fasting window.

I’m not here to tell you that it is a terrible idea no matter what. It is 100% doable and to your benefit depending on what your energy levels and workout intensity are.

But be careful about going too hard when you are in your fasting state as it could send you in the wrong kind of way.

A common way people like to workout during their fast is doing it right before they break their fast.

That way they get a good post workout meal that coincides with their exercise routine. That’s something to try if you can schedule it for yourself.

If you do try and take this route, one thing is sure, STAY HYDRATED.

Here are the best intermittent fasting methods for women:

16:8 Method

This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting as it is the most sustainable. In this method, you have an 8-hour window to eat at any time in the day you choose, and the other 16 hours of the day you fast.

24-hour Fast

Called the eat-stop-eat method. In this method, you take a full 24 hour fast once or twice a week.

An example would be eating your dinner at 6 pm on Friday, and then skipping breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Then breaking your fast at 6 pm. Twice a week should be the max number of times you do this fast.

More than that and you’re creeping in on starving yourself, not fasting.

Alternate Day Fasting

In this fasting paradigm, you fast every other day by cutting your calorie intake by 20 to 25%.

Three times a week you cut back the total number of calories while on your nonfasting days you usually eat.

The Crescendo Method

The crescendo method has you fasting for 12-16 hours a day for two or three days a week. Your fasting days should be nonconsecutive, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

This one is one of the stricter methods.

If you’re going to try it make sure you start with a period of time of 9 or 10 hour fast to gauge your tolerance levels.