We're going to share with you the power of intermittent fasting, it is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends and more people in the bodybuilding industry are using it as a tool to aid with their cutting cycles plus the health benefits that comes with it.
Intermittent fasting is a tool, it's not a diet, it doesn't tell you what to eat but rather when you should eat them, it is plain and simple an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting.
Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
Fasting has been practised throughout human history. Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available all year round. Sometimes they couldn’t find anything to eat.
As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.
In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3 to 4 or more meals per day.
Fasting is also often done for religious or spiritual reasons, including in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.
What are the Intermittent Fasting Methods?
The 16/8 method
This method involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 12 pm to 8 pm, then you fast for 16 hours in between.
This involves fasting for the whole day usually for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from lunch one day until lunch the next day.
The 5:2 Diet
With these methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week but eat normally the other 5 days.
By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to follow. It’s also the most popular.
So why would you want to do intermittent fasting?
It is one of the most important factors in weight loss because fasting triggers this main hormone in your body, the most powerful one is the human growth hormone(HGH) which is an anti-aging and the most powerful fat-burning hormone.
Out of the 6 fat-burning hormones, growth hormone is the most powerful fat-burning hormone to protect your muscles, build lean body mass and also lose actual fat.
Another hormone is insulin, this is also a very powerful hormone in that it will actually help you store fat if you want to gain weight. However, in the presence of insulin, you cannot lose weight.
Insulin is such a dominating hormone that it will block growth hormone, so in essence, it is the hormone that makes you fat, it's the hormone that gives you the gut, if you see someone with a fat gut they have too much insulin in their system.
In addition to lowering insulin and increasing growth hormone levels, it increases the release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6–14%, by helping you eat fewer and burn more calories, intermittent fasting causes weight loss by changing both sides of the calorie equation.
So the human growth hormone and insulin are the two most powerful hormones that you are going to influence by applying the intermittent fasting eating cycles.
The principle of intermittent fasting hormone is that every time you eat you will spike insulin, eating, in general, will increase insulin regardless of what you eat even if snacking.
Humans are not designed to eat and graze all day long, so we want to switch to at least 3 meals a day with no snacks as a first step.
This technique can heal insulin resistance where you are eating frequently and have the pancreas pumping out way more insulin than you need because what happens when you have too much insulin the cells start blocking it and then your body doesn't get the return communication and the pancreas doesn't get the feedback that the insulin is connecting so it sends more insulin through the channels.
So you have a situation where you have a resistance to insulin, low insulin in the cells, low glucose levels but then you have high amounts of insulin in other places which is very destructive which causes pre-diabetes and creates a lot of problems in the body.
Going from 6-5 meals a day to the full 16/8 intermittent fasting method may take some time and avoid the headaches and hunger pains, you have to gradually transition until you can achieve some serious fat burning methods like the 20/4.
How to transition from a normal eating pattern to intermittent fasting?
Let's say you start with five meals a day or six meals a day, where you have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, a snack if this is your eating pattern.
Month 1: Cut out the snacks and transition to breakfast, lunch and dinner only.
Month 2-3: Then you can cut out breakfast and just have lunch and dinner.
Month 4+: Then you take it to the next level and burn more fat and do the pattern of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating window.
An example would be getting up in the morning and skip breakfast, if you are not hungry then don't eat, wait until you are hungry. The ideal situation is to go at least four hours after waking up before your first meal.
If you get up at 6 am then your first meal would be 10 am, and your last meal would be 6 pm, this interval gives you an eight-hour eating window. If you get up at 8 am then your first meal would be 12noon and last meal at 8 pm and so on.
The real power of fasting is achieved through the night and in the morning, at night time when you're sleeping and then the morning that's when you really have the uninterrupted serious fat-burning especially when combined with exercises such as high-intensity interval training or fasted cardio.
The more you progress until you can achieve the extreme of 20 hours fasting and only four hours window of eating then you have 20 hours of serious fat burning, you're on your way to reducing that waistline.
The goal is to implement this as a lifestyle and not an overnight result, it's going to take some time to transition over to these different levels, don't think it happens in a minute. Gradually moving over to the next pattern so you are comfortable and avoid the side effects that come with changing eating patterns.