Intermittent Fasting for Health and Weight Loss
- Function change of hormones, genes, and cells– when you have periods of fasting, your body changes hormone levels so stored fat can be accessed and used; much higher levels of growth hormone are injected into the bloodstream, facilitating fat burning and muscle gain; cellular repair processes are started and waste removal becomes more efficient; beneficial changes to genes occur, which promote longevity and disease protection
- Weight loss– when you incorporate fasting periods into your eating pattern, you will take in less calories and lose more weight, provided you don’t eat more calories at scheduled meals; your metabolism will also be boosted, and this promotes even more fat burning and weight loss
- Lower risk of type II diabetes– intermittent fasting has major benefits for insulin resistance, and leads to a huge reduction in blood sugar levels; this in turn lowers the risk of developing type II diabetes and all symptoms associated with it
- Slows down aging– fasting can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which increases in the body with age, and because it acts to lower these negative processes, the effects of aging are slowed down and reduced
- Heart health– fasting helps to lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels, inflammatory agents, blood triglycerides, and harmful LDL-cholesterol; all of these are risk factors associated with greater potential for heart disease and heart attack, so by lowering these levels in your body, there’s a significant reduction of risk for heart disease
- Improved cell repair– while in a fasting period, the body instigates a waste removal process called autophagy, which involves a breakdown of cells and metabolizing of dysfunctional proteins which may have accumulated over time inside the cells of the body; this increased autophagy provides a layer of protection against diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduced risk of cancer– when fasting, several beneficial effects on the metabolism are imparted, leading to a reduced risk of cancer; it has also been shown to be effective in minimizing the undesirable side effects of chemotherapy
- Brain food– the combined effects of lower oxidative stress, reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and greater insulin resistance are all highly beneficial for brain function; in addition, it stimulates the growth of new nerve cells which are used when the brain makes connections for learning; one final benefit for the brain is that intermittent fasting has the effect of protecting against the damage which can result from a stroke
Martin Berkhan recommends four different protocols depending on when the client trains. The protocol consists of one, two, or three meals are eaten in the post-workout period. For 24 hour period the most effective protocol for me has been 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours fasting, followed by 8 hours feeding.
1. Fasted training (Protocol I use)
Training is initiated on an empty stomach and after ingestion of 10 g Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) . The BCAAs are considered the pre-workout meal but there is not enough calories to be counted towards the feeding phase. The 8-hour feeding phase starts with the post-workout meal. BCAAS are consumed and training or a workout is always performed right before breaking the fast. On non-workout days, simply break your fast around the same time as your training days.
11.30-12 AM or 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: Training
1 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal of the day).
4 PM: Second meal.
9 PM: Last meal before the fast.
Calories and carbs are tapered down throughout the day in the example above.
2. Early morning fasted training
People that train early in the morning and prefer feeding phase at 12:00pm or later.
6 AM: 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA.
6-7 AM: Training.
8 AM: 10 g BCAA.
10 AM: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: The “real” post-workout meal (largest meal of the day). Start of the 8 hour feeding-window.
8-9 PM: Last meal before the fast.
For best results, select BCAAs in the form of powder and not tabs. Simply mix 30 g of BCAA powder in a shake and drink one third of it every other hour starting 5-15 minutes pre-workout.
3. One pre-workout meal
People in college or have flexible working hours.
12-1 PM or around lunch/noon: Pre-workout meal. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.
3-4 PM: Training should happen a few hours after the pre-workout meal.
4-5 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal).
8-9 PM: Last meal before the fast.
4. Two pre-workout meals
People with normal working hours.
12-1 PM or around lunch/noon: Meal one. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.
4-5 PM: Pre-workout meal. Roughly equal to the first meal.
8-9 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal).
Credit for this information and the subject content was used from Martin Berkhan’s blog, Lean Gains. For more information and research studies, please visit Martin Berkhan’s blog, www,leangains.com.
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