Life Hacking with Intermittent Fasting
I’ve previously written a bit about carbohydrate loading and different ways we can diet. If it’s one thing that I’ve learned in my over half decade of fitness, nutrition, and health education, it’s that most of this stuff is truly a preference and what fits your life, goals, and own body.
What this means is that some of my lifestyle and eating habits won’t fit your own life. And that’s totally okay! I’ve tried and tested Carb Cycling, Carbohydrate back loading, Ketogenic Dieting, Eating whatever we wanted (don’t do this unless you are just starting in the gym and are able to obtain beginner gains), and “clean bulking”.
Now, I’m a Guinea pig for intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
The latest trend that has got me hooked is that of Intermittent Fasting. If you’ve heard about this technique before, you will know that all this fancy title means is you:
-Eat for around 8 hours.
-And fast for around 16 hours.
(I’ve been using a 9 hour feeding window and 15 hour fast.)
This technique is great for the busy person that can’t seem to find the time to eat, due to other personal commitments (be that school, work, or travel).
The mentality behind this is that you are able to better partition nutrients, utilize them, and lose weight because you are likely not able to eat as much.
Some practitioners advocate for the “eat anything you want” camp, in which you can go ahead and eat the burger for dinner, you haven’t eaten for 15 hours! We are more on the side of eat clean, healthy foods, and use this as a life hack to get more done, while you aren’t stressing about eating every 3 hours.
Back in University, I would stress out about getting meals in and making sure I was “topped up” every 3 hours. It was an endless treadmill, causing stress even though it was completely unnecessary.
But Don’t I Need X!?
Now, I can hear you saying “But don’t I need to eat 3 (or 6 in the fitness world) meals a day? What about Breakfast? Isn’t that the most important meal of the day?! Can’t my body only process 30 grams of protein at a time?”
Here are some facts that beg consideration:
If the human body needed to be fed every three hours on the dot in order to avoid muscle loss, we would have died out as a species a long time ago.
Ever wonder why the “30 grams of protein” rule is very close to the protein content of a serving of whey protein?
Skip breakfast and see the cognitive benefits.
You’ve been lied to. By the supplement industry. By the lobbyists for processed foods. By the food industry as a whole.
All of these industries make money when you buy more. And eat more.
If you believe that you will gain more weight because you are eating more at a single sitting, think again. It’s simply an equation of calories in versus calories out. If you eat 2000 calories over a 6 meals, or if you eat 2000 calories over one meal, the effects are going to be the same.
Who Might IMF not Work for?
We don’t advise that any diet is best for any particular individual. You will have to find out what works for you via a trial and error process. That means dedicating a month or two to any specific meal plan/technique, and seeing the results before your eyes.
I know that people with certain disorders such as Diabetes should avoid this technique. Women have a harder time with it, and will likely need to extend the eating window, while subtracting a few hours from the fasting window. It’s just a matter of hormones being different. Some people may feel absolutely terrible when not eating for so long. This won’t work for them.
A Basic Schedule for IMF
My schedule looks something like this:
I wake up around 5-6 every morning. I will drink close to a litre of water and go do some work.
2 hours after waking up, I will sometimes make some black coffee and drink this (black coffee has next to zero calories, and will not interrupt your fasting period).
I will continue to drink water throughout this period.
At 11:45, it is time to cook breakfast and meals for the day.
First meal is at 12-12:15.
I can continue to eat through 9:15 pm. I consume my planned out meals for the day, usually consisting of chicken, fish, and complex carbs, with vegetables.
I usually stop eating around 8:30 after a bedtime snack of a banana, some greek yogurt, or almonds.
8-9 hours eating, 15-16 hours not eating. That simple.
I’ve always been a big eater, and I can easily sit down to 1500 calorie meals no problem. Some people are completely turned off by this, and IMF isn’t for them.
The thing I personally love about IMF is that it can suit any goal. Want to lose some weight? Awesome, it will work for you. Want to gain some muscle? You got it.
Give it a shot, and post in the comments below your results with this awesome diet and life hack!