Since I have read the e-book, Eat Stop Eat (ESE) by Brad Pilon, a couple of years ago, fasting has become a majorly accepted way to lose stubborn fat in the fitness industry. This can be due to the fact that a lot of people have seen how effective it is in terms of losing weight even though your diet is less than perfect. If you haven’t heard of Eat Stop Eat, here is a little background for you in this article: Fasting for Weight Loss: Unravelling the Controversy. The article talks about how I first came about fasting and my experience and results from applying it.
Since I wrote that article, fasting has become a way of life for me. It has given me freedom from obsessive-compulsive eating and counting each calorie that goes through my mouth. But, do not get me wrong. I still pay attention to what I eat and I eat fairly healthily but I find comfort in the fact that I can still occasionally enjoy not-so-healthy foods every now and then and not put my health and fitness progress to a screeching halt.
I originally started with two 24-hour fasts as outlined in Eat Stop Eat. But, I find that during the winter months, I get really cold and my body can not tolerate this long of a fast. The longer fasts works well for me during the summer as I stay nice and cool even though it’s 100 degrees outside. So, in my quest to keep up with my fasting during the winter months or have an alternative choice when I do not want to do 24-hour fasts, I searched other fitness blogs for an answer. I was fortunate to find two very well-researched and applied blogs that talk about different ways to perform intermittent fasting.
Other Fasting Protocols
The first one is the IF Life by Mike O’Donnell. Mike has been an experienced fitness blogger who has been advocating fasting for as long as Eat Stop Eat was released (just getting this from memory but he has been blogging for quite sometime and has quite a following). Just like Brad, Mike tells you about the benefits of fasting and outlines a few ways that you can do a fast. You can get his free-report here: IF Life Free Report and read it for more information. Mike is also known for calling this strategy intermittent feeding as fasting may turn off some people when they hear it for the first time.
The second one that I found was from fellow fitness blogger, Martin Berkhan, at Leangains.com. I like Martin’s site because he specifically outlines the ways that you can fast based on what time of day you workout. For instance, I am currently following his early morning, fasted training protocol where I take Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) 3 times in the morning before a workout, several minutes post-workout, and 2 hours after that. I then eat my biggest meal at noon and eat during my 6-hour feeding window. Please note that Martin recommended an 8-hour feeding window but since I only eat about 1500 calories, I can eat during these 6 hours, feel satisfied, and have a longer fasting window. I also sleep fairly early so eating my last meal at 6 p.m. helps me sleep better at night without the disturbance of digestion during my sleep.
If you’re interested in other ways to fast besides the Eat Stop Eat way, you can read Martin’s post here: Lean Gains Guide. In this page, he talks about how you can include fasting if you workout in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon. He also talks about how you should distribute your macronutrients between meals and during workout days.
I have been doing a 6-hour feeding window for 3 weeks now and I have to say that it has been working very well for me. I do not see a decrease in strength at the gym and the shorter fasting window is a bit more manageable especially with my busy schedule. My husband asked me the other day what I’ve been doing differently because he’s noticed the changes in my body already and I said – just the way I fast.
To me, if you can do something consistently over time with fewer rules, the more likely I’ll be able to stick to it for the long run. This is definitely the key to programs like Eat Stop Eat and other ways of fasting. They have helped me get the benefits of fasting such as increase insulin sensitivity (less prone to diabetes), increase fat burning in stubborn areas, increase in growth hormone (favors fat burning and preserves muscle mass) and much more. At the same time, I am able to stick to a long-term nutrition plan instead of a fad diet that is difficult to follow and not recommended to be used for long periods of time.
If you haven’t ventured into the intermittent fasting world, I suggest you start looking at it and find out how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle. But, be aware that this is not one of those “diets” that promise to help you lose weight fast (which is a too good to be true claim anyway). Intermittent fasting will give you a way to continually better your health and constantly reduce stubborn areas of fat when you follow it consistently.