Intermittent Fasting – You’re Doing It Wrong!
I’ve had a lot of questions on Social Media about the Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle I talk about a lot – the lifestyle that keeps me at 10% body fat year-round, with maximum dietary flexibility. These questions vary from training times, to coffee alternatives, to hormonal benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Some of them are legitimate problems. For example, deciding on when to train could be a tricky decision, depending on various factors. For the majority, training in the morning on a fasted stomach will be absolutely fine. (This is assuming the model of pushing your first meal back by four hours like I suggest here). It will make absolutely no difference to your performance at all, because you still have glucose to utilise from yesterdays food, or your fat stores.
The idea that you MUST have carbs inside of you IMMEDIATELY before training in order to perform well is simply false. You don’t, at least not for strength training. Running a marathon would be a very different story. So no, you won’t suffer AT ALL when training on an empty stomach if you follow my system properly.
This is because I never suggest cutting your calories by more than 10% at a time. It will yield slower fat loss results, but you’re FAR more likely to keep the weight off this way. Miles better than rebounding over and over again.
But yes, if you ignore my advice and starve yourself, then yeah of course you will feel weak on an empty stomach. But the problem isn’t fasting, the problem is that your overall energy intake is too damn low.
Now, the only caveat to fasted training being fine would be if you were getting below single digit bodyfat % and your energy was really low in an empty stomach. Once you get very lean, no matter how small the calorie deficit, your energy is going to suck at least some of the time. That’s just how it works when you’re already lean & trying to get leaner still.
But some other questions I’ve been receiving in regards to the Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle on Social Media have been REALLY obvious to me. They’re prime examples of people who have clearly been taken in by the hype and misleading marketing, just like the low carb fanboys and Ketards. Let me explain…
Insulin & Human Growth Hormone
Studies have been peformed on people following Intermittent Fasting protocols, and they measured blood levels of HGH and Insulin during the fast, every day. HGH was higher for those who fasted compared to those who didn’t fast, and Insulin was also lower for the fasted group.
GREAT! AWESOME! We’ve found the magic bullet for fat loss and muscle gain everybody! This one’s even better than the magical Ketosis fairy. OMG we’re onto something here! Ronnie, Sylvestre, Arnold, you might as well all stop injecting your stomachs with HGH, we’ve got something much better. Just fast. Forever. Just don’t eat. I mean, you won’t have any food or any energy, but who cares when you have a 0.001% temporary increase in HGH? Right?
Measuring a minute increase in HGH during the fast, without any consideration for the whole 24 hour period, and the fact that the hormones will then compensate by going further in the opposite direction later in the day, is completely and utterly not helpful. And frankly, it’s misleading and dishonest.
Measuring a drop in insulin doesn’t tell you anything. Especially when it doesn’t take into consideration the enormous spike in insulin you’re going to get later in the day, when you eat the same number of calories but in a smaller timeframe. Again, it’s all about calories. And to be honest, I love this insulin spike in the evenings; it helps me to relax and wind down. It’s not a bad thing. It’s all calorie-dependent.
Trust me, after all these years of Intermittent Fasting, I can tell you now that if there was a notable difference in my hormone levels from fasting, I would have continued to get bigger, stronger, leaner etc., but I haven’t because I have aimed to maintain, eating maintenance calories.
Emphasis on the word calories.
The key to Intermittent Fasting’s success has nothing to do with bloody hormones. It’s about appetite control (which makes it easier to lower calories), flexibility with your lifestyle, and diet adherence, which underpins all dieting success.
The only time hormones are a significant factor with any of this are when you have:
- Exogenous hormones which completely transform the chemistry within your body
- Genetic freaks who have been born outrageously lucky, or unlucky; I’m talking 0.001%, and they do exist, and you’re not one of them so it’s irrelevant
Intermittent Fasting will not make any real changes to your hormones across the 24 hour window, across the week, across the month. Measuring temporary fluctuations doesn’t tell you shit.
It’s like eating a mouthful of table salt one evening, and then measuring your bodyweight the next day. Your weight goes up 5 pounds. You look fuller, more vascular and more bloated. You then claim that table salt is the magic ingredient to muscle gain and vascularity.
Everyone would call you an idiot, and rightly so.
It’s the same principle as measuring fluctuations in hormones, but in this scenario you’re measuring fluctuations in bodyweight. They’re both temporary, and they’re both remarkably meaningless.
Intermittent Fasting is effective, not because of some magical hormonal effect, but because of satiation, appetite reduction and the resultant increase in dietary compliance. As they always say, the best diet is the one that you can stick to.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t a diet, but rather a system. So if you follow this flexible system, include coffee in the mornings, never slash your calories by too much, keep protein relatively high, do regular cardio, and shift your carbs further back into the evenings, then you will have VERY high chances of losing a lot of fat, and KEEPING the fat off long-term.
To really understand my Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, I encourage you to get your FREE Intermittent Fasting Manual by signing up to my email list in the top right of the screeen (if you’re on a computer), or at the bottom (if you’re on your phone).
In this manual I describe the system I used to get from 17% body fat down to 8% body fat. You will also learn how to stay lean YEAR-ROUND. Enjoy.