What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is not just ‘skipping breakfast’, as you may have heard. Rather, it’s replacing your breakfast with high quality foods, and eating them much later in the day when you actually need them.
This shortens your eating window (the length of time per day spent eating) from ~15-16 hours, down to ~6-8 hours, usually. The very act of doing this sky-rockets your ability to be satisfied and full on less food.
The biggest problems with eating breakfast are that:
- You’re never really full from your food, thus you tend to eat more
- It’s usually high carb stuff that makes you even hungrier (cereal, toast, orange juice etc.)
- Even if it’s not high-carb stuff, you’re still wasting critical energy digesting food, whilst not burning that stubborn fat
Which is the best Intermittent Fasting model to follow?
You have three main models to follow:
- 20:4 (20 hours fasting, 4 eating)
- 18:6 (18 hours fasting, 6 eating)
- 16:8 (16 hours fasting, 8 eating)
And ALL of them work for sustainable, long-term fat loss, because they ALL shorten your eating window and therefore make it easier to eat less food (try getting 3000+ calories down your neck in 6 hours!)
The truth is that the best one is the one you’re likely to stick to long-term, and this will depend on your lifestyle and preferences.
Personally, I take the middle ground and go for the 18:6 model, and eat from 12pm to 6pm.
Can You Not ‘Skip’ Dinner Instead Of Breakfast?
You can do, theoretically.
But the reality is that this is not as effective long-term, for the vast majority of people. Humans are social creatures. We need friends, family, relationships with the opposite sex etc.
And when does the vast majority of socialising and social eating occur?
Hint: It’s not at breakfast.
You don’t want to be sat there in the evening whilst everyone else is eating and drinking, yet you’ve ‘run out of calories’ for the day. It’s not going to work long-term.
If you have any resemblance of a social life whatsoever, I don’t recommend eating breakfast.
You Suggest Drinking Coffee In The Morning, Why?
Coffee, especially unsweetened, black coffee has three major benefits:
- It blunts hunger, making fat loss easier
- It boosts your metabolism, making fat loss easier
- It trains your taste buds to accept bitter tastes, which is the polar opposite of what traditional breakfasts do – encouraging sugar addictions and having a sweet tooth
Coffee is a great fat loss weapon you need to be taking advantage of.
Just don’t have it post-12pm, otherwise you risk it messing with your sleep.
I Don’t Like Black Coffee, Can You Add Milk Or Creamer?
It’s better without milk or creamer, but they are both perfectly acceptable, yes.
Sugar is absolutely not though, and neither is sweetener. Both are training your sweet tooth and fuelling your sugar addiction, and must be removed immediately.
But Doesn’t Milk Or Creamer Technically Break Your Fast?
The calorie content is just so microscopically small, that it isn’t going to disrupt any of the benefits of fasting. Even if you technically come out of the fasted state for a few minutes, you’re straight back into it again afterwards.
I Don’t Like Coffee At All, Are There Any Replacements?
Yes – green tea, black tea (or any tea), and sparkling water are all perfectly fine replacements, provided none of them have additional sugar or sweetener.
All will help you during the fasted period, and will make fasting easier long-term as well.
What If I Train In The Morning? Won’t Fasting Ruin My Workouts?
Actually, no. Some of the best workouts I’ve ever had have been in a fasted state. Black coffee is incredibly good fuel for workouts too.
The only time you may have an issue with this is if you do something extreme, like fasting for 24+ hours, or dropping your calorie intake drastically, and too soon.
But this is not what I suggest doing, ever.
Here’s the biggest objection of all:
What About The Post Workout Window For Morning Lifters? Won’t I Lose Muscle If I Don’t Get Protein Within 1 Hour?
The post workout window is a myth, and is designed to get you to buy more protein shakes.
Now, I don’t recommend going a super long time without eating, but the one hour thing is complete nonsense. The only time you need to really worry about rapid post workout feeding is if you train multiple times per day, in which case it’s actually carbs that are your number one priority, not protein.
If you get up really early and train at 5am, then you could have some BCAA’s if you really want. But you will be absolutely fine eating your first main meal at 10-11am, then the second one at 5-6pm. And by the way, if your eating window is still the same as mine (12pm-6pm) and then you don’t go to bed until 10pm, you have far more serious problems than post-workout protein:
You’ll lose muscle, and it will be due to a lack of SLEEP (4-6 hours is NOT enough), not post-workout protein.
The key thing to remember with post-workout nutrition is this:
If you don’t hit your total daily calorie and protein requirements over the 24 hours period, it all counts for nothing. All that really matters is that you hit these numbers every day.
What Are The Best Macros To Combine With Intermittent Fasting?
Please read this.
Can You Gain Muscle On Intermittent Fasting?
Your ability to gain muscle with Intermittent Fasting is directly correlated to your ability to eat at a consistent, daily calorie surplus, even with IF. You need to eat if you want to gain muscle.
For me (as a naturally big-eater), this isn’t too difficult, especially if I increase my carb intake. IF is a life-saver for lean-bulking, because it stops me from getting fat, and only gaining muscle.
But for you?
It depends on your appetite, and I encourage you to experiment. If you’re the typical ‘hard-gainer’ (who basically struggles to eat enough), then I DO NOT suggest IF. But if you’re like me and you’re liable to gain too much weight in a muscle-gaining phase, then IF may just be a life-saver.
You need to experiment with this.