Last week I released three critically important articles: How To Get Shredded…
In The Introduction, I gave an overview of Intermittent Fasting and the benefits of it, and specifically how it transformed my fitness. It truly changed the way I looked at food, fat loss and fitness as a whole, and for the first time I really appreciated how I could integrate my diet with my lifestyle.
The problem is that when I have suggested these strategies to other guys in the past, it was always met with strong resistance. Those who did try did it completely wrong. Reading some other articles written more recently by otherwise fitness-experienced guys revealed that people were still messing it all up.
How To Start Intermittent Fasting
Phase 1 is the beginning, obviously. But it may be useful to have a look firstly at how not to start intermittent fasting. There are correct and incorrect ways to begin. I lucked out and did it correctly, by accident. But I’ve observed guys who were over eager and shot themselves in the foot in the process.
Let’s look at their mistakes.
Pushing Their First Meal Back By 4 Hours Immediately
This is the end goal of Intermittent Fasting. The end goal of this schedule is to get those morning calories into the afternoon and/or evening. The goal is to get to the point where you have maximum social freedom and flexibility whilst still getting lean. But you don’t do this immediately, otherwise you’re simply asking for a mountain of problems.
Instead, change your eating schedule one hour at a time.
This means during week 1 you push your first meal back by one hour. Week 2, you do this another hour. So that by week 4, you’re ready to rock and roll with your new eating schedule (at least for most people). You must get used to the new eating timetable before you start slashing calories and pushing the fat loss. For most people this takes weeks, not days.
And by the way, fuck what your work colleagues think. Seriously. You’re about to lose more weight than they could ever dream of. Let the sheep remain fat and ugly, their opinions are simply irrelevant. Never listen to an unhappy persons opinions on happiness. Never listen to a poor mans views on money. And never listen to a chubby persons criticism of your health and fitness goals.
Dropping Calories Too Soon
Do not start cutting calories whilst your body is still adapting to the new system of eating. You can’t do both at the same time and expect to maintain it. Cutting calories is phase 2. Allow your body to get used to your new eating structure first.
This is why I always say that your fitness goals will probably take longer than you think. There are just so many things that can potentially set you back. Acclimatisation periods, holidays, necessary dieting breaks etc. that are never accounted for in the marketing you see on tv for the “beach body x90 P90 super-Xtreme 5000” adverts.
Thinking That Intermittent Fasting Bypasses The Number 1 Rule Of All Diets
Which is total energy balance is always the most important factor in a diet. If you’re not in a calorie deficit, you’re not losing weight. You DO NOT have the license to just pig out on everything, just because you’re fasting. In fact, nobody has that license if they’re trying to lose fat.
Intermittent Fasting rather optimises your eating schedule for binge-avoidance, and also allowing your calorie deficits to be more consistent. I explained how this was the case for me in The Introduction.
No dieting structure will allow you to lose weight if you aren’t eating less than your body needs to maintain its current bodyweight. It’s just that some dieting structures are superior to others in terms of maintaining this deficit over the long-term. Intermittent Fasting is sustainable as it’s so flexible and doesn’t involve any majorly restrictive rules and restrictions on your food intake.
So it’s funny to me – some guys want to slash their calories immediately, whilst another group seems to think they have a license to roam wild. Both are wrong. Take it slow, and make sure you’re measuring your fat loss (so you know you’re in a deficit).
Get The Correct Foundations For A Shredded Physique
Assuming you avoid the above mistakes, there are a few things you need to ensure you do during phase 1. Here they are:
Take Your Time
If you’ve only given yourself 6 weeks to lose fat, you’ve already failed. You need more time to get used to this dieting structure. Instead you should go and do keto, lose a load of weight for 6 weeks, then come crying when you’ve regained it all, which you always do with diets which have too many rules.
Instead, eat at maintenance calories during this 4 week adjustment period, whereby you are pushing that first meal back one hour at a time.
Start Having Snacks
Fruit isn’t mandatory, but it’s probably the best “umbrella” of pre-meal snacks to have. It’s satisfying and nutritious, and fruit allows you to keep fasting for longer. The trick is to start doing this before you encounter any hunger issues whilst adapting to the new extended fasting period.
Fruit will keep your liver glycogen at non-dismal levels, regulate your satiety levels and both of these will allow yo to keep fasting without eating into your willpower levels to any great degree.
I recommend having fruit 1-1.5 hours prior to your first meal. So this will move backwards with your first meal, one hour at a time, during this 4 week adjustment phase.
Start Drinking Water With Every Meal
And this includes fruit by the way. Water will expand your stomach a lot more than food otherwise would without the water added. To maximise this effect, you need to time it with food. Just before, and/or just after. You must get into the habit of downing a load of water every time you pick up the fork. During phase 1, you are building these useful habits. Again, habits take weeks to develop.
It doesn’t matter if it only helps with temporary fullness, once the “full” signals have been sent to the brain, they have been sent. It makes your dieting life a lot easier if you are doing this consistently.
Avoid the traps that most guys fall into, namely:
- Diving headfirst into Intermittent Fasting
- Slashing calories at the same time
- Thinking they can eat anything
Rather than do the above, use phase 1 as a habit-building phase. These habits include:
- Slowly adjusting to the smaller eating window
- Slowly incorporating a variety of snacks (ideally fruit) for just before your first proper meal
- Slowly adding the calories from breakfast into the lunctime and evening meals (your breakfast is shrinking in size as well as being pushed back, and your evening calorie allowance is increasing)
- Getting used to timing your water intake perfectly for maximising fullness, and (probably) increasing your total water consumption