Intermittent Fasting is a big topic in the fitness industry. Rightly so, as it's such…
Over the past year or so on Twitter, I’ve spoken to hundreds, if not thousands of guys about their Intermittent Fasting diet, and some of the problems they face.
Some will keep you above 20% body fat for your entire life, some are more minor. And frankly, there’s a lot of subjectivity here, and your genetics, lifestyle and activity level will all play into this.
Either way, you need to keep these problems to a minimum.
Make sure you read until the end, because I’ve saved the best until last. Also check out this excellent beginner’s guide for some background on the 16:8 version.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1) Drinking On Weekends
I get it, drinking is fun. Right now I’m drinking a glass of red wine (lol). But you’ve always got to look at the context.
The occasional glass (or three) of wine with your friends, family or a special woman, isn’t a major issue. Getting completely shit-faced every single Friday and Saturday night is absolutely a major issue.
We’re talking 400-600 calories (from wine) versus 1000+ calories from God knows what. Not to mention the junk food you’re likely to consume afterwards.
Getting drunk is great fun. Especially if it’s with great people that you genuinely get on well with.
But don’t do it twice per week, every week. Because you’re screwing up 29% of your diet by doing this. Save it for special occasions – you MUST pick your battles with booze.
If you’re serious about eliminating it from your life and need some inspiration and guidance, read this post by Ed Latimore.
2) Only Doing Their Intermittent Fasting Diet 1-5 Days Per Week
Some guys only do IF once per week, and they usually do a 24 hour fast. I actually like 24 hours fasts under certain circumstances, such as:
A) The beginning of a fat loss phase;
B) If you’re obese and want to sort your health out immediately and ‘de-tox’
But I don’t think this is a good weekly strategy at all, as it directly conflicts with one of the key principles that underlies everything else – consistency.
Daily consistency is what leads to long-term success, and you need it in order to succeed with Intermittent Fasting.
Inconsistency is NOT a good long-term sustainable path for your health OR your appearance.
Some guys will stick to their Intermittent Fasting diet for up to five days per week, and then of course screw it up on the weekend. I understand alcohol, as it’s a ‘release’ and fun from the boring mid-week that most jobs tend to encourage.
But the insistence upon breakfast on Saturday & Sunday?
I’m sorry, but breakfast is not a ‘fun activity’, and the best thing to do is say to your friends/family etc. “I just have coffee for breakfast these days”, and usually people will accept this if you have a strong frame. If they don’t, tell them to fuck off (nicely).
Only doing IF for a few days per week may work for a while, but eventually you’re going to need to step up your game and get serious – actually doing it every day.
3) Not Tracking Calories
This is a mistake that LOADS of guys make. I understand that tracking calories meticulously, long-term is a massive pain in the ass.
I’m not suggesting this, and I don’t even do this myself.
What I do suggest, is to always have a good idea of where you are in relation to your maintenance requirements…because it’s absolutely crucial.
Just winging it can work for the 300 pound guy who wants to unfatten himself. But if you want long-term, consistent success, or if you want to actually achieve something impressive, then you need to understand the fundamental basics.
If you want to KEEP losing fat over the long-term, you need to understand where you are relative to maintenance. If you’re not in an energy deficit, you’re not losing weight – kinda important. It’s a physical impossibility.
This is numbers and physics > guesswork.
Keep a rough track of your calorie intake & protein intake per day (in your head). That’s it. Not difficult.
And after a few weeks of tracking the same food every day, you’ll have the right numbers memorised, even if they’re not 100% accurate, so you end up doing this stuff on auto-pilot, with minimal effort.
Food choices and calories BOTH matter. You need to nail both, not one or the other. Which leads me nicely onto…
4) Using Intermittent Fasting To Make Up For Shitty Food Choices
This is a less common one with guys who have been following me for a while, and for guys who are regular readers of this blog.
You already know which foods are best to focus on (meat, fruit, veggies, eggs, fish etc.), and to avoid things like sugar & alcohol (or at least minimise them).
But a surprisingly large amount of people seem to view Intermittent Fasting as a magic trick. Let me clarify:
They’ll go out on Friday night for their friends birthday, have a few beers, and eat dessert after their main meal. Of course they didn’t fast in the morning, weren’t tracking calories, and made no real plan to incorporate this into their dietary goals, so they go about 1000 calories overboard.
And they panic.
And so they think: “Oh I’ll do Intermittent Fasting today” (and essentially starve themselves), but they’re not learning their lesson, or solving the root cause of the problem; which is a lack of discipline and preparation, accompanied by a dieting strategy that simply doesn’t work if you have a social life.
And so they continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, never getting anywhere near a lean, muscular physique.
Your Intermittent Fasting diet is not a one-off magic trick – it’s a lifestyle.
5) Having A Scarcity Mindset
Again, regular readers of this blog and email subscribers will not think this, as they likely know better. But I need to emphasise this point, as it plays an important role in terms of your overall mindset (which underpins everything):
Intermittent Fasting is not ‘skipping breakfast’. It doesn’t skip anything. It’s simply re-allocating your wasted morning calories towards the evening (when you need them the most), and simultaneously narrowing your eating window.
No skipping anything. No depriving yourself of anything.
You don’t need breakfast, but you do need to feast like a king in the evening, on REAL foods like beef, veggies, steak, eggs etc., NOT cereal or toast.
Learn exactly how to set this up properly and get a custom-tailored meal plan here.
6) Snacking In Between Meal #1 & #2
This is a very common one. Guys will do absolutely fine during their morning fast, have their meal #1, and then immediately want more food. Almost like their meal one ‘stokes’ their appetite.
BIG problem. Snacking will make you consume more calories, be less satiated, and be less disciplined.
And I can tell you for a fact that it’s because something in that meal #1 is wrong.
I don’t know exactly what it is every time, but here’s a list of potential causes:
- Not enough protein
- There’s sugar in there somewhere
- Not enough fiber
- Liquid calories (instead of super-chewy calories, like steak)
- Sauces, spreads, or creams
- Too many carbs (even if they’re slower digesting, like oats)
- Not enough sleep the night before (or it could be an accumulated fatigue)
If you are currently a mid-afternoon snacker, it will be one of the above reasons.
7) Worrying About Post-Workout Meals During The Morning Fast
This is arguably the single BIGGEST concern that people have with their Intermittent Fasting diet:
“But I train in the morning every morning, because it’s the only time I can train. Won’t I lose muscle if I carry on fasting without getting my post-workout nutrition in?”
I understand where this has come from, but the level of fear isn’t justified. It reminds me of women being brainwashed by the whole low fat (but packed with sugar) yoghurt thing. They know it’s BS, but the programming is so strong they carry on buying them anyway.
Men are similar, but mens’ programming is with the 45 minute post-workout ‘window’ myth. You need to keep the big-picture stuff in mind:
As long as you get your total calories and total macros in place every 24 hour period (which the vast majority of people fail to do, so their fear is HEAVILY mis-placed as they haven’t even got the fundamentals nailed yet), then you will not lose muscle.
Calories > Macros > Post-workout timing.
In that order.
Now if you want to guarantee your own path to success and a lean, chiselled physique, even well into your forties, fifties and sixties, then check out my Intermittent Fasting coaching options here.
If you’re over 40, and want to combine all of the dietary advice with a solid, time effective training program, then check out the James Bond program.