Doing a lot of fitness and health related reading this year over the web and magazines I’ve heard a lot of people talking about the benefits of “Intermittent Fasting”. For those that don’t know, fasting is going without food for a certain period of time. Intermittent Fasting is going without food for a certain time period, usually 24 hours or less.
One of the so called experts of Intermittent Fasting I’ve been following is Dr John Berardi who has gone into a lot of detail about fasting on his blog based on research and experiments with himself and his clients.
The benefits of fasting from food include reducing blood pressure, inflammation, risk of cancer, oxidative stress, increase fat burning, cell repair, growth hormone release, improve appetite control, and blood sugar control.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t for everyone Berardi states, especially pregnant women and people who have or have had eating disorders. *Update: I’ve read studies that fasting isn’t healthy for the female body. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t recommend fasting if you are a female. Stick to general fat loss tips*
There are two main ways to fast that are supposedly safe and beneficial for your health. The first is a periodic fast where you will be fasting once per week or LESS for 24 hours. An example would be to eat your last meal on Saturday night for example at 10pm, you would then fast until 10pm Sunday night, where you would then have a small meal before bed and return to normal on Monday. The second type of fasting is a daily fast, in which you eat for 8 hours during the day and fast for the other 16. An example of this would be eating from noon until 8, and then fasting from 8 on to noon the next day.
Personally I just tried fasting for my first time yesterday with a bit of success. I wanted to ease into it as I am going to try and do it once per week for the next three months. I planned on fasting Monday while still training in the early afternoon so I allowed myself one ISO-100 whey protein shake with water, ice, and a banana (in a blender) during the 24 hour “fast”. My last meal was on Sunday at around 9:30 pm, and then I woke up had a Greens shake, went to the gym a few hours later, had my one protein shake after my workout to allow my body to recover, and then didn’t eat until 7:00 pm. I lasted about 22 hours, and although I didn’t hit my goal of 24 hours I was happy with how my first intermittent fast went.
I also took it a step further and fasted again from last night until about 2:oo pm today, with a protein shake and meal after my workout late this morning.
My plan is to now fast every Monday from Sunday late until Monday late where I will eat just one meal. I think I am going to continue to train on Mondays and will probably keep it to just a protein shake after my workout, the Greens drink as I want throughout the day as recommended, and the BCAA while working out.
One of the main benefits that is talked about with fasting is learning to control your hunger, which I already noticed in my first day of fasting. Hunger is usually in your head and the more you think about the more you will feel hungry. I was able to shut that off most of yesterday, and felt like it really helped being able to control my appetite.
Another benefit is the fact that your body is getting additional rest while fasting. Roughly 70% of energy your body uses during the day goes to digestion and conversion of food into energy. That is pretty crazy and something I didn’t even think about. Fasting should help you sleep better and wake up earlier feeling refreshed. I noticed that this morning as I felt pretty good when I woke up earlier than normal.
Anyways, I am going to continue to test out fasting every Monday and see how it goes for me. I will post updates here as I go along with it. If you’ve tried fasting before or are inspired by this post let me know in the comments below how you like it.