What is Intermittent Fasting?
It is a term used for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.
Types of Fasts
- 16/8 this method involves fasting for 14-16 hours and restricting your daily eating hours to an 8-10hour window. Typically this means you have your last meal at dinner and then skip breakfast the next morning. For example, finish eating at 8 pm and don’t start eating again until 12 pm the next day. You can, however, drink non-caloric beverages for example water, tea, and coffee. This can help to reduce hunger levels.
- 5:2 for this method you eat normally for 5 days of the week and then fast for the other 2 days of the week. On fasting days, its recommended you eat 500-600cal a day
- Eat-stop-eat for this you fast for 24hr hours 1 or 2 days of the week. Again you are allowed to consume as many non-calorie beverages (water, Black tea, and coffee) as you like during the fast.
- The Warrior Diet- (fasting all day and feasting at night) you can eat a small amount of fruit/veg during the day and then you have one massive meal at night. The diet also focuses on eating a Paleo-like diet (whole and unprocessed foods).
- Alternate day fasting (fasting every other day)- this is a rather extreme diet, fasting every other day. Some versions of the diet allow you to eat 500cal on fasting days.
So far I have only tried the 16/8 diet. I think this seems like the easiest to implement into everyday life as generally, you finish your evening meal and then only have to fast until midday the next day.
Training and Intermittent Fasting
The one area I was always a little bit unsure about when IF was how I would find it with Training (especially morning training at 6 am). For example, if I am doing a 16hr fast and not eating from 8 pm until 12 pm the next day, would I find that it would negatively impact my recovery from training ……
So far I have found that it hasn’t affected my recovery at all.
Nevertheless, I am only a couple of days into 16/8hr fasting and I’m sure I will struggle at some point. For this reason, I have been looking at supplements that people had taken when intermittent fasting and training that may aid recovery and stop protein breakdown.
The most popular supplement seems to be Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA):
BCAA’s are a popular supplement especially for bodybuilders as they said to be helpful in maintaining muscle mass, particularly when in a calorie deficit.
During fasting, they help keep protein synthesis stimulated and prevent protein breakdown. Most people consume them throughout the fast (pre and post workout).
I have to say BCAA’s are controversial as they are a source of protein and protein is effectively breaking the fast. For the next 2 weeks, I will fast without the use of BCAA’s. After that, I will try a week with the use of BCAA’s and let you guys know how I find it.
I have to say I have 2 black coffees in the morning and find these give me a great pre-workout boost!
Next post will be on the advantages and disadvantages of Intermittent fasting and why I am trying it out.
I would love to hear your views and experiences of intermittent fasting 🙂