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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss? WTF??

In case you haven't heard the latest buzz in the fitness world - Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a growing trend with some interesting studies behind it all. I first heard about it around 2006-2007 when Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat first came out. It sounded like madness, so I immediately dismissed it until now. When I recently saw that most of the fitness pro's that I follow / study were endorsing IF, it became a "things that make you go hmmm & say WTF moment".

So I got a copy of Eat Stop Eat and Fat Loss Forever and started reading as many different articles on the topic as I could find. The info was alarming and shocking but viable enough to cause me to ponder the effectiveness of it all. So I decided to give it a try because I believe everything has to be backed up with experience.

Ok so I followed the 16/8 IF concept for 12 days and I lost 5% body fat, 5.5lbs and 1 inch from my gut. Not super awesome numbers but better than most do in that short of time – the healthy way.
I felt leaner and tighter. I had really good energy levels for the 12 days, which was surprising because I figured my blood sugar levels would bottom out. I did drink a butt load of coffee though and not enough water.

I didn’t lose a bunch of lean body mass or muscle because I did eat the right amount of the right stuff at the right time – which is the true key, IMO, regardless of the protocol that you are following.
My workouts stayed the same. I didn’t time things right or crank it up, I just did the normal routine. That probably hampered my numbers from being bigger. I know I would have done better if I had cranked some metabolic conditioning drills and moved some big weight with some sprints. So I can see how the combo of doing high intensity training along with IF could cause some major progress fast.

Was I hungry? – hell yeah I was freakin starving at the beginning and then after a week I started to adjust and only got hungry at the time my fast ended each day. I didn't like being hungry at all.
Now I’m back to eating 5-6 times a day and I feel better. Being hungry is miserable. IF is not for me. Would I recommend IF to everyone = no. Do I think it works = yes I do. My numbers show that it works. I wasn’t even trying or doing it right and I still pulled off decent numbers. But I won't stop teaching my nutrition plan that is also proven to work. IF has given me an option to help clients who need a different approach.

I think it has a time and a place where it can be super effective. I believe there are very specific people who benefit from IF long term and short term. Example= many of the girls that I train are doing IF unintentionally, only eating once or twice a day with huge gaps of time in between meals and it doesn’t work because they don’t eat enough calories each day. They could flow into an IF program easily and make big things happen.
I'm not going to delve into the how's and why's of IF cause the authors of the books and articles explain it all very well. If you want to know the science and fact stuff then read the articles and books. There are studies backing up everything that is said and that is why I took notice.
So if you are interested in intermittent fasting and think it could fit into your lifestyle, then by all means give it a try. If you want another way to get lean, break plateaus or just try something new, check it out. 

(IF) Resources - If you really want to learn more about this read these articles.

Eat Stop Eat

Fat Loss Forever

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness
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