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Intermittent fasting facts and fiction explained: by RickRock

RickRock

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Some of you may have heard of Intermittent Fasting, or "IF", but what is it? Intermittent fasting is a type of nutrient timing diet. There are a lot of variations of intermittent fasting out there, but the most popular versions of IF are alternate day fasting (ADF) and the Lean Gains style of IF.

Basically, intermittent fasting is a period of fasting (consuming no food, and usually water or low/no calorie drinks) for a specific time period followed by a period of eating the days caloric and macro requirements. For the purpose of this article, I will be referring primarily to the 16/8 "Lean Gains" style of IF, since it is more suited for the bodybuilding lifestyle of muscle gain and fat loss.

What are the benefits of IF?

1) IF results in increased insulin sensitivity, which will give much better nutrient partitioning especially when in conjunction with resistance training.

2) the possibility of complete body recomposition of adding muscle and dropping bodyfat simultaneously through utilization of nutrients responsive to the requirements and goals for that day.

3) metabolic increase from fasting

4) suppressed appetite while fasting by normalizing grehlin "the hunger hormone" levels (especially beneficial when trying to lose bodyfat)

5) convenience- IF is a much more manageable meal plan, without having to worry about eating every 2-3 hours or 6 times per day.

6) leniency- many have found that you can get away with eating much more liberally with IF, in terms of both quantity and quality of food versus other dieting plans

7) increased energy and mental clarity during the fast (contrary to popular belief)

8) overall health benefits-IF has been scientifically proven to improve blood lipids, lowered triglycerides, reducing inflammation, improving biomarkers of disease, improving brain function, and increasing HGH levels among others.

9) Maintenance of low bodyfat-Through IF, I've been able to stay in single digit bodyfat year round, despite my goal, and with a great deal of leniency in my diet

As you can see, there are many benefits to intermittent fasting. IF goes against a lot of the bodybuilding pop culture ideas of what it takes to build muscle and/or lose fat. So lets debunk some of these "myths" many of you may have heard before.

Popular Myths about intermittent fasting:

1) you must eat small, frequent meals to keep metabolism boosted. This couldn't be farther from the truth. While metabolic increase happens every time you consume food, the metabolic increase is directly proportionate to the thermic effect of the food (TEF). For example, if you have a 3k cal diet for the day, your TEF would be no different if you had six 500 cal meals versus three 1,000 cal meals. The metabolic increase from TEF would be the same at the end of the day.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155494

2) You must eat every 2-3 hours with adequate protein to prevent becoming catabolic- Another old school myth debunked by real world science and results. The fact is that the more protein you take in, the longer it takes to digest. Consuming larger amounts of protein in a meal just takes that much longer for the body to digest it, allowing a steady amount of aminos and protein synthesis to happen up to 40 hours after ingestion.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9405716

3) fasting will cause muscle loss- this goes hand in hand with number two. As pointed out, consuming a High amount of protein in a meal before fasting will result in a very slow and continuous release of aminos into the bloodstream for the fast, so catabolism is not an issue.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413096


4) eating smaller, frequent meals helps regulate blood sugar-Despite what many people think, you blood sugar will not drop as a result of fasting or missing meals. As a matter of fact scienitific evidence suggests your blood sugar wouldn't change by fasting for a day, a few days, or even a week. You are not smarter than your body, and it will adapt to meal patterns and changes by regulating itself through homeostasis.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18779282

5) Fasted training causes a decrease in performance and fatigue-This is one of the biggest myths out there and data suggests that there is no negative performance to resistance training or amoebic activity in a fasted state. There is however, a decrease in performance if exercising without proper hydration.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3622486
 
nice man thanks for posting. you should add the bcaa stuff you talked about in the other post as well and the hitt/steady state differences. i know that opens up a whole diff debate and all hah. i'm sure most people are interested in your real world experience anyway
 

RickRock

Community Leader
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nice man thanks for posting. you should add the bcaa stuff you talked about in the other post as well and the hitt/steady state differences. i know that opens up a whole diff debate and all hah. i'm sure most people are interested in your real world experience anyway

I may do some more material on IF for everyone if the interest is there. I have a few article projects in the works that should be some nice material of things that aren't covered often as well.
 

ironlifter36

Active member
Member
Very well written and very informative Rick R. Definitely sticky material here..right under Nutrition 101. Thanks for the share
 

Guarionex

Senior Member
Like it. There are days when one simply does not feel like eating. Organizing an IF schedule and fitting those days in can have great results. Planning and organizing are key.
 

RickRock

Community Leader
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Like it. There are days when one simply does not feel like eating. Organizing an IF schedule and fitting those days in can have great results. Planning and organizing are key.

Absolutely. I had great success on IF, and the simplicity of the diet made eating a very fun time I looked forward to, rather than a chore when it came to the every 2-3 hour thing. I was always ready to devour my meals and I really enjoyed them....rather than having to force feed at times with a traditional diet
 

1959er

New member
Member
Great stuff Rick. I've been IF'ing for 6 years now (16/8 leangains style). I used to be committed to 6-8 meals a day for 30 years! I have more energy and stength now training fasted than I did with three meals under my belt before my workouts.

And on a side note, pulsing all those meals every day led to dreadful IBS for me. Since the very first day I began IF, I haven't had one single bout of it! Six years!

Every bullet point you posted here has rung true for me. Great post brother.
 

RickRock

Community Leader
VIP Moderator
Great stuff Rick. I've been IF'ing for 6 years now (16/8 leangains style). I used to be committed to 6-8 meals a day for 30 years! I have more energy and stength now training fasted than I did with three meals under my belt before my workouts.

And on a side note, pulsing all those meals every day led to dreadful IBS for me. Since the very first day I began IF, I haven't had one single bout of it! Six years!

Every bullet point you posted here has rung true for me. Great post brother.
Thank you for the feedback brother. I sincerely appreciate It! I still do IF on weekends mostly out of schedule convenience but I'm strongly considering going back to it full time, which is a big part of why I'm bringing this topic to light again. I never felt better than when I was on IF, and the leniency and benefits it provided me in my diet can't be compared to anything else
 

sdfa

Member
Member
Excellent job writing this brother, surely makes IF more easy to comprehend for many!
I'm a fan of IF as well & always been since first tested it couple years ago
 

hellzone

Member
Member
Thank you for this write up, I'm starting to consider IF. Keep rolling with it.

Is IF still beneficial if it's done only 2-3 times a week? Im sure it's more beneficial If you can do it full time...but if you cant.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

RickRock

Community Leader
VIP Moderator
Thank you for this write up, I'm starting to consider IF. Keep rolling with it.

Is IF still beneficial if it's done only 2-3 times a week? Im sure it's more beneficial If you can do it full time...but if you cant.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Yes, it can still have benefits doing it just part of the time, but obviously the benefits are best when this is done daily,mas with any diet
 

Joe S.

Active member
Member
Great post and very interesting, can you explain the 16/8 for someone not familiar with how that works or what exactly it means? are you not eating for 16 hours or 8 hours? getting all the calories in one meal a day or how many per day? or just how you plan a day of it. Sorry if dumb question lol.
 

ironlifter36

Active member
Member
16 hours would be the fasting window, with an 8 hour eating window. Example you could eat between 1pm-9pm in basically an meal frequency you wanted, however the common practice would be say 2 smaller meals followed by 1 large meal. I have tried IF before and must say it does have it's pros when trying to cut. The first is the number of meals you have to prep per day, much easier to prepare 3 meals rather than 6. Also, each of the 3 meals has more calories/volume and therefore is more filling.

Let's say you are going to cut on 2100 calories:

With 6 meals that is roughly 350 calories per meal about every 2-3 hours on average.
With 3 meals on an 16/8 protocol, that would about 700 calories every 2-3 hours. Or you could have 2 smaller 500 calorie meals pre-workout followed by a big 1100 calorie meal post workout. If the meal is healthy and clean, 1100 calories is a lot of food and extremely filling.

Also, IMO, IF is great for people who don't want to meticulously count calories and macros. Eat relatively healthy foods with sufficient protein within an 8 hour window and you should be fine.
 

Joe S.

Active member
Member
Nice, thanks for explaining, that's kind of right up my alley then. May have to look into doing that beginning next year.
 

RickRock

Community Leader
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He covered it pretty well, but there are a few things I want to point out. There are no set number of meals. Most people do 3 or so. I've also done just two. Whatever meal is the first one after your workout will be your largest meal. For me, this was my fast breaking meal since my training was done fasted. That meal would be 60% or so of my daily intake of calories, protein, and carbs. I usually got over 100g of protein and 150g of carbs in that meal.
 

Joe S.

Active member
Member
Just looking at the clock I almost do this already Mon-Fri , I eat dinner around 5 right after the gym and usually nothing after that until 8 the next morning, maybe a glass of water. So that's roughly 15 hours hmm... well I have coffee in the morning starting at 5:00 does that count? Or is it just food.
I could probably add an extra hour and eat breakfast at 9:00 instead of 8:00 if that hour would make a big difference, not sure.
 

1959er

New member
Member
He covered it pretty well, but there are a few things I want to point out. There are no set number of meals. Most people do 3 or so. I've also done just two. Whatever meal is the first one after your workout will be your largest meal. For me, this was my fast breaking meal since my training was done fasted. That meal would be 60% or so of my daily intake of calories, protein, and carbs. I usually got over 100g of protein and 150g of carbs in that meal.

Ditto Rick! That's me almost to a tee! Love that meal that breaks the fast after the workout.
 

1959er

New member
Member
Just looking at the clock I almost do this already Mon-Fri , I eat dinner around 5 right after the gym and usually nothing after that until 8 the next morning, maybe a glass of water. So that's roughly 15 hours hmm... well I have coffee in the morning starting at 5:00 does that count? Or is it just food.
I could probably add an extra hour and eat breakfast at 9:00 instead of 8:00 if that hour would make a big difference, not sure.

Joe, you are close to the protocol already. I drink black coffee (no cream or sugar), and water all morning during my fasted window. My workout is 12 noon. (I do have some BCAA's before the workout but im still considered the be in a fasted state according to the protocol) Then my feeding window is 2-10 pm. Huge meal at 2. Moderately sized dinner. Casein protein shake before bed at 10 pm.

And yes, If you can hold out on breakfast till 9, that would be ideal.
 
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