What is intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting became popular in the last few years and is simply consuming your calories for the day within a specific time window. For example, you could fast for 16 hours of the day and then can eat during the remaining 8hours. You can then choose which time period you will eat for and when is the most convenient for you. For example, you could eat from 4 until 10. But the rest of the time, no smoothies and no eating!
Not as easy as it sounds – trust me
What are the benefits of this type of plan?
Well for starters (a nice diet pun) if you are in the later stages of a diet or on a highly restricted diet, you can get very hungry between meals because you are nexer full.
It is a real pain in the a**. For example 1400 calories split evenly between 6 meals (typical bodybuilder style) would equa roughly 233 calories per meal which is equivalent to about two bananas, this is not very filling in the slightest. However, if you split these calories between a short time frame of eight hours between 3 meals you would have roughly 466 calories and so you would be able to satisfy your hunger urge.
Scientifically speaking, Intermittent Fasting is meant to help with the release of growth hormone, fat loss and perhaps ease potential bloating in the intestines leading to improved absorption of nutrients.
Great, great I’m already sold, shut up and take my money. However, not so fast cowboy, curbing your hunger during the day can be really difficult. You can consume low calorie beverages such as coffee, water, teas (hold the sugar and the milk) and perhaps flavoured amino acids as well. So, your choices are quite limited. At social gatherings can become quite challenging. However, some people found through personal experience that Intermittent Fasting (after the first few challenging days) can lead to increased energy. So maybe think about giving it a try!
So this all sounds, well not great, but pretty interesting. Any other drawbacks or side effects?
Imagine your macros for the day have a 270 g protein requirement. Now, this is not too high considering the average male is 180 pounds, with 1.5g per pound of bodyweight of protein. (This is a generalised daily protein requirement by the fitness community). This would then require you to eat 32-33 ounces of chicken breast cooked (907-935g) or 34-35 (963-9992g) ounces of a typical steak. So nearly a kg of meat sources within a few hours. Now you would need to gain quite a big appetite from your 16 hours fasting to be able to consume this volume of food. There is another point to consider. Do you think your body can absorb that quantity of food, all the nutrients, vitamins and trace minerals it contains within that time-period and not severely stress your internal organs?- not so convinced anymore?
A combat argument to negative views of Intermittent Fasting is that mankind is not made to constantly ‘graze’ upon food and that many, many years ago during the times of our predecessors, they would be out hunting, gathering and foraging for food and would survive on a similar type of diet to Intermittent Fasting. So we should attempt to try this as a lifestyle.
Many people have seen that it provides great benefits for losing weight, but what happens if you want to gain weight?
This is a more complex issue, that normally the fitness industry leans towards the idea of Intermittent Fasting being more suited towards losing weight. Personally, I have tried it with ‘great success!’ (need a certain movie character’s voice here), however, I will not be trying it again in the near future. From a personal perspective it led to rapid weight loss but also, I believe muscle loss. However, on the other hand, once or twice a week I believe it can be beneficial to assist with reducing bloating within the stomach. So, give it a try, but it does not have to be a new lifestyle.