Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity in recent years as the “secret” to fat loss. In reality it has been an interesting concept in the fitness and weight loss world for awhile. Here are my two cents from personal experience and research.

The background of intermittent fasting:

  • The idea that if you don’t eat from an extended period of time, like say 8-16 hours your body begins the process of fat burning. In theory, fantastic for fat loss!
  • As I just mentioned above, there are different ways to fast and different lengths of fast. Some experts say fasting from the time you wake up to 4pm is ideal. Others say until 2pm. Still others say until noon. Either way, 8-16 hours of no calories is an intermittent fast. Similar to what you would do before a blood screening at the doctor.

The physiological benefits:

  • There is some research to say that intermittent fasting will improve insulin sensitivity. AKA, how your body “handles” carb intake. The better your body can “handle” carb intake the easier fat loss will be.
  • There is some research to say it increases natural growth hormone in the body, which helps in gaining lean muscle. No this not the same as Ryan Braun juicing, your body has natural HGH, he just needed more to recover faster from his minor injuries he always seems to suffer from.
  • There is some research to say it increases cognitive function.
  • There is some research to say it forces the body to burn stored fat instead of carbs. Sounds great right??

The lifestyle benefits: The real benefits in my mind!!!

  • By eating for only 6-8 hours per day instead of 12-16 hours per day there is a better chance that you stay within your calories for the day. For example, if you are shooting to eat 1500 calories per day it should, in theory, be more difficult to eat above 1500 calories in 8 hours than in 16 hours.
  • You can eat larger meals; for example 3 meals of 500 calories instead of 6 meals of 250 calories. This is good if you have busy lifestyle and snacks are hard to come by.
  • If you are carb cycling and are on a low carb/low calorie day this allows you to eat all your carbs in larger portions later in the day.
  • Can “somewhat” help balance out the extra calories from drinks and high fat food from a night out.

When intermittent fasting isn’t a great idea:

  • If you do better eating 5-6 smaller meals/snacks per day, spaced 2-3 hours apart.
  • If you have to eat breakfast every day to get your day going. This isn’t a bad thing
  • If you are guy (or lady I guess) trying to put on weight and you are in a calorie surplus. Trying to fit all those calories in to 8 hours will be much more difficult. Spread them out over 12-16 hours.

I personally have found that fasting until noon 1-2 times per week has helped me reach my goals of keeping body fat levels where I want them. Here is when and how I fast:

  • On days when I do cardio I go low carb. On these days I fast until noon; only drinking water and taking AdvoCare’s Fiber supplement (30 calories…so not a perfect fast…oh well) to fill my stomach before noon. This allows me to eat my small amount of carbs in larger portions, which I find is more filling.
  • I fast on most Sunday’s if I have drinks and have a cheat meal on Saturday. I find it helps me keep my calories low (ish) on Sunday to help balance out my calorie surplus on Saturday. This is one of the most important things in my mind in avoiding a weight gain of 3-5lbs on Monday morning. Even though this is mainly water weight it can be very discouraging psychologically to see that scale number up. Fast on Sunday’s!!!
  • Some times if I know I am going out to eat with drinks on Saturday I will fast on Saturday too. This allows me to eat more at my cheat meal. Don’t worry I still hit my protein number before I ate that cheat meal though.
  • I like the challenge of fasting until noon. It’s out of my comfort zone…everyone needs more of that.
  • I have found I stay more focused on the mornings I fast. Increased cognitive function?? Maybe slightly
  • It mixes up my week of eating. This is important for your body to be constantly adapting to changes in your nutritional approach to fat loss.


  • Intermittent fasting isn’t the secret to your weight or fat loss. But, it can be a great tool!! Too much of good thing can also be bad….find a balance of approaches to your nutrition.
  • Fast on Sunday’s after going out on Saturday!!
  • 1-2 days per week of fasting is plenty. I still think a quality, protein filled breakfast is important on most days for most people.
  • Throw this in to your nutrition plan if you need a jumpstart or to get yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Drink a lot of water/tea/coffee and stay busy until the fast is over!
  • Fasting until noon is good. Maybe until 2pm.
  • After your fast, continue your day of eating as planned. Make sure you are getting extra protein at each meal and snack to catch up on your protein you missed out on in the morning.

Try it this weekend!

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