I am fan of intermittent fasting and teach the approach to my personal training and handy plan weight loss club clients.
This article will outline some of my most tried and tested intermittent fasting tips.
On first glance, many people are worried about the term ‘fast’, thinking they are going to avoid food for days and end up starving! Furthermore, a basic lack of understanding about fasting has lots of people concerned about the catabolic effects on muscle tissue. In reality, most of the critics I have spoken to are people who haven’t actually read any of the research or tried the approach themselves, yet have done what people often do when their long-held beliefs are challenged – tell you why it’s wrong without having researched the topic!
An intermittent fast is a managed period without food – it allows your body to run on stored fat, making you leaner. Additionally, research has shown that occasional fasting also increases levels of growth hormone in the blood when coupled with a high intensity exercise protocol, making it an excellent double-whammy for fat loss!
Applied properly, it could give your fat loss a significant boost. As I mentioned earlier, I teach it to my clients and give them strategies as to how they can fit it into their lives with the fewest negative effects.
Below are a couple of recent case studies I have from real-life clients. I can assure you 100% these results are genuine.
85.9kg Total Body Mass after 4 weeks IF 81.4kg (4.5kg or 10lbs DOWN)
64.8kg Lean Body Mass after 4 weeks IF 65.3kg (0.5kg or 1lb UP)
21.1kg Fat Mass (24.5%) after 4 weeks IF 16.1kg (5.4kg or 12lbs DOWN)
79.5kg Total Body Mass after 4 weeks IF 75.8kg (4.1kg or 9lbs DOWN)
60kg Lean Body Mass after 4 weeks IF 62.4kg (2.4kg or 5.3lbs UP)
19.5kg Fat Mass (24.2%) after 4 weeks IF 13.4kg (6.1kg or 13.4lbs DOWN)
I could go on and tell you about Chris, Amy, Catherine, Ian etc who have all had similar results, but I would be labouring the point, which is used correctly, intermittent fasting WORKS and works well!
Intermittent Fasting Tips
So how do I teach Intermittent Fasting?
I make it suitable for the client. I always suggest that the client fasts after an indulgent day. In the Handy Plan I suggest a cheat day once per week, so an ideal time to fast is the day after, when blood glucose is probably elevated.
Tip 1: Eat a large, protein-heavy meal before you fast.
There is nothing worse than feeling really hungry, so plan ahead. Before I fast I eat a large meal so I don’t feel as though I haven’t eaten for a long time! Last week I fasted on Sunday, so this was my meal on Saturday night….
Nobody said fasting has to be done in the day time to work, so use sleep to your advantage! My approach to fasting is to eat an evening meal and then not eat again until the following lunch time – a good chunk of which is taken up by sleeping. There are no medals for starving, so limit the time you are awake without food!
Tip 3: Train at the end of the fast.
I strongly advocate eating as soon as possible after training, so if you are going to train during a fast, do it at the end so you can eat immediately afterwards. Get your timing right for best results!
Tip 4: Up your fluid intake during fasting.
Common knowledge tells us that hunger is often dehydration, so prevent this being an issue by staying well hydrated throughout your fasted waking hours. The increased bulk in your stomach from the liquid will trick the body into feeling full. Personally, I allow clients to drink coffee and tea during a fast, but I want them to keep sugar to a minimum, so that is out apart from an occasional level teaspoon worth.
Tip 5: Eat sensibly after the fast.
When you come off the fast, the temptation is to eat junk as you have been avoiding food for 16-24 hours. DO NOT DO THIS! Effectively at this point you are a nutrient sponge – what you eat will be used, so eat well and fill your body with good quality vitamins, minerals and protein, not sugar, chemicals and preservatives!
These are the general guidelines I set for my clients when they are fasting, and they have worked so far. I typically teach a 16-18 hour fast and very rarely stretch it beyond this as I don’t feel it is necessary. By planning your week you can throw in a fast or two, keeping your progress good whilst you enjoy the occasional indulgence!
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone, and I have never claimed it to be, but I use it, my clients use it and it works for us. You don’t have to be intimidated by the idea of not eating for a few hours – we are designed to do it and done properly, you will feel great and lose lots of body fat doing it!
One final bit of advice – with fasting, sometimes less is more. However tempting it might be to fast repeatedly and for longer in search of quicker fat loss results, you are likely to catabolise muscle and in the long term, slow down your progress, so fast intelligently!
If you have enjoyed this article and these intermittent fasting tips, please share it via social media and email!
If you would like Personal Training in Stockport or Cheshire, please contact me on Steve@Hoylesfitness.com or 07866361964.
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