For years I struggled to get in shape and for years I struggled with low energy. Looking back, what I was fuelling my body had a huge impact. I ate processed food, a lot of sugar, and typically didn’t eat enough making me crave food I could get short term fulfilment from.
This poor diet led to low energy levels, no real motivation or drive and I put me in a depressive state.
As always I was on the hunt for the next quick fix ‘diet’ that would get me results quick, in which I stumbled across Intermittent Fasting.
At first it seemed impossible, it seemed like starvation in return would get me results but in turned into a lifestyle change which has benefited me hugely.
In this Quick Fire episode I talk about what Intermittent Fasting is, how it benefitted me and how it can help you…
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Based off LeanGains.com the basic principle behind Intermittent Fasting is a fast of 16 hours and an eating period of 8 hours. A fast simply means consuming 0 calories within your fasting period, and consuming all of your calories within your eating window.
At first it seems difficult, it did to me, not eating for 16 hours? But when you think about an average night sleep of 8 hours (where you’re fasting) you only need to stop eating 4 hours before bed and 4 hours after.
During the fast you can consume water, coffee, tea, and the odd splash of milk isn’t frowned upon. But trying to keep your calories to a minimum whilst your fasting is recommended.
For example, if you stopped eating at 8pm the night before you’d consume your first meal at 12pm. You’d then have between 12pm and 8pm to get in all of your meals.
This is the basic principle and how I started.
What I Do
I shy away from the ‘eating periods’ as it was often hard to get all of my meals in an 8 hour eating window. I still fast for 16 hours (and sometimes above) but I focus on just pushing my first meal of the day back.
Lets say I had dinner at 9pm, I’d know that 1pm the next day would be the 16 hour fast over but I try and push that meal back as far as possible. Sometimes I’ll do a 17 hour fast, an 18 hour fast, sometimes 20 and above. It really does depend on how I feel and how far I can push that meal back but I always hit at least 16 hours.
During my fast I’ll consume some calories. I found that your fast isn’t something you turn on and off. I’ll drink a lot of water throughout the fast and often have sparkling water if my hunger takes over. Drinking both water and sparkling water really does help with hunger.
I workout in the mornings, so I workout in a fasted state. Therefore I take pre workout before and drink 10g of BCAA’s throughout my workout. I’ll also have a ‘Bulletproof Coffee’ about an hour after my workout which consists or Organic Coffee, Grass Fed Butter and Coconut Oil (sounds crazy but it again helps with hunger, boosts my energy levels and tastes awesome)
The other thing I sometimes consume in my fasting period is fruit. I may have an Apple or a Banana again to help with hunger. If I do consume fruit I’ll try and push the first meal back further than 16 hours.
My first meal typically is Lean Mince, Broccoli and Rice. It’s around 600 calories. I’ll also have a protein shake either before or after the first meal. My second meal comes a few hours later, again it’s a big meal getting in my Protein, Carbs and Fats. Ill then eat dinner about 8pm which again is in alignment with my Macros (normally Steak!)
I’ll consume about 2,500 calories in the day, and by eating high fat (good fats like Coconut Oil, Grass Fed Butter, Avocado) I don’t crave sugary treats.
I’ve experimented with Intermittent Fasting over the past few years but what I’m currently doing right now benefits me the most. I don’t feel hungry, I prepare most of my meals to stop grabbing something not healthy and I’ve increased my Fats which seem to help with cravings.
How It Helps Me
Weight loss has obviously been a key benefit to using Intermittent Fasting, and because I try to implement weight training into my workout routine 4-6 times a week I’m gaining muscle mass in the process.
Personally the biggest benefit for me right now is my energy levels. Food is hard to digest. When I eat in the morning I feel tired and most importantly I feel like I want to eat again. When I’m fasting my energy levels are sky high. I get most of my work done in the morning, my energy levels when I workout (in a fasted state) are also high and I feel awesome.
I also enjoy food more. Before I used to eat for the sake of it, whether it be boredom or because I craved sugar. Now I enjoyed eating, I eat nutritious meals that fulfil me and I don’t struggle with cravings.
Intermittent Fasting Advice
If you wanted to give it a go, focus on just pushing that first meal back as far as possible. Whether it’s 14 hours on day 1, or 20 hours on your first attempt just try and push that first meal back.
Some people often say skipping breakfast isn’t recommended, but you’re not skipping breakfast. Breakfast is you breaking your fast, you’re just pushing breakfast (meal 1) back.
It’s also important to note that Intermittent Fasting might not suit everybody. For me it works perfectly. Listen to your body and find something that suits your needs and stick with it.
Consistency is key. I wish I was more consistent with my nutrition and workouts as I would have seen results quicker. As soon as I ate the same macros consistently everyday, as soon as I stuck with Intermittent Fasting and stuck to a workout plan I enjoy I started to see change.