What is Intermittent Fasting? Does it work? How does “starving” myself make me healthier? Can I grow muscle following this eating routine? These questions are asked over and over by people who have not yet caught up on the principles of Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) and why it has gained so much traction over these past few years.
So where do we start? How about with how Intermittent Fasting is practiced. I.F. is basically varying intervals of not eating and eating. The time between each of these periods is dependent on the individual and the I.F. protocol they are following.
I.F. has some major health benefits that have been researched over the past few years that are hard to argue. These include improved hormonal regulation, reduces the risk for coronal artery disease, improves brain function, improves hunger control and much more.
Considering the diabetes epidemic we are facing in the U.S. these days it might be a clever idea to look to alternative ways of eating. I.F. allows our Pancreas, the organ that secretes insulin, to take a break from the constant rush of sugar we intake daily. This can create a healthier and more balanced sensitivity between the two which can decrease the risk of Type-II Diabetes.
So how do you practice this in a daily routine in our high-streaming, inter-connected world today? There are 2 methods that have stood out to me more than the rest as far as delivering positive results. Each is unique and has its own purpose.
– Lean Gains a.k.a 16/8 Fasting
This method of fasting is geared towards a specific population – Fitness-oriented people. It’s focused on creating and/or maintaining lean mass and has been tried and tested for years proving itself as a method that works. 16/8 basically means you fast for 16 hours followed by 8 hours of eating however many meals you desire. This ensures you acquire the full hormonal benefits of Growth-Hormone – which is elevated while fasting – while also allowing you more time to eat. This plan is more concrete and repeatable than most as it can be followed daily in a more routine like fashion.
Eat-Stop-Eat a.k.a 24-Hour Fasting
Unlike the Lean Gains Fasting approach, 24-hour Fasting is more of every other day or do it when you like method. To put it simply, following a meal of your choosing – let’s say you ate last at 7 pm – you will not eat again until 7 pm the next day. Though it may sound extreme to some it is highly practical and has great benefit. As stated before, Growth-Hormone is elevated after lengthy periods of fasting so your body will gain even more benefit due to the extended period. This creates an environment that is beneficial to gaining and maintaining muscle.
Overall, there are large stocks of evidence-based research on the internet backing this often-questioned nutritional approach. One of the best components of I.F. is how personalized one could make it and how it has many forms of practice. I encourage you to do your own research and see for yourself the many benefits Intermittent Fasting could have on your health and wellness.
Kamb, Steve (2017) The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/a-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/
Clear, James (2017) The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting. https://jamesclear.com/the-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting
Born in South Florida and initially exposed to fitness training through the bodybuilding scene, Connor found his interest in fitness was less of a hobby and more of a lifestyle. This led him to study exercise science and sports nutrition at Eastern Connecticut State University and thereafter to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
Over the past few years, Connor has made training a necessity in his life. His workouts are taken as a time to reflect and test his mental and physical limits that continue to give him an edge to carry throughout his day.
Connor is currently the Head Trainer and Strength Coach at a private gym in Hartford, CT where he trains and educates his clients on the importance of fitness and nutrition for overall health. "
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