I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz recently around something called intermittent fasting or IF for short. While this isn’t necessarily a new concept it’s gotten an insane amount of attention lately in the health and fitness world, and for good reason. I’m going to go over what IF is, the benefits associated with it, as well as how to do it properly/safely.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is defined as fasting entirely for a specific interval of time in order to receive various health benefits. The most common method used and a great way to start as a beginner to IF, is the 16:8 method. This simply means eating all of your calories in an 8 hour window and fasting for the other 16. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is by skipping breakfast (I’ll mention some small hacks so you don’t feel like you’re dying) and eating between the hours of 11am-7pm. Feel free to tweak these time frames however you’d like because all that matters is the 16 hour fast. This method can be done every day of the week if you’d like but I personally like doing this for 5 days of the week so I can have some nice breakfasts on the weekends.
If you’ve already got some fasting experience and want to take things up a notch you could try a full 24 hour fast up to 2x per week. This is fairly difficult for most people (I personally don’t do this often due to my hangry attitude all day). You can get some wild benefits from doing the full 24 hour fast but you get almost as much from the 16:8 method so it’s ultimately up to you and what your body tells you.
Benefits to intermittent fasting:
I’m actually writing this article “mid fast” after finishing up my morning workout and I feel freaking incredible. The main reason for this is fasting can help put your body closer to a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body shifts from using carbohydrates as fuel to using fat as the primary fuel source. The ketogenic diet has become quite popular due to the many benefits that come from ketosis (one of which is a heightened mental state and boosted energy). Small hack while you’re fasting if you want to help your body dip into ketosis: take an exogenous ketone supplement in the morning as a pre workout.
Aside from ketosis one of the primary reasons so many do IF is for something called autophagy. Autophagy is like a cleanse for the cells in your body. Your bad cells die and are replaced with new badass healthy cells. This is one of the most beneficial things you could possibly do for your body. Healthy cells mean a longer lasting, healthier, happier you.
On top of these already wildly epic benefits, IF has been shown to increase your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%! If you’ve been looking to shed some unwanted pounds, it might be time to go on a fast. Other benefits received from those who’ve done IF are: HGH (human growth hormone) production, increased insulin resistance, BDNF production (new brain cell growth), lowered inflammation, cancer prevention, and even a longer lifespan. I know this list sounds to good to be true but it’s real people. Feel free to check out the sources for all of these benefits as well as more info on IF here.
A couple of hacks to make fasting more tolerable: Take a supplement with catechins (EGCG) to curb your appetite and provide antioxidants (green tea extract which is found in Boost is a good source). Things like black coffee are technically allowed because it keeps your body in a fasted state so you could try that as well (especially helpful for longer fasts). Finally I’d look into getting yourself some polyphenols, these are like the holy grail of antioxidants for your cells and help with fasting tremendously. Last but not least, stay freaking hydrated people.
Intermittent fasting is something most people can benefit from which is why I encourage you to try it out for yourself. I should note that if you have an existing medical condition it’s always best to talk to a health care physician before practicing anything like this. IF has changed my life and I hope you’ll take the first steps to trying it out along with other biohacks.
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