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Is intermittent fasting good for weight loss?
The short answer is yes.
When weight loss is the goal you must create a calorie deficit.
This means burning more calories than you take in.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool to have in the flexible dieting toolbox.
First of all, what is intermittent fasting (IF)?
In the simplest terms IF is a planned decision to skip meals (fast), and only eat during specific time periods in the day.
The goal is to control calorie intake in order to cause the body to burn through it’s own energy stores (ie…body fat).
Styles of Intermittent fasting
Listed below are a short description of three of the more popular methods of IF.
Lets take a deeper dive into each of these techniques now.
•The 16/8 Method→
The 16/8 concept was popularized by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.
This method calls for fasting 16 hours per day and eating all your calories within an 8 hour window.
Actually easier than it sounds.
Eat dinner at 6pm → Eat breakfast the following day around 10am.
The 16/8 concept is powerful because you can use it daily, for years and years and years, to take advantage of hormone management and reap the maximum benefits from IF.
It’s the least challenging and most sustainable way to fast; and the method that fits most reasonably into everyday life.
•The 24 Hour Fast→
The idea of the 24 hour fast was popularized by Brad Pilon in his excellent e-book “Eat-Stop-Eat”.
The concept of the 24 hour fast is that once every week, or two, you go a whole day (24 hours) without eating.
For example you eat on Friday at 7pm and then your next meal on Saturday at 7pm.
There is thought that some of the hormonal benefits from IF will not kick in until longer periods of fasting.
Twenty four hour fasts have gained popularity in the past few years, however, I suggest that you work up to these by using shorter duration fasts.
I personally follow the 16/8 method almost daily (now it’s second nature), but every 4–6 weeks I’ll do a 24 hour fast from a Friday night to a Saturday night.
There appears to be benefit, but again, I would slowly work up these longer fasts.
I’ll also talk about what you should drink during these long fasts here in just a second…
As the name implies this method of fasting occurs when you randomly skip meals.
This happens most often from just living busy and hectic lives.
If you already randomly miss meals throughout the week you should probably tread carefully if you are thinking about additional planned fasting.
Lets call the random fasting method, “Life just happens”.
Combining intermittent fasting with exercise for weight loss
Just to recap, intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool for controlling calories coming in.
Combined with exercise, you now have a potent one-two punch to KO unwanted body mass.
But, what is the type of exercise, you ask…
To that I say strength training and high intensity intervals, such as wind sprints.
Strength training will help you preserve your muscle tissue while you lose weight.
High intensity exercises like wind sprints (or hill sprints) will help crank your metabolism up to 11, causing you to burn more calories throughout the day, than traditional cardio.
The debate of high intensity interval training vs. cardio is a whole other post in itself.
Final thoughts on is intermittent fasting good for weight loss…
Intermittent fasting is a great weapon in the fight to lose weight. If you’re new to fasting I recommend starting with something resembling the 16/8 style.
So, fast for 16 (ish) hours and eat within an 8 hour (ish) window. This is the simplest technique of intermittent fasting, and a great place to start from.
To rapidly speed up your weight loss results consider adding in strength training and/or high intensity interval training throughout the week.
I wish you the best of luck on your quest.
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