Three Methods of Intermittent Fasting (Updated)

Three Methods of Intermittent Fasting Image

Intermittent fasting – it is definitely one of the fastest (no pun intended) growing nutrition topics right now.  While it is something I am familiar with, I haven’t talked about it before, except in my interview with Brad Pilon which you can find here.

I don’t think intermittent fasting is a quick-fix for all your diet woes, but I do think it’s a great method that can be sustained long term for many individuals. You can definitely use intermittent fasting as a lifestyle approach for nutrition, health, performance, and body composition goals.

I’ll go ahead and say this first – I think most people can use some form of intermittent fasting for body composition changes. However, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I suggest doing what works best for you.

No two people are the same, and therefore there’s not one universal approach to nutrition, or strength training, that will work for everyone. However, if you want to give intermittent fasting a try, I believe there is an approach that can work for you, and I’ll share them below.

One more thing – keep in mind that I will be sharing my personal experiences with each method discussed; you may experience something completely different when it comes to intermittent fasting.

What Led Me to Intermittent Fasting?

When I got serious about strength training and improving my body composition many years ago, I succumbed to the typical “you must eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day” methodology. I mean, it was (and still is, to an extent) touted as the one and only way to build a lean and healthy body. Naturally, I thought that’s what had to be done, and so I did it fervently.

After following that obsessive compulsive strategy for a year or so, I finally got fed up with the whole thing. I was annoyed with having to prepare so many meals, clean up afterward, and carry around Tupperware.

But for me, that wasn’t the worst of it – I never felt full, I was constantly thinking about food and my next meal, and going out to eat with family and friends was a struggle.

So one day, out of total annoyance and frustration, I just gave it up. I stopped preparing meals in advance. I stopped worrying about the next time I had to eat. I didn’t follow an eating schedule.

Instead of eating according to a predetermined schedule, I ate whenever I was hungry and stopped eating when I was full. I generally went about 14-18 hours between my last meal of the day and my first meal the following day (I usually ate dinner around 6pm and then would eat my first meal around 11am or so the next day). This all came naturally to me and I felt great with my new eating habits. There was no more stress because I didn’t have to eat on a schedule or carry around food wherever I went. Plus, the meals I ate actually satisfied me.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, however, that I realized this style of eating had a name – intermittent fasting.

Please note – while I don’t personally do the whole “5-6 small meals” throughout the day thing, I acknowledge that it does work for some people. Just as I greatly prefer to follow some form of intermittent fasting to achieve my goals, numerous others prefer to eat small meals throughout the day because they enjoy it and it allows them to achieve their goals.

Again, I encourage you to do what works for you and do what you enjoy – whether that means employing a method of intermittent fasting or eating several small meals throughout the day. I don’t care what you do as long as it makes your life easier, simpler, and leads you to your goals.

I encourage you to read the following information with an open mind. You just may stumble upon something that makes your life easier.

There are several forms of intermittent fasting, but I will only be discussing the three methods I have tried personally.

  • 24 hour fasts, one to two times per week
  • Daily 14-16 hour fasts
  • Daily partial fasts for 20 hours with one big meal
  • UPDATE Hybrid system using all 3 methods above

We’ll tackle these methods one at a time.

Fasting for 24 Hours, Once or Twice a Week (Eat Stop Eat)

This is the method promoted by my friend, Brad Pilon. I did an interview with him a couple of years ago which you can find here => Fasting for Weight Loss. He also later shared A Hidden Benefit to Intermittent Fasting. (I encourage you to check out both of those articles).

To keep things simple, I’ll outline the main points and my experience with this method.

  • To give an oversimplified explanation – you go 24 hours without food. That means if your last meal was at 6pm today, then you wouldn’t eat until 6pm tomorrow. However, you can, and should, drink plenty of calorie-free beverages.
  • Incredibly simple to use, and, in my opinion, the easiest to put into practice out of all the IF methods discussed – you just don’t eat anything for about 24 hours once or twice a week. You can freely drink water and other non-caloric beverages during the fast, but no food. After the 24 hour fast, you eat a regular meal. As Brad explains, “The best way to eat after fasting is to act as if you didn’t fast”. Don’t overeat because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours; just eat a regular meal.
  • It’s effective – I have tried it, many of my clients have done it, and those who use Brad’s Eat Stop Eat and get phenomenal results are way too many to list. It works (I’m a proud affiliate for ESE; please note if you click that link and make a purchase I’ll receive a commission).
  • It’s flexible – For those who prefer this method of intermittent fasting, it’s recommended that they fast on their busiest days. This way you don’t focus on not eating food and potential hunger, but instead you can be very productive. Also, if you know you have a family event or other social gathering planned, you can adjust your fasting days accordingly.
  • Numerous health benefits – Brad discusses these in his book, so I won’t go over them here. Simply put, fasting provides numerous health benefits beyond fat loss, and that is always a good thing.
  • Did I mention it’s really simple? I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible, especially when it comes to eating and losing body fat. With Brad’s method of fasting you don’t have to count calories, weigh food, or even restrict your favorite foods. Therefore, there are no “forbidden foods”.
  • Brad’s system in particular is very “freeing” for many people who use it. They’re no longer required to count calories or even restrict their favorite foods. Many people who’ve been OCD with dieting in the past can’t believe how easy this method is and the amazing results it produces without any stress.
  • This method may be too difficult for some people – some individuals simply struggle with going extended periods of time without eating. Some people get headaches, fatigued, cranky, or just too anxious. In my experience, however, many people “grow out” of this after a few fasts. If you still want to give this method a try, I suggest “breaking in” to fasting, and just go as long as you can at first and gradually increase the fasting phase over time.
  • For some people following a 24 hour fast leads to binge eating – even though you should eat a normal meal after the fast, some people think they are entitled to eat anything and everything they want as a “reward” for fasting for 24 hours. This can be remedied with some self control, but some people are just apt to binging after abstaining from food for too long.

Recently Brad wrote an excellent article – Fasting, You’re Doing It Wrong – that highlights some of the most common mistakes people make when fasting along with some other very useful information. Be sure to check that out.

Daily 14  – 16 Hour Fast (Leangains method)

This form of intermittent fasting is used and promoted by Martin Berkhan. He has done an incredible amount of research on the topic as well, and his results and those of his clients speak the truth of his system.

  • Men fast for 16 hours each day and women for 14 hours
  • Oversimplified explanation – if your last meal is at 8pm tonight, you wouldn’t eat again until 10am (women) or 12pm (men) tomorrow. Personally, I have no issues going the whole 16 hours and occasionally go to even 19 hours depending on my work and training schedule.
  • As with the previously discussed method of intermittent fasting, you don’t consume any food or caloric beverages during the fasting period. Water, sugar free gum, and other non-caloric beverages are okay.
  • This method, in my experience, is incredibly easy to sustain long term and to follow every day as it’s very simple to implement.
  • This IF method generally means you’ll be skipping breakfast. For some people this could be quite difficult at first, especially if they buy into the whole “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mindset. Some people also feel sick, sluggish, or light headed if they don’t eat first thing in the morning. Me, I’m never hungry in the morning so it’s no issue.
  • Martin suggests eating three meals a day without any snacks in between, but also says two large meals is fine, too. Since you’ll only be eating three (or two) times per day, you’ll be eating larger meals, and that means you’ll actually feel full. This is a huge plus for me.
  • Having a social life is much easier than with other dieting methods (as was the case for me with eating 5-6 small meals each day). Because you can eat larger meals, it’s easier to go to restaurants and social gatherings without having to stress about what you’re going to eat.
  • This type of intermittent fasting can be used for fat loss, building muscle, and even maintenance, so it’s adaptable for any goal.

Daily 20ish Hour Partial Fast (The Warrior Diet)

This style of intermittent fasting is known as The Warrior Diet and was created by Ori Hofmekler. Basically you perform a 20-ish hour partial fast every day, and then have one large meal at night.

  • During the fasting part of the day, you can consume a few servings of raw fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit/veggie juices, and a few servings of protein (protein shake, some nuts, boiled eggs, etc) if desired. These are kept quite small.
  • You eat your main meal at night. Ori has guidelines for what to eat, and in what order to eat certain foods (veggies first, then meat, etc).
  • Some of his recommendations are quite rigid and can be difficult to follow long term; at least in my personal experience.
  • Having to eat such a large meal at night doesn’t work for everyone. For example, I personally don’t like how full I feel after eating such a large meal. Then again, some people absolutely love it.
  • It can be difficult to get in all of your fruits, veggies, and protein with just one large meal.
  • It can lead to binging on the wrong foods. Some people will inevitably think, “Well, I haven’t eaten hardly anything all day, so I can eat anything I want”. Then they end up eating nothing but pizza, wings, and cookies every night.
  • You don’t have to worry about food all day. For many people, this is the greatest benefit of the Warrior Diet. Since you do the vast majority of your eating at night, you don’t have to worry about preparing food during the day.
  • It saves money. You won’t be eating as much as you usually do, so you’ll likely save some money on your food bill.
  • Increased energy levels – many people, myself included, tend to experience greater energy levels when fasting. This was the case, for me personally, with all three of the intermittent fasting methods I’ve used.
  • This method is probably best suited for fat loss and not building muscle mass. Again, others may have a different experience.
  • Can be difficult to work around social gatherings that take place during the day.

Fat Loss Forever IF Method

What do you get when you combine the most well known intermittent fasting methods – Eat Stop Eat, The Warrior Diet, and Leangains – and put them into one method? John Romaniello and Dan Go did just that and “created a ‘hybrid’ fasting program that took all of the popular methods and combined them in the most intelligent and sophisticated way, all for one purpose; to use the strengths of each method to cancel out the weaknesses of others” and created their own version — Fat Loss Forever. (That’s an affiliate link).

In addition to combined the three IF methods discussed above, they also incorporated a method Roman termed Feast/Fast. In a nutshell, this method includes an entire cheat day followed by a 36 hour fast.

The authors state the following about Fat Loss Forever:

This program is intended to do two things:

1)      Offer a 12 week program that will help you burn fat faster than ever before.

2)      Help you keep the results for your entire lifetime – via the incredible benefits of intermittent fasting – by providing you the easiest nutrition lifestyle ever created.

After reading the FLF manual and looking over the accompanying components, here are my thoughts. Please keep in mind this is strictly MY opinion based on the materials and my experiences.

The information is presented well, and it’s also an entertaining read, which is nice. The various fasting days are arranged in what the authors say is the simplest and most effective way possible. The longest fasts will be on the days you’re busy allowing you to focus on being productive and you won’t worry, and hopefully won’t be aware of, potential hunger. And, if you like cheat days, then you’re going to love this method because you get one every single week.

They also provide several training programs which are put together well and you can get away with using only your bodyweight and dumbbells, so training at home is an option. The only potential downside here is that some of the workouts may be difficult to perform as written in a crowded gym.

What are the potential downsides of FLF? First off – if you don’t do well with intermittent fasting, then you definitely won’t like this. Also, you have a specific IF method to follow on certain days, and that, for some individuals, could get confusing or be too challenging. My other main concern is that people will overdo the cheat days and eat tons and tons of food that is nothing but processed, trans-fat laden crap, even though the authors say, “Do not use IF as an excuse to eat crap”. If you don’t handle cheat days well, then this may not be the method for you.

With that said, if you like to have things laid out for telling you exactly what you should do so there’s zero guess work on your part, then Fat Loss Forever may be the method for you.

Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?

If you think a method of intermittent fasting could greatly simplify your nutrition, then maybe you should give it a try.

I think it all comes down to some personal experimentation. You may prefer one method over the other, or you may prefer to use each method at different times just for the sake of variety and to change things up (I currently do this).

And, please, don’t think you have to “convert” to intermittent fasting just because it’s the next big thing. Intermittent fasting works, no doubt about it, but I still suggest you do whatever works for you and your lifestyle. Whether that means eating 5-6 small meals per day or adopting a form of intermittent fasting – just do what works for you.

As you’ve seen in this article, I’ve used, and enjoyed, different methods of IF. But, over time, it just wasn’t working for me anymore. You can see my experience in Is There a Dark Side to Intermittent Fasting? in addition to what I do now.

And please keep in mind, no method/nutrition approach will produce the results you want if you’re constantly stressed out and miserable. You need to find a method you enjoy and that you can sustain long term.

I’m Interested . . . Now What?

If you’re interested in trying one of the methods of intermittent fasting discussed above, I strongly advise you to read the author’s own words and apply the method in the way he provides. The information above is based on my experience and only scratches the surface of each author’s method. All too often people half-ass apply what they read or tweak things from the beginning, and then after they don’t get results they write the program/method off as a complete failure.

Don’t do that. Do what the author says and apply as written.

-Brad Pilon’s method (once or twice a week 24 hour fast) can be found here 

-Martin Berkhan’s method (daily 14-16 hour fast) can be found here

-Ori Hofmekler’s method (daily 20ish hour partial fast) can be found here:

The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse For High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body

-John Romaniello’s and Dan Go’s FLF system can be found here.

 

 

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  • “I freaking LOVE this info! I'm determined to be a Beautiful Badass!” -Tina V
  • Gwen

    Great post Nia. I am intrigued by IF and have tried it myself on occasion. I am curious as to your results on these 3 trails and which one you found to give you the best “results”.

    I have done fasted training, one pre-wkout meal followed by a large post wkout and then final meal, and the 5-6 meals a day. I can say that I'd much rather do the larger less frequent meals over the 5-6 meals. I, too, never really felt completely satisfied on the 5-6 meals a day.

    I also have not really noticed a difference in my training with doing fasting workouts. I, do notice that if I do too many days of that in a row my energy fails a bit, which leads me to believe I may not be consuming enough once I do break the fast.

    Anyway, great post and very informative. Thanks!

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    I will talk more about my results in the future. For the past several months I have been fasting for about 18 hrs per day, and I eat twice per day.

    I didn't really set it up this way intentionally, it's just what I started to do naturally. More info to come.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristi

    I've been looking into the 'ESE' method lately and am pretty sure I'm going to give it a shot. My issues with eating 5-6 small meals a day (which I've been trying to do for about a year) is that I seem to be thinking about food ALL the time, which causes me to binge. So in effect, these 'small meals' aren't so small and then I'm just a bloated hot mess. I've actually gained weight. Some muscle from lifting heavy, but if I'm being honest, a little more fat than I'm comfortable with. Anyone that sees me would laugh at that statement, but we all have a comfortable way of feeling and when my pants are tight I can be a real PITA. :)

    I kind of feel like I'm in 'information overload' regarding eating and food and it's made me obsessed. Not a fan of that as I've never been 'that girl'…. so this actually seems like something that would work for me. If I think about it, an IF approach is similar to how I ate as a teenager and in my early twenties, naturally, before over thinking it and trying to find the 'best' way, which I suppose we all know doesn't exist.

    Thanks for this post Nia! Really got me thinking.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    I know exactly what you mean!

    Like I mentioned, eating several small meals throughout the day works very well for some people. You and I are a lot alike – I think you'll do well with intermittent fasting since you actually get to feel satiated since you'll be eating larger meals.

    And you won't be thinking about food near as much either.

    Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

  • Gordo

    What are the main goals –as you see them –for a person fasting?

    I ask because you can't get to a goal unless you first *have* a goal –and know what you're trying 2 achieve..

    The 5 main things I recall about what fasting can achieve are the following:

    1) Cleanse the body of toxins

    2) Religious reasons

    3) Discipline reasons

    4) Save money

    5) Lose weight

    I would also add that right before I fast (which is not very often), I try to eat a lot of soft fruits and vegetables and/or fruit veggie juices. This is, to put it politely, to help push the digested food out of my body before I stop eating, since, of course, when I stop eating, the food remaining, gets 'stuck' in my alimentary canal, and I would rather have as *little* stuff in my for the next few days as possible.

    One last thing: I recall that the 2nd and 3rd day of any fast are the hardest, as the body “gets used to” going without food –and the 4th to 8th days are easier, since my body has figured out how to metabolise & burn the fats & proteins –after having used up the sugars & other stored carbs.

    PS: Thank you for reminding us to start back “easy” when beginning to eat again –the body is not used to food and has to be reintroduced to eating slowly –moreso if the fast is like over several days.

  • Penny

    So glad you provided this summary of some of the IF options. I have been seeing so much about it I wanted a bit of a summary about the foundation of this type of eating and the different approaches.

    Right now I am trying not to overload myself with so many eating and training options and just commit to one for a period of time and see what kind of results I get (keeping it simple). I've got a grasp on the 5-6 meals throughout the day and it works for me and my lifestyle quite well right now. However, I will look foward to trying IF at some point.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    That's good to hear.

    Definitely keep things simple. If what you are currently doing is working well for you, then stick with it.

    If/when you feel like a change is needed, pick a method that is simple and fits easily with your lifestyle. Never force anything to fit, no matter how great someone claims it may be.

  • Dawn Davis

    Funny, my BF who was a wrestler and wresting coach always used to say “just don't eat” when I woud say things like I need to lose a few lbs or I need to workout harder or more. I would always dispute that saying that wasn't the way to do it because I too was programmed to believe the 4-5 meals a day thing since I've been working out. I certainly can't tell him he's right…. haha, but turns out he is! Thanks for this info, I”ve been experimenting with the 16 hour fast, but only a few days a week to start. I kind of like it actually since I have a lot of digestive issues anyhow and it's nice not packing a bunch of food for my work day. Thanks for this summar of each Nia!! Love your website!

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Dawn- Yep, I definitely feel better too when I do some form of intermittent fasting. I feel better when I don't have my digestive system loaded with food all the time.

    Keep me updated on your thoughts and experiences with intermittent fasting.

  • Claire

    Everything you said about the small meals in your blog and what Kristi said in the post above sounded like me a fortnight ago…I was obsessed with eating 'small' meals all day and trying to keep those 'lean', all I thought about was food and I felt AWFUL. I'd binge every weekend until my stomach hurt just to feel full. I saw a sports nurtitionist and I've switched back to eating 3 times a day, eating more fat & feeling full at each meal. My recovery is far, far better, I can do mobility without having to take painkillers first (seriously) and my strength has returned. Daily intemittent fasting looks like it'd be pretty easy for me, so I'll give it a go.

  • http://www.granthestonfitness.com/blog Grant Heston

    I just wanted to say thanks for the great article. I personally have used Martin and Brad's approaches with great results. I am sharing this article with all of my clients as a good starting point to learn about the different approaches to intermittent fasting. Thanks again!

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Thank you! I appreciate it. : )

  • http://www.workwifemomlife.com Julia Ladewski

    My husband and I have been doing the no breakfast thing (carb backloading by Kiefer) for several months now. I was amazed by my energy level… surprised that I wasn't starving in the morning. basically, we skip breakfast (except for coffee), eat normal lunch, protein shake snack and dinner. this is the leanest I've been … almost ever. and my strength is great.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Wow. That's awesome to hear. I've heard about the back loading but haven't tried it yet myself. Thanks for sharing, girl! Can't wait to watch you dominate at the meet this weekend!

  • R Smih

    Nia,

    As always, a great read. A breath of fresh air: Your common-sense approach.

    RS

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Thank you!

  • http://rippedbody.jp Andy

    Mia, I read this and it's pretty much exactly the same story as mine as to what led me to IF in Japan.. Looks like you're having success with this blog too. I look forward to reading more.

    Where are you based?

    Andy.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Ahem. My name is Nia. :)

    I'm in Kentucky right now.

    Glad you like the information!

  • Kiki

    Dear Nia,

    Thank you for all the good information you shared in this article, I have started the 24 hour IF method since September the 13th. I am doing just fine and have much more energy, feel more awake in general and do not suffer from cravings at all.

    I eat dinner time around 6.00. I do not eat huge meals as I do not find myself as hungry as I was before I started IF.

    Now I have a question to make, I am 46 years old, I am already postmenopausal, my body has changed completety, nothing new I guess, I am actually 2 sizes up to what I used to be.

    Will IF help me to lose weight? Is it healthy for postmenopause?

    I have 12 kilos to lose if I want to get back to my previous weight.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks again for sharing, very much like your website!

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Yes, IF can help you lose weight. I hope you're also following a smart training program as well. ? Strength training is vital, in my opinion, for women.

    “Is it healthy for post menopause”? I don't really know how to answer that question as I'm not entirely sure what you mean.

    Have you read Brad's Eat Stop Eat (http://eatstressfree.com is my link)? It goes into detail about the additional health benefits of fasting beyond weight loss.

    If you have any other questions, let me know.

  • Mel

    Hi!

    Thanks for your post!

    I would like to start IF (16-8 version) – I was wondering if it is possible to start the fast after a training.

    I am planning having my last meal around 4pm, training around 6-7pm and fast until 9am the next morning. Would that make sense ? Or is it bad for recovery?

    My workout is a mix of cardio and kettlebell or weight training.

    Thanks

    Mel

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    I definitely recommend eating after you train. Research is just too convincing to do otherwise. Just push the fast back and skip breakfast the next morning.

    Hope that helps.

  • Mel

    Thanks for the quit reply :)

    I will start 4 times a week to see how it goes.

    It is mostly hard mentally to skip a meal – I was educated with the importance of eating my 3 meal a day, even if I was not hungry ! ;)

    Mel

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Yeah, I definitely understand.

    An easy way to “break in” to the whole intermittent fasting thing is to push back your first meal of the day, little my little.

    Try to push it back 1 hour and stick with that for a while, and then two hours, etc.

    Keep it simple and start easy.

    • Leah Hanson

      Nia,
      I have to take synthroid which has always thrown my breakfast back 2 hours…and l felt cheated and not able to do the “rev up your metabolism by eating breakfast” approach.. Thank you so much for this article… IF is sometimes medically necessary and I never knew how to incorporate it with my workouts and that 5 or 6 small meals mindset… THANK YOU so much!!!!

  • http://jdboelter.blogspot.com James Boelter

    Hey Nia,

    Great article, packs a lot of info in a very small space and makes it very easy to process.

    I tend to put more credence in IF since I read “The Alternate Day Diet”, which advocates cutting back to 20% of your “usual” calorie consumption every other day. The author's justification is that this practice turns on a gene that increases your anti-aging and rejuventaion capabilities (and, of course, means that you average 40% fewer calories over the week.)

    Do you give any credence to the idea?

  • http://Gordon_Watts.tripod.com/consumer.html FLASH Gordon Wayne Watts

    Wow! This article is becoming popular…

    @ Nia – I could not remember where I'd seen your comment about eating twice/day, but here it is, in your reply @ Gwen, where u said: “”For the past several months I have been fasting for about 18 hrs per day, and I eat twice per day.”"

    My thoughts… at first, I thought that this was way too infrequent, but I recall times where I've slept for close to 20 hours, and when that happens, I'm lucky to eat even ONCE a day, and so your practice of eating twice per day is probably something I do more often than I consciously recall. (I.e., I get busy too & skip meals randomly.)

    @ James Boelter — your question about the relationship between fasting and aging is one which I've studied when in college (FSU, go 'Noles!), and if you click on the link on my name above, you can see some of my research — in short, my theory is that occasional fasting allows the body to get rid of toxic waste products, thus promoting a cleaner biochemical environment, and thus allow the telomerase activity to proceed unabated, and thus 'fix' the ends of the chromosomes that would otherwise age.

    In section IV. of my Position Paper linked above (“Why eating too many calories can reduce your life span”), I list theories by others as well, which includes this gem:

    “”(#8.) “Harman: It was first shown in the mid-1930s that reducing caloric intake would increase both the average and maximum life spans and decrease disease incidence. I believe that this result was due to decreased free radical damage owing to decreased oxygen utilization. Glycosylation may play a minor role in this effect as glucose levels go down when calories are restricted.”"

    Nia, you said you had 'More info to come' on your fasting views, and I'd like your thoughts on James' excellent question, and my response, if u get a chance.

    Thx!

    — FLASH

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    I'm not a fan of alternate day intermittent fasting – it's too difficult to stick with long term, and I don't think it's optimal for people who engage in challenging and progressive resistance training.

    The other methods mentioned are more appropriate, in my opinion.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    That's why I suggest people do what works for THEM. While I do well eating only once or twice per day, a lot of people wouldn't. Everyone needs to experiment to discover what is optimal for them and what fits best into their life and with their personality.

  • Mel

    Hi!

    Does IF (8-16) also means having only 2 meals a day? I started 2 weeks ago slowly and I have a snack around 10h30, lunch at noon, snack at 4pm and last meal at 8-9pm. How does that sound? Should I got off the snacks? (I workout at 6pm)

    Would you recommand IF to people that trained 6-7 hours a week?

    Have a nice day :)

    Thanks,

    Mel

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    If you're interested in the 16/8 IF method, I definitely recommend looking at Martin's website, linked in the article.

    I believe he recommends mostly 3 meals a day, but says 2 is also fine. Look at his guide that I linked too, as he is the expert in that area.

    IF can work with any type of training, so I wouldn't worry about that.

  • https://profiles.google.com/104440166440169700478/about Roleigh Martin

    You should add a 4th book/method on Intermittent Fasting. The Fast-5 Diet by a M.D. at http://www.fast-5.com — the ebook is free. The idea is you eat whatever you want between 5pm and 10pm daily. You're doing a daily 19 hour fast. So medical info on hunger mechanisms not explained in Eat-Stop-Eat. I alternate between Fast-5 and Eat-Stop-Eat myself. For instance, after an Eat-Stop-Eat fasting day, I'll eat normally the next day but the day after that, a Fast-5 diet. Then resume Eat-Stop-Eat the next day.

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    Yes, I have read that book before but since I haven't personally tried that method, I chose not to include it here.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Andrea

    Hi Nia,thanks for all this great info. I love the Girls Gone Strong and I really appreciate all the great information you all share with us.I read all the links that you suggested and I think that fasting 14 hours would fit well in my lifestyle since I work from 9-5. My workout is at 530pm. If I break the fast at 12 I should have a pre-workout snack before 530. Can you suggest what this snack could be? Im trying to think of something that would be quick and convenient since I will be at work where I dont have access to a kitchen so it needs to be a portable snack. Thanks again! :)

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    That depends on what you like, but something like cottage cheese and a banana would work well.

  • Salmat

    Hi Nia,

    I am so glad marianne gave me the link to your site as she said you explained the IF better. I just want to say you have done a good job explaining it and I personally think I would go for the 18 hours fast which I think would fit around my work and all. I am not a fan of eating breakfast and as much as I try to stick to eating 5-6 meals everyday it never seem to work because my meals are not actually small though I keep trying to convince myself that it is small and I keep putting weight on instead of reducing considering the exercise I do. I am so glad I came across IF as I keep searching for a better way to lose weight. Fasting is not a new thing to me as normally due to religious purpose I fast usually every Monday and thursdays but a different way, you have to eat as early as 4am or 5am and break at about 7pm. I would still continue with my religious kind of fast as it has to be that particular way and then I would do the IF on other days. Thank you so much for explaining it so well and keep up the good work!

    Cheers

    Salmat.

  • Raylene

    Nia,

    I want to start doing IF 14 hours, but wanted to ask you about the need for a post-workout meal. Due to my schedule I do KB/BW conditioning in the a.m. as soon as I wake up. Is it necessary for me to have something post-workout? (Such as a small BCAA shake)

    Thanks!

  • http://www.beautifulbadass.com Nia Shanks

    If you want to use the Lean Gains approach, I definitely recommend checking out Martin's website (provided at the bottom of the article). He provides guidelines based on the time of day you train. Thanks!

  • http://intermittent-fasting-secrets.com/ al90

    Nice post – you lay out intermittent fasting in an easy to understand way. Thaks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708596712 Sara Ann Mason

    I’ve read lots of similar things about the possible fasting methods, but nothing much on dealing with what happens to you when you don’t eat for extended periods of time. That’s what I’m the most curious about. 

    • Nia Shanks

      What do you mean by “what happens to you when you don’t eat for extended periods of time”?

      • Mel

        what about the whole your body goes into starvation mode? is that not what would happen if i fast for 2 days a week? Also what effects does it have on women and fertality.

  • Natsma

    I would just like to know, how do you get  enough protein  in when you fast especially if you train hard? and when do you take all your vitamins? do you take it on an empty stomach?

    • Nia Shanks

      Good question. Getting about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight isn’t difficult for me at all. For example, I’ll train today and during my workout I drink a protein shake with about 30 grams of protein. Later I’ll eat a big bowl of cottage cheese (about 30grams protein) and mixed berries. For dinner I’ll easily 60 grams or so.

      It’s not hard to do if you center your meals on a high protein source. 

      The supplements I currently take are fish oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, creatine, and ZMA. I take the ZMA at night, the creatine in my protein shake, and the others after dinner.

  • Ck25

    Is it okay to have coffee with creaming during fasting window?

    • Nia Shanks

      Technically, you’re not supposed to consume anything with calories during the fasting period. However, I do drink coffee with some half ‘n half in the morning because I love it, and I don’t want to obsess over something so insignificant. But, there’s a difference between 20 calories of half ‘n half and a “coffee” loaded with sugar, etc.

      • ssohara

        I have been doing IF along with a “clean” diet – I shop around the borders of the supermarket. I have dinner at 7pm and skip breakfast – I’ll have lunch anytime between 11-2pm depending on when I feel hungry. However, I have 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning with cream (no sweetener). That doesn’t seem to have a negative impact for me, though it might affect other people.

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  • Mtchl10

    Do you adjust your training schedule when you’re fasting then? I guess I’m confused.. can you still lift heavy (run, spin class, etc) on a 15-hour fast, for example? Thanks!

    • Nia Shanks

      I’ve ran sprints and lifted weights after fasting for a little over 20 hours. I do just fine, but can’t recommend it for everyone. Some people don’t do well training fasted – it’s definitely an individual thing.

  • Gabbie

    So do you every get hungry during an intermittent fast? And are you fasting from liquids too? I’m thinking about trying but I’d like to know more of the rudimentary ideals behind the methods…

  • Lebenhack

    I really like the Leangains IF but the only problem I have had is getting enough clean calories in my 8 hours.  I am training for a marathon and try to eat about 2200 calories a day and 140g of protein.  What I found with this form of IF is I tended to eat junk to meet my calorie needs (obviously wasn’t meeting my protein either).  I try to eat really clean and I just can’t get 2200 calories in 8 hours without feeling sickly full.  And I can put food away!

  • dime

    I like the alternate diet-One day you eat 500 calories(600 for men) and the next day you eat whatever you want! It is so easy and it really does work.It is the most successful diet i have ever followed.

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  • Cesar

    Can I eat fruits before I start going to work or lift weights or do I have to wait till my eating window ??

  • Brian

    Hey Nia,

    I have been doing IF for about a week now. I stop eating around 9:30 p.m and dont start eating until 2:30 to 3:30. It has been going great, but I’ve been finding it hard to resist energy drinks during my fasting time in the morning. I’ve been drinking a Rockstar energy drink that has 20 calories and 2 grams of sugar. Is doing this breaking my fast?
    Thank you for the great article!

    • http://www.facebook.com/denislavs1 Denislav Stoyanov

      20 calories won’t break your fast

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  • http://twitter.com/vblean Electra

    Love this compilation lady! I naturally feel best with a 12-14 hr fast each night and will work on keeping it around 14 hrs and am going to look into Mark Berkhan’s method. Thanks for all the info! Keep rockin’!!

  • Jim

    I have been doing IF for 3 months now. After experimenting a bit I’ve settled on fasting (6-7pm til 6pm following day) on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays. I’m not a health fanatic, I’ve been doing no exercise at all and when I’m not fasting anything goes – KFC, MacDonals, Chinese you name it. I know this is not ideal, but so far I’ve lost a stone and it has been effortless for me. Now that I’m lighter I am way more up for improving other areas of my health and look forward to working out and eating a little more healthily.

  • AnnaCraft

    I am intrigued by this post and would love to try IF at some point if it has worked for you. I do have a few concerns, however, that I was hoping you could clarify or address for me! I am a nurse practitioner and one of the trends we have been seeing in healthcare lately is an increase in type two diabetes in seemingly healthy (i.e. not overweight individuals. Typically, these individuals are females and in the younger years of their lives. You can read about this phenomenon here: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/type-2-diabetes

    The main concern here is a growing population of “skinny-fat” women who are intermittently starving themselves and binge eating or drinking (sugar alcohols are just as bad as corn syrup!) causing major spikes and depressions of blood glucose levels and glycemic index. This is the same pathology that can lead to type 2 diabetes in overweight people who are simply just binge eating. Exercise can help prevent this as the article I shared details, so obviously you have managed to find a good balance. I am just curious as to what you would add to your article in light of this caution, maybe a time schedule so that the fasting is not constant or a mandate for exercise and low glycemic index foods! I, myself will caution women reading this who think that this is a good “quick and dirty” weight loss tool. Don’t wind up with type-2 diabetes!

    -Anna

  • Stacey

    Hi Nia! I appreciate all your blog posts. I want to give IF a shot – maybe start with the Leangains method. I currently eat 6 little meals and it’s become too much of an obsession for me. I see that Leangains should be a lifestyle, but are there any benefits/harms to doing it a few times a week? I know the Eat Stop Eat is only twice a week, but how about Leangains? Thanks so much!

  • Monica, thewellwithall

    Thank you for this post! this is so helpful to read about yours and other experiences with IF. Your info is so detailed, yet tailored to the individual, which is so appreciated. I’m new to IF as a lifestyle and this was really super encouraging and helpful!

  • Jasamin

    Thank you so much! This was the information i really needed. :)

  • Cameron Ladd

    I’m glad to see that women can benefit from this too, because I’ve read that IF can be more problematic for women.

    Fore me, the FULL fasting for 20 hours followed by one big – I should call it “ongoing” – meal works gangbusters, and doesn’t feel like “dieting.” I’ve tried “breaking my fast” earlier in the day – between 12 and 1PM – and have put on the weight. Regarding muscle-development: “IF” (pun intended) this method hinders muscle development, maybe the LeanGains system would be better, except for my gaining the wrong kind of weight by also having a lunch earlier. Regardless, I’m doing fine as it is.

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  • AO

    I’ve been doing some form of fasting now for years and didn’t even know that it was called IF, until the past couple of years.
    I do my best workouts on an empty stomach, so I haven’t eating breakfast in years and I workout 2 or 3x a day while fasting 16-20hrs.
    I did start adding some form of non calorie BCAA’s during my workouts, so if you stay hydrated and add some type of BCAA’s to your workouts, you’ll be fine.
    Now it is true that you do have to find what fits you and what works for you, so start off with a 12hr fast and then slowly increase it as you go.
    You still try to eat clean with in your window, it doesn’t mean eat what the hell you want lol.
    So just like anything else, moderation and keep challenging yourself.