What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting. There are a few different popular types (you may have heard of ‘The Warrior Diet’), but for our purposes, please think of I.F. as purposefully skipping breakfast. Of course, there is a little more to it that, but for now, please think of it in those terms.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
- Lack of hunger while dieting
For a person looking to lose weight, this is one of the biggest benefits offered by I.F. as opposed to other dieting systems. After a few days of starting the diet, the body’s hormones, notably the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, get used to the new eating pattern and adjust accordingly.
For the dieter, I.F. offers something very unique, in terms of enjoying physically and psychologically satisfying meals while losing weight. The absence of hunger and cravings are also a welcome feature when using I.F. for weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, the fasting phase has a suppressive effect on hunger. Hunger pangs may come, but they disappear quickly, to be replaced by a sense of well being and total absence of hunger. -Martin Berkhan
- Increase in mental focus and concentration
During the fast, your body releases more of the stimulant hormones, catecholamines. Mental focus is increased, productivity goes up, and you’ll feel more involved in whatever you’re doing. Most people find this particularly pronounced during the last 4 hours of the fast.
- More stable energy levels and improved mood
With fewer meals, your blood sugar levels will be kept more stable, leading to more constant energy levels, helping to avoid the risk of developing diabetes. (Here is an excellent article.)
Also, not having to worry about meal timing is a welcome relief from the irritable feeling that is often found by those used to dieting by eating many meals throughout the day.
- More fat burned
After eating, there is no fat burning going on. -Your body uses it’s glycogen stores (from the carbohydrates you eat) for energy. However throughout the fast your body gradually switches from glycogen stores to using body fat for energy. After 16 hours of fasting, you are burning almost entirely fat. (Click here for more detail.)
A full list of benefits and including links to the relevant clinical studies can be found on Wikipedia, here.
What is ‘LeanGains’?
‘LeanGains’ is a type of I.F. pioneered* by Swedish nutritionist Martin Berkhan. It was put together based years of reading the results of scientific research on fat-loss, muscle building, training, and fasting, his own experimentation, and the actual experience of working with hundreds of clients over the last 4 years.
The method, though constantly undergoing tweaks, is very solid now and works so well because he doesn’t have a hidden agenda. He’s not there to, and never has been there to sell us anything, and I am grateful to him for this. While some nutritionists or trainers get stuck in their dogma, I have no doubt that when enough solid new research comes along that suggests an improvement can be made with the method, rather than resist, he will incorporate and make the amendments necessary. It is this lack of ego and objectivity that has made it so spectacularly effective to hundreds of people.
I would highly recommend you check out his blog www.leangains.com, if you’re stuck where to start then try the ‘results’ and ‘most popular’ tabs.
- Click to go back to the the guide.
- Click to see the results.
- Don’t forget to explore using the tabs under the banner up top.
Many people have created their own diet and training plan following the guidelines and had great success. However I appreciate those that there are those that may feel overwhelmed, or just want a diet plan made simple for them. The expert on the topic is Martin himself, though I do offer personal diet and training consultations utilizing I.F.. For more information please click here.