Intermittent Fasting benefits are popping up all over your feed. Friends and colleagues are talking about using it to manage their weight and feel better within themselves. You’re not exactly sure what Intermittent Fasting is, or what the benefits are. We understand. In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions, plus more. Keep tuned.
A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and best doctors.Mark Twain
Let’s start with fasting, how it started, and how Intermittent Fasting fits into the picture. We’ll then discuss Sports Samurai’s 15 Intermittent Fasting benefits, as well as give you a bonus section at the end!
Why did people start fasting?
Basic fasting goes back in time further than any written record. In fact, probably much further than our minds can imagine.
However, we’re certain that the caveman didn’t do it voluntarily. It was due to necessity. As civilisation evolved, however, people began to learn the benefits of fasting.
The great philosopher Hippocrates taught that the body could better heal when in a fasting state. Fasting is one of the oldest therapies in both modern and ancient medicine.
Today, many religions promote intentional fasting as a means to strengthen the spirit and focus the mind. Mahatma Gandhi, known as The Father of the Nation in India, once fasted for 21 days for the sake of promoting peace.
Is all fasting the same?
No. There are different types of fasting. Each is based on what you consume and when.
This is the intentional reduction or complete removal of food and drink for a set period of time. This is also known as “absolute fasting.” It indicates that nothing is consumed by the mouth.
Water fasting allows for the consumption of water but nothing else. This method is to help prevent dehydration during the fasting process.
And the reason we’re here…
There are different types of Intermittent Fasting methods, each with unique combinations of time variations and feeding windows. Reddit has a large community on this topic if you want to see how different people practice Intermittent Fasting.
Let’s go into some more detail…
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting, or going for extended periods of time without consuming food, is a form of controlling calorie intake.
Calories are units of measurement – they measure the amount of energy in the food and drinks that we consume. We all need calories to live and function.
What are the most common methods of Intermittent Fasting?
The 16:8 Method
This is the most common method. You fast for 16 hours and use the remaining 8 hours of the day to eat your calories (often called a feeding window).
For example, a feeding window of between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm or 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm is common. The rest of the day is spent either sleeping or fasting. It is acceptable to consume no-added-sugar drinks during this fasting period (black coffee, diet drinks, and more).
The 5:2 Method
This is slightly less popular but still fairly common among fasting practitioners. This method involves eating as normal five days per week and fasting for the other two days. Any two days in the week work.
On these two fasting days, you’re only allowed to consume 500 calories a day. Can be used for eating normally at work and burning fat on the weekends.
The Alternate-Day Method
Unlike the 5:2 method, there is no calorie consumption during the fasting days with the Alternate-Day fast. Yes, you heard this right. Zero. You eat one day, and you fast the next. Repeat.
You are allowed the zero-calorie drinks like black coffee, but no calories.
This method is more advanced than the above two methods of fasting. We wouldn’t recommend starting with it. Going 24 hours with no food is difficult, and can lead to intolerable hunger pains.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
Much less difficult than the Alternate-Day Method, this method only requires a full day fast on two days each week. You can eat normally the other 5 days. Any two days will do, as long as they’re not consecutive days (Mondays and Thursday’s are popular here).
You can think of this as similar to the 5:2 Method, except you cannot eat at all on the two fasting days.
The Warrior Diet
This was the diet of fitness guru Ori Hofmekler. He promoted lightly snacking on raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day and eating one big meal in the evening.
While his efforts were mostly focused on eating one big meal per day, it also became associated with Intermittent Fasting.
The OMAD Method
OMAD stands for One Meal A Day. This is similar to Ori’s Warrior Diet. However, there is no snacking outside of one meal. The Reddit OMAD page gives more advice and testimonials from people who advocate this method if you’re interested in learning more.
Now that you’re aware of the different methods, let’s get into the real reason why we’re here. All of these methods may sound difficult for someone who has never tried them. We understand. We were the same when we started.
But once you see our Intermittent Fasting benefits below, you’ll understand why it’s worth a try.
What are Sports Samurai’s Intermittent Fasting benefits?
- Protection against arthritis
- Delay osteoporosis
- Preserve cognition
- Protect muscle tissue
- Safeguard colon health
- Defend against cardiovascular disease
- Block age-related diabetes
- Lowers incidence and progression of cancer
- Fortifies against brain atrophy
- Lowers adiposity
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Favourable lipid profiles
- Amplify your adiponectin
- Elevate mood
- Peaked libido
Ok, thanks for the high-level overview. Now let’s hear the details…
The Intermittent Fasting benefits explained…
Protection against arthritis
If you’re able to protect yourself against arthritis, you’re less likely to suffer pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion.
Osteoporosis means your bones are getting weaker. As we age, the body works against you by reducing bone mineral density. Weaker bones make them more fragile and susceptible to fracture.
But Intermittent Fasting helps keep them strong.
Want to improve your memory and ability to learn new things? Intermittent Fasting has been linked to both in this study.
Armed with this knowledge, you can help keep your mind churning out new ideas.
Protect muscle tissue
Sarcopenia is the medical term for losing muscle tissue as we get older. No-one wants this!
Intermittent fasting has been shown to facilitate a reduction in fat mass but retention of lean mass. Here, we have the best of both worlds and this is one of the many Intermittent Fasting benefits.
Safeguard colon health
Dr Norman W. Walker mentions the benefits of Intermittent Fasting in his book Colon Health: The Key to a Vibrant Life:
The elimination of undigested food and other waste products is equally as important as the proper digestion and assimilation of food. Infirmity and sickness, at any age, is the direct result of loading up the body with food, which contains no vitality, and at the same time allowing the intestine to remain loaded with waste matter.Dr Norman W. Walker
Defend against cardiovascular disease
Would you like to have a profound impact on your heart health?
If so, consider Intermittent Fasting. There’s more in the article on this!
Drugs and surgery can be an option for diabetes. But why take the risk of obtaining diabetes when Intermittent Fasting is available now?
Lowers incidence and progression of cancer
Intermittent fasting is thought to inhibit many critical pathways during the development of cancer. It also causes certain cancers to be more sensitive to cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.
Fortifies against brain atrophy
Our brains start to shrink in size as we get older. Intermittent Fasting has shown to slow this process. It slows it by stabilising the expression of synaptic protein expression.
A mere 20 weeks into one study showed an increase in resistance to stress in mice, further suggesting protective effects.
Adiposity is a science term for fat. Intermittent Fasting showed the highest fat loss of all the diets that were tested. This included keto diets and low-fat diets.
In other words, don’t worry about eating high-fat diets or low-fat diets. Just eat sensibly, and Intermittent Fast!
Increased insulin sensitivity
Think of insulin as the taxi that brings the sugar into our cells and drops it off to be used as energy later. When we eat, we produce insulin to transport sugar.
When we practice Intermittent Fasting, the lack of insulin causes our body to release the sugar out of the cells and use it for energy (because there’s no new food providing the energy).
Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting dramatically lowers insulin levels. It also significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lowered blood pressure.
Favourable lipid profiles
Lipids are fats. There are good fats (HDL) and bad ones (LDL). Dr Fung, a Toronto based kidney specialist, says that the way to lower bad cholesterol is to burn it off through exercise.
With Intermittent Fasting, fat is being burned during the fasting state. There is nothing else to use for energy.
Amplify your adiponectin
Adiponectin is a protein that works to regulate glucose levels and control fatty acid breakdown in the body. In this case, more is better. This study showed that the plasma biomarkers of adiponectin were increased after Intermittent Fasting for only 15 days.
The increases actually showed on days 6, 10, and 14. So in one day short of a week, the body started producing more protein that helped to breakdown fat in the body.
Whether it is the better sleep, increased efficacy of neurotransmitters or other changes brought on by Intermittent Fasting, an elevated mood is often reported.
Sometimes, there’s even an overall feeling of euphoria. This is one of the many Intermittent Fasting benefits that make trying Intermittent Fasting a must!
Our favourite benefit of Intermittent Fasting: more testosterone! Research shows that Intermittent Fasting can increase testosterone levels and other related anabolic hormones. This improves leptin regulation and contributes to better body composition.
What does an Intermittent Fasting plan look like?
As mentioned above, you eliminate food for a portion of the day. You eat during a limited time window.
Here’s an example:
This is just one example. There are many different variations that you can try.
Sports Samurai has the highest quality gym bags and backpacks…
What are other people saying about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Cynthia Thurlow: Intermittent Fasting – Transformational Technique
Cynthia gives a thorough TED Talk on Intermittent Fasting. She’s a licensed nurse practitioner and nutritionist.
Have a watch…
Dr Ken Berry: 7 Most Common Intermittent Fasting Mistakes
Dr Berry is one of our favourite physicians here at Sports Samurai. He shares lots of free information on his YouTube channel. This video is a part of his Intermittent Fasting series.
We’re adding it to show some of the common mistakes that people make when Intermittent Fasting.
70 Lbs Lost in 6 Months – Alternate Day Fasting (Before & After Pics)
We added this video to show you a testimonial of a guy who lost 70 pounds in six months using the Alternate Day Fasting method. As you can see, it does work if done correctly!
We love the quote from Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living… or get busy dying.”
Check out the selection of gym bags and backpacks from Sports Samurai…
This article explained our 15 Intermittent Fasting benefits. It also explained various other questions you had around Intermittent Fasting.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a lifestyle change that will help you become a better you, consider the methods we have shared in this article.
Which Intermittent Fasting methods work for you? And what are the Intermittent Fasting benefits you’ve seen?
Bonus Material: Top 15 FAQs on Intermittent Fasting
Is Intermittent Fasting good for you?
This lifestyle choice offers many benefits including weight management, protection against chronic diseases, improved brain function, cardiovascular protection, and many more.
See our 15 benefits above for more information.
What can you eat during your eating window when Intermittent Fasting?
It’s up to you. And it depends on your goals. If weight loss is your goal, it’s imperative to stay within your calorie baseline during your eating window, as opposed to what you’re eating. Otherwise, you can eat as you would normally. Variety is key.
During fasting periods, don’t eat anything (or drink anything which contains calories). Drink plenty of water. Black coffee and no added sugar drinks are allowable.
Can you lose weight with Intermittent Fasting?
Absolutely! It’s one of the main benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Studies show that Intermittent Fasting leads to less overall calorie consumption over a period of time. Any reduction in calories below standard baseline results in weight loss.
What happens to your body when you fast for 16 hours?
During a fasted state, your body burns stored fat once your last meal has been metabolised. Your body will continue burning fat for energy until you consume more calories (from food or drinks).
How long do you have to fast before you start burning fat?
This depends on your stored glycogen levels. For example, let’s say you had a significant amount of carbohydrates at 7:00 pm. Your body will have to burn this off as energy before it starts to burn fat as energy.
It takes four hours for a meal to pass through the stomach. But it takes longer for it to be metabolised and burned off.
Is skipping breakfast bad for you?
No. We do it regularly here at Sports Samurai. For example, you could wake up and have a large glass of ice-cold water. Then, you can power through your day and get your work done.
Then, you could have your eating window between 3:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Get back to work until 2:00 am. Go to sleep, and start all over again. OMAD is our current favourite!
Does 12-hour Intermittent Fasting work?
Fasting for between 10 and 16 hours can push the body to burn fat stores as energy. This should encourage weight loss if that’s your goal. Consider all the different strategies mentioned in our article above, and try them out. 12-hour Intermittent Fasting could work, but there are many other options.
How can you reduce your stomach fat?
By being in a calorie deficit, of course!
Ensure you have fibre in your diet. It helps fill you up but contains minimal calories. Likewise, try to lay off the alcohol if weight loss is your goal. Certainly, get enough protein to feed your muscle. Most importantly, sleep well and drink plenty of water.
And more importantly, be patient. Certainly, it takes time to reduce weight.
How do you start fasting?
Start by educating yourself on the different types of fasting. Consequently, if you read our article above, you’re off to a great start. As a result, choose the one you think may work for you, and map out an eating schedule for a week.
Plan your meals in advance so there’s no last-minute temptation to eat junk food. Buy a few packs of chewing gum to work your jaw muscles during your fast. Drink lots of water and have some black coffee or tea without calories.
What is the best time to stop eating at night to lose weight?
There’s no best time to stop eating at night. It all depends on your calorie intake for the day. However, we’d recommend finishing your last meal of the day so that you are still satiated when you go to bed. If you finish dinner too early, you’ll be hunting for snacks before bedtime.
If this happens to you, remember, water is your friend.
How can you drop 20 pounds in a week? Can you do this with Intermittent Fasting?
Don’t. That is to say, losing 20 pounds in a week is extreme. On the contrary, most medical professionals will recommend losing 1-2 pounds per week. To sum up, this more realistic goal helps to keep you on a steady weight loss track. In contrast, extreme weight loss can be rebounded by quick weight gain if you aren’t careful.
Teetering back and forth can be unhealthy. Above all, take it slow, and keep it consistent.
Are there any side effects of Intermittent Fasting?
Men’s Health has an article on the side effects of Intermittent Fasting. For example, you could see any one of the following: thirst, malaise, irritability, and hunger. This is similar to all the things that normally happen when you go for an extended period of time between meals (but maybe more extreme!).
Luckily, one of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting is the many different methods you can use to achieve the same results.
How many days a week should you Intermittent Fast?
We outlined several options in our article above. In other words, it is up to what you are comfortable doing. The 5:2 Method has you fasting two days each week. It also allows minimal eating on those fasting days. On the other hand, the Alternate-Day Method has you fast every other day with no eating on fasting days.
Pro Tip: Check out our list above for all of your options. Try out the one you feel most comfortable with.
Will Intermittent Fasting work without exercise?
The short answer is: yes. So, you can Intermittent Fast and lose weight without exercising. However, exercising means that you burn more calories. Burning calories will help you to increase your calorie deficit more than fasting alone. However, you can still lose weight without exercising.
Does fasting slow down your metabolism?
The short answer is: no. To begin with, this study showed that metabolism (resting energy expenditure) increased during a four day fast. Secondly, metabolism increased during a 48 hour total fast (no food) in this study. Thirdly, a study using the Alternate-Day Method of fasting also produced an increase in metabolism.