Monday, June 3, 2013

Intermittent Fasting: Results or Hype?

Lex used the My Six Pack Life Nutrition Program to achieve his goals.
 What is the right approach for you?
Intermittent fasting is a cleaver weight loss ideology that breaks your schedule into two windows, the fasting window and the feeding window. The idea is that even if you eat the same amount of calories, intermittent fasting can help you loose weight, just based on your feeding and fasting schedule.

Most intermittent fasts have one feeding window per day, although a more extreme fast may have a feeding window every other day.

Let's focus on intermittent fasts that have one feeding window per day, since this is the vast majority of people using and experimenting with this methodology.

Because we all have 24 hours in a day, the feeding window and the fasting window will add up to 24 hours.

Some examples:

A) 8/16, that is 8 hours of daily fasting and a 16 hour feeding window. This is technically intermittent fasting, however I do this every day and I wouldn't consider myself an intermittent faster. Each night I have a bed time snack, sleep for 7-8 hours and have breakfast (the name of the morning meal literally means to break your fast). I continue eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day and only fast while sleeping.

B) 12/12, This fast give you equal parts fasting and feeding. If you start your fast at 7pm, you cannot open your feeding window until 7am the following morning.  A lot of people try this fast without even knowing that they are performing an intermittent fast. They will pick a time in the evening and decide that they are not eating after that time, usually 6 or 7.

C) 19/5, this fast is 19 hours with a 5 hour feeding window. An example would be waking in the morning, completing a fasted workout and then begining your 5 hour feeding window with breakfast. Potentially a 19/5 day would look like this, wake up at 6 am, workout, shower and dress.  Have Breakfast at 8 am and consume all of your daily calories between 8 am and 1pm. This is real intermittent fasting and many intermittent fasters think that 19/5 is the sweet spot.

D) 23/1, This fast mean consuming all of your calories in 1 hour, usually after a morning workout.

Now let's review some of the example fasts. To control for calories, let's say that I'm on the My Six Pack Life Balance Nutrition Profile and I need 2400 calories per day to meet my macro nutrient goals.

 The 8/16 fast is just my regular pattern of feeding, I  choose to eat six meals that average 400 calories spaced evenly throughout my 16 hour feeding window to get my 2400 calories. For another fasting schedule to be worthwhile, I would need to prefer it to my current 8/16 pattern. The benefits of 8/16 are that I get frequent meals to fuel my activity, recovery, and muscle growth, and I never have to "go hungry." I already know the results, 8/16 is working, I'm shredded and I feel great. Why would I change it?

The 12/12 works, but not because of the ingenious pattern of feeding and fasting, but because people that want to lose weight actually end up eating few calories. If you start your fast in the early evening, it likely means that you are skipping late dinners, bed-time snacks and fourth meal T-Bell runs. Obviously, I could "lose weight" if I skipped my 400 calories bed time snack every night. But I like getting those calories in the evening to fuel my recovery over night. If I make sure to consume the same number of calories in the 12/12, I'm not sure that it offers any special benefits over the the 8/16. Which is better an 800 calorie dinner at 6pm and no more food until breakfast? Or, a 400 calorie dinner with a 400 calorie snack an hour before bedtime? They seem similar, but I think I would prefer to keep have a smaller dinner and keep my bedtime snack.

The 19/5 is tough, because you have to cram all 2400 calories into a 5 hour window. Typically you would have a big breakfast (1200 calories) at 8 am right after your morning workout and a big lunch (1200) calories right before your feeding window closes at 1pm. You could try to do three 800 calorie meals, but you probably aren't going to be hungry for lunch just 2 hours after an 800 calorie breakfast. Then after 1pm you are fasting the rest of the afternoon, into the evening and all through the night. When you wake the next day you train fasted, having not eaten since 1 pm the previous day, how do you think your energy is going to be? Then after your workout, it's time for breakfast, you just worked out and you haven't eaten since 1pm the day before, do you really think your body is going to want just 1200 calories, or do you think there is a chance you might crave more?

Finally, the 23/1, This is essentially one big meal per day.  I actually know a guy that does this, his name is Big Ray and he's a friend of the family. He wakes up every morning and goes to work driving a truck around town for 10 hours making deliveries. When he finally gets home he is starving, which leads him to binge on 2400+ calories.The he watches TV the rest of the night. He's about 400 pounds and he refuses to sit on plastic chairs at family BBQ's because he's afraid of the embarrassment that would be caused by crushing one of them.  I think Big Ray could really benefit from the 16/8, you think he might be better off if he ate breakfast and packed some healthy meals with him to eat in his truck between deliveries?

Now I do believe that 19/5 and 23/1 can work for people that are exceptionally dedicated and health conscious and committed to making their intermittent fast work for them. But shouldn't it be easier than that? Shouldn't you get to eat when you're awake? Do you think it's better for your body to be able to count on frequent nourishment instead of exteneded periods of fasting?

I don't want this video to discourage you from trying your own intermittent fast, but please take a few pieces of advice.

1. Don't start your fitness journey with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is something you should try after you have at least 3-6 months of real training and proper nutrition under your belt. Make it happen now with what we know works and then try intermittent fasting later to see if you prefer it to what got you incredible results in the first place. If you need somewhere to start your journey crush the My Six Pack Life 6-Day Quick Start Program. It's free when you subscribe to my YouTube channel (click here to subscribe and here to get the program) and you can get started immediatly.

2. If you deceide to try intermittent fasting after you have at least 3-6 months of real training and proper nutrition under your belt, then I want you to commitet to it for at least a full week. I don't want you to quit the first time you get hungry during your fasting window. Try it for 7 days and see if it's workable for you life and schedule. 

3. Before you start telling other people about your success with intermittent fasting or any other pattern of eating or diet plan, make sure that it is a sustainable part of your life. It's very common to try something new and have a modicum of success, like losing 5-10 pounds on the scale (usually it's mostly water weight) in the first week. This success motivates you to keep going, but many diets and patterns of eating are simply not sustainable with the lifestyle we want to lead. What if your intermittent fasting is going great for the first two weeks, but your friends invite you to dinner this Satuday night? Do you tell them you can't make it? Do you go to the restuaurant and just drink water and watch everybody eat? Do you break your fast? Or.... do you decide to switch to the My Six Pack Life nutrition program becasue it's more workable and sustainable
for your lifestyle?



  1. Many people ask if a person intermittently fast to lose pounds, is it an all-natural strategy. I would reason that it is. If you look at humans that were forced in order to search to eat, you eat whenever you captured something as well as fasted whenever nothing was captured. I would argue that people tend to be biochemically designed to eat like this.