Intermittent Fasting: What I Learnt
5 weeks ago I decided to change the way I ate. Not diet, but change my eating routine. I must stress I did not change the food I was eating (I was eating reasonably clean anyways) but I changed the time fame I was consuming my calories. My aim was to still consume my 3000+ calories per day however I was aiming to only eat in an 8hr window. Planned my window out and it was roughly going to be between 8.30-4.30 then I would go into a 16hr fast. I wasn't doing this 7 days a week I was doing it 5-6 days a week and relaxing 1-2 days a week. Not so I could binge eat but more so that I could relax on eating within a certain time.
As I mentioned in my first video (Intermittent Fasting; My First 7 Days), I outlined the pros and cons i noticed on my body both physical and mental. As the weeks rolled on I noticed a dip in both energy and strength. My head was still clear and I was able to be on the ball first thing in the morning but my energy levels as the day wore on and my strength during my workouts took a hit. This could come from increased stress, pushing my body too hard or the fact the days are colder and darker for longer.
I also felt the pressure of trying to consume a healthy 3000+ calories in an 8 hour window. If anything was to disturb my eating window (e.g. running errands, meetings, work etc) then I would have less time to consume the calories.
If you're someone who uses the scales as a measuring stick for how you're going (please don't) then you will hate intermittent fasting. Sure, to start the day off you look lean but as your window is coming to an end you'll end up bloated and feeling lethargic from consuming your daily calorie intake in a short amount of time. My weight could fluctuate 2-3kgs per day depending on when I weighed myself (was only weighing myself out of interest and it was not a focus). On a positive note I've increased my muscle mass by 1-1.5kgs.
When thinking back to what made my first week feel successful I can put it down to a couple of different factors:
1. it was exciting and new
2. I was consuming black coffee on an empty stomach (my coffee was the first thing i'd consume for the day besides water)
3. the change in routine was a shake up for my body
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: I was consuming my daily calorie intake and tracking my food.
For me personally from here i'm probably going to continue the fasting for only 2 days a week but relax on my 8hr window for the other 5 days. Once again my focus will be eating my full daily calorie intake 7 days a week. Doesn't matter if i'm fasting or not, my calorie goal is the most important.
Intermittent fasting results:
Do I have a lean, cut 6 pack now? No.
Do I have huge bulging biceps now? No.
Did I put on a muscle? Yes.
If you're in a rut with your body composition or feel like you haven't been able to continue your steps forward with muscle growth or fat lass then I believe, from what I've experienced, that intermittent fasting could be a helpful tool to shake up the routine for your body. HOWEVER the tool that I believe is the most important and most successful is EATING YOUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE EVERY DAY. From what I've seen as a trainer, the common mistake and misconception for an "average person" to lose weight is to eat less. This is hugely misleading. Will you lose weight from eating less? Probably. Unfortunately when you under eat you will lose muscle first, thus increasing your body fat percentage and giving your muscles a "flabby" look. To lose fat you need to eat your daily calorie intake. It will fuel your muscles and body the right way and will give your body the chance to burn the fat as opposed to eating away at your muscles.
Bottom line is this:
If you want to look lean, tone your muscles and burn body fat you need to eat your daily calorie intake otherwise you're just going to be running around in circles. There are many tools available in app stores or on the internet to find out what your daily calorie total is. Do yourself a favour and work out that number and make that your goal every day. in 4 weeks you'll feel like a different person.
Train hard, eat right and #backyourself