When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites having 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks was the way to go so I followed this advice and to be honest it was so hard to get 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks 7 days a week. It was a lot of work and I needed to be strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions had used it. Once I started following a fasting schedule everything changed, it was a lot easier to get in shape and sustain it but what´s better is all the amazing benefits for overall health.
If you are looking for a tool that can make your life easier, that helps you get lean and stay lean and that is healthy, then intermittent fasting is what you need.
I can´t think about any other fitness strategy that gives us the freedom we need while getting or staying lean and that makes our life easier. It doesn´t matter how our days look like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces our stress, get us focused on what matters, gives us more freedom and we can enjoy our life a lot more.
Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that we have our meals on a small period of time and we don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when we eat is known as the eating window and the long period when we don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives our digestive system a rest which is amazing if we feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.
When we want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time we eat insulin raise so when we are fasting we have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when we stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and we are in a fasted window our body increases growth hormone and keep insulin and cortisol down. Insulin and cortisol are two important hormones for weight loss and intermittent fasting is a great way to keep insulin low giving chance to growth hormone to increase.
Having 2 meals a day is the best option, most people prefer to fast in the morning skipping breakfast and have lunch and dinner, this is one way to do it. What works best for me is to have breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping the eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.
We don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are studies that show that it´s possible to gain muscle while losing fat at the same time following intermittent fasting, if we analyze this from the calories point of view we need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, our body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and our body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if we know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way we can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if we are starting in fitness.
The way catabolic and anabolic states work in our body is easy, when we are fasting our body is in a catabolic state and when we eat our body goes to the anabolic state, this gives our body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and we have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.
There are some goals we can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as a bonus.
When fasting we can lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into our lifestyle if you love to eat big meals, if you want to have the freedom to enjoy foods you love and want to stay lean all year give it a try.
When we are trying to make fitness a lifestyle it becomes so hard to fit 5 or 6 meals a day, plus one hour or more at gym at least 5 days a week into our busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, we don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into our day, we only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when we´re starting the biggest issues we have is hunger and that´s normal just give time to your body to adapt, don´t follow any eating window, do what works best for you, the first days when hunger appears have a piece of fruit or some nuts and seeds, you can have water or coffee if you are fasting in the morning and tea at night, those are the best options if you need some snacks, if you can go all the way to your meal without any snack that´s amazing.
Intermittent fasting should be easy and a way to have more freedom in the choices we make enjoying life even more so don´t stress, don´t overdo it and don´t over think. Don´t focus on any eating window and create yours, one that fit your schedule and daily activities.
Don´t forget to provide nutrients to your body, fasting gives you the freedom to have big meals, enjoy your favorite foods and dishes (considering they´re cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients), go out to lunch or dinner with friends and family and enjoy the moment but if you cook try to make healthy meals with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you are only eating 2 or 3 meals you must be sure that your body has the nutrients it requires.
Be careful with how you organize your meals and your workouts, if you are training in the morning around 8 or 9 and your first meal is at 2 pm it´ll be harder to stay fasted, if your workouts are high intensity interval training for an hour or so it will increase your appetite, boost your hunger making almost impossible to fast, you need to fit your workouts in a way that they make fasting easier and that both of them, your workouts and your meals fit perfectly in your daily activities.
Intermittent fasting also gives us other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to our life. This is a huge theme so in future post we will go deep on intermittent fasting and we´ll talk about the benefits and tips and strategies you can use it for your own goals.
Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you´ve tried intermittent fasting and what was your experience?
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