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 really strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions 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 you the freedom you need while getting or staying lean and that makes your life easier. It doesn´t matter how your days looks like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces your stress, get you focused on what matters, gives you more freedom and you can enjoy your life a lot more.
While some people say that fasting is the worst think you can do I´ve been using it for some years now and it is amazing. Intermittent fasting has some great benefits for your health.
Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that you have your meals on a small period of time and you don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when you eat is known as the eating window and the long period when you don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives your digestive system a rest which is amazing if you feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.
When you want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time you eat insulin raise so when you are fasting you have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when you stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and you are in a fasted window your 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 a great option. What works best for me is having breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping your eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.
You don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are some studies that say 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 you need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, your body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and your body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if you know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way you can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if you are starting in fitness.
The way catabolic and anabolic states work in your body is easy, when you are fasting your body is in a catabolic state and when you eat your body goes to the anabolic state, this gives your body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and you have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.
There are some goals you can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as an added bonus.
When fasting you´ll be able to lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into your 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.
When you 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 your busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, you don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into your day, you only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when you´re starting the biggest issues you´ll have is with 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, I don´t recommend any other snacks and fruit is ok on an empty stomach, 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 you 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, 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 can also give you other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to your life.
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