INTERMITTENT FASTING AND LEAN GAINS
Having ears keen to anything going around in the fitness world, I have been recently hearing about people using intermittent fasting for show prep, leaning down and overall weight loss. I know it’s been around for years but recently I have been hearing some buzz about it. The claim to fame with intermittent fasting is that you can lose fat but still gain lean muscle. Sounds too good to be true, right?
This eating regimen, coined by Martin Berkhan as the “Leangains protocol” (leangains.com) is not changing what you eat but WHEN you eat.Simply put, you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours in a 24 hour day (obv). A suggested (but not mandatory) schedule of eating/fasting is to start eating around 12 pm and stop eating around 8 pm. In this window you eat 2 to 3 larger meals. If you are familiar with the old school body building diet of 6 small meals every 3 hours, then you know this is basically sacrilege.
The theory behind this is that your body cannot undergo fat loss in the “fed” state because your insulin levels are too high to use fat as a source of energy. During the fed state, your body is digesting and absorbing your last meal with a release of insulin, not prioritizing fat for a source of energy. During the “fasted” state, your insulin levels are low thus fat burn is accessible. Seems simple enough.
I mainly wanted to try this because if it was effective than I can recommend this to people that I know would enjoy this more than many small meals throughout the day. I know dieting is very difficult and I know many people don’t have the lifestyle that can pause to eat every 3 hours. One of the biggest complaints about a classic body building diet is that aside from adhering to just eating basically chicken and green beans...eating so many small meals is not achievable with their job. Intermittent fasting still requires a strict diet but you can eat much more in one sitting, feeling more satisfied and can achieve this diet by only eat one large meal at work before going home to eat one or two more meals.
After reading a lot of info on this, I was very interested to try it out. I was eating the same amount of food I but I was just eatnng it in a smaller window of time. I know you can get really fancy with it and have specific meals pre/post workout but I initally just wanted to see if I could do it. I'll get to the fancy stuff soon enough. I have been doing it for the past 2 weeks….. sooo not long enough to make any concrete conclusions but just wanted to give you my 2 cents on the topic.
**Disclaimer: this was a brief overview of what I personally did and there is a ton of info of this topic on the web. If you want to know more about the protocol, logic and science behind it, check it out on leangains.com or just google it :)
My feeding/fasting state times:
Start eating at 10am/ Last meal at 6pm
Cons (let’s start with the bad so I can end on a good note)
-I was HELLA hungry when woke up the first few days. Due to the fact that I’m so accustomed to eating as soon as my eyes open. If you usually skip breakfast than this won’t be an issue for you.
-Can over-stuff yourself when you start your feeding (only happened to me the first 2 days)
-Coordinating training with feeding schedule
-Overtime I was less hungry throughout the day and wasn’t starving when I woke up on the third day
-Didn’t have to overly concern myself with eating every 3 hours
-Didn’t eat as much
-Saved a little money on food
Overall I felt really good doing it and it seems to be effective in terms of maintaining/growing muscle whilst trimming down a bit. It is hard to know for sure because I did gain weight but I felt leaner and my clothes were looser sooooo….leangains? Maybe…. But I plan on doing it longer to find out! I will report back with an verdict in a few weeks!