Intermittent fasting has come to the forefront as one of the more effective diet methods among fitness enthusiasts and dieters alike. While many may hear “fasting” and immediately assume this is a drastic process, you may already be implementing this into your daily routine naturally.
In simple terms, intermittent fasting limits your eating window for a set number of hours per day. For many, this may mean adhering to the OMAD (one meal a day) routine or shortening their lunch and dinner between a 6-8 hour time window.
We’ll touch on the best practices, as well as the benefits of implementing intermittent fasting into your diet plan.
Picking the Right Eating Window
The most popular form of intermittent fasting implements the “16/8” method, which is 16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour eating window. In addition to this method, alternate day fasting, the “5:2 diet” (2 days of 500 calorie consumption), or two 24 hour fasts per week are all variations on intermittent fasting.
Many people may naturally only eat one meal a day, oftentimes later at night, so it’s possible you could already be implementing intermittent fasting into your daily routine.
The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Fitness
While intermittent fasting isn’t recommended for high-performance athletes who need constant calorie intake, the benefits are notable for gym-goers looking to increase weight loss. Because of the limited eating window, calorie intake will naturally be lower because of the simple lack of meal frequency. In addition, fasted workouts have been proven to increase fat burning due to limited glycogen stores to fuel the body, which results in the body turning to fat stores for energy.
While performance may be somewhat limited during your workouts, steady-state cardio is a great option for those looking to work out while fasting. Acting as a less strenuous option to burn calories, once acclimated to the diet you can see serious benefits on the scale.
If you are a weight lifter it may be a more difficult transition, with the lack of energy limiting the explosiveness required. It’s preferable to limit workouts to low-stress routines while fasted, but with proper hydration, it is possible to become acclimated.
Experiment with which form of intermittent fasting best fits your daily routine. If you find your workouts are suffering while fasted, adjust your meal/workout timing until you are most comfortable.