One of the most effective ways for achieving your goals in fitness through diet is Intermittent Fasting. Unfortunately, it is really underrated. While Intermittent Fasting is getting traction in fitness media these days, one has to understand this is not a fad diet. In fact, I would argue this is the single most common diet in human history when human beings were mainly hunting animals for food.
Humans’ and even some animals’ metabolisms are designed for fewer meals. There is no need for 6 or god-forbid 8 meals a day so that your metabolism is on fire. That’s bullshit that mainstream fitness media and ‘natural’ bodybuilders preach. In two scenarios where one person eats two meals a day and one person eats 6 meals day, the difference in metabolism is so close that it wouldn’t make a difference to the amount of calories your body burns to process food.
How would you achieve Intermittent Fasting? You just eat two large meals a day within 4 to 8 hours a day. That’s it, no snacking or 670 calorie early morning coffee you buy from Fivebucks coffee shop.
From my experience, the best weight loss diet involves two very simple components, a low carb diet and Intermittent Fasting. While it is true that you can’t build muscle while on calorie deficit diet, you need to understand it’s not that easy to lose muscle if you stick to your workout routine and protein minimums. Yes, you will lose some weight initially, mainly because water retention is reduced. So cool down with your OCD for muscle loss and timed meals.
To add insult to injury, the below study by www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov finds that in fact 2 meals a day is more effective than 6 meals a day in a reduced calorie diet. (The study was done for diabetes but you can get the gist.)
Talking about breakfast, it is probably a good example of the extent to which mainstream media can dictate mass diet habits. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” says the mob of Oprah, Dr. Phill and cosmopolitan magazine. The modern sugar-loaded breakfast is a successful ad campaign Kellogg achieved during the 1930’s. I haven’t been eating breakfast in the last 10 years and I turned out to be okay while missing “the most important meal of the day”. I can imagine someone who is reading this sweating with the horrifying thought of not having breakfast. What I’m trying to say is stick to two meals that you can manage within a 4 to 8 hour timeframe.
Following are the tips and points I learned from Intermittent Fasting.
- Yes, you can drink coffee. I usually go with zero calorie sweeteners and creamer. It usually helps with hunger pangs. And YES I know zero calorie sweeteners are bad, the point is keeping it simple and not feeling like it’s the day before your first marathon every single day.
- You should be and will be drinking lots of water.
- Less meals align perfectly with a minimalistic lifestyle.
- No, you are not gonna lose muscle that quickly and an anabolic protein shake 26 minutes and 46 seconds after your workout is not necessary.
- This is diet is most effective on calorie deficit and spot on macros allocation.
- No, your workouts won’t suffer due to lack of food, but you might experience some odd feelings during initial workouts. But once you get to used to working on an empty stomach, you won’t go back. And for Cross-Fit snowflakes, that means you won’t have to barf during your 12th set of deadlift.
- If you are a regular 9-to-5 office worker, you can try my following schedule and see if it works out for you.
8:00 AM – Wake up and get ready for work (YES, I can hear your gasp, but I give major priority for extra sleep over sugar loaded corn flakes).
10:00 AM – Coffee with zero calories. (pro tip: Hunger makes you even more productive and sharp. A lion is most energetic while hunting, not after eating 15 pounds of meat.)
11:30 AM – A very low calorie pre-workout for afternoon gym session.
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM – Fight with gravity in the gym along with other sweaty human beings.
1:30 PM – This is when I get really hungry, so it’s time for my first meal with lots of protein, fats and maybe some carbs (and NO fats aren’t bad which I’m gonna talk about in another post).
2:00 PM – Water
3:00 PM – Water
4:00 PM – Coffee with zero calories.
5:00 PM – Water
6:00 PM – A $7 850-calorie venti Iced-Caramel-with-sugar-and-cream-some-other-mainstream-bullshit at Starbucks, just kidding. It’s Water again.
7:00 PM – Water
8:00 PM – Second meal with protein and fats.
9:00 PM – Water
10:00 PM – Zzzzzzzz
So you can plan your day and workout schedule accordingly with two large meals a day.