So today I want to show you which intermittent fasting approach is best and specify which one will work best for you and your particular goals.
Let’s start first with a common type of fasting known as eat – stop – eat. With eat-stop-eat,
you would fast for a full 24 hours on 1 or 2 nonconsecutive days of the week. This may not sound like it’s going to do much,
but If you’re normally eating about 1800 calories per day, that means that by fasting 2 days per week,
you’ll be cutting 3600 calories away from your weekly total. Most people think that you have to maintain a calorie deficit every day of the week to burn fat,
but fat loss and fat gain isn’t limited to 24 hour periods, it happens over the course of days, weeks, and months.
To help illustrate this, if you went with a traditional daily calorie restriction approach and you subtracted 500 calories per day
every day for a week you would wind up burning 3500 calories at the end of the week.
This is a hundred calories less than the 3600 calories you would burn just by fasting two days per week. (1)
So this plan can be very beneficial for those of you that don’t want to eat small portions every day and don’t want to feel like you’re on a diet all week long.
It’s also great if you want to try intermittent fasting but doesn’t want to worry about feeding and fasting windows on a daily basis.
On the other hand, It’s not so great for those of you that cannot imagine fasting for 24 hours straight without it feeling like absolute torture.
Even though you can still eat something every day by for example eating up until 6pm, stopping, and then starting to eat again at 6pm the next day…
it still might be too difficult for some people to stick to. It’s also NOT a good strategy for those of you that will feel the need to binge on the days of the week that you’re not fasting.
The plan will only work if you eat reasonably and stay at around maintenance levels during the other 5 days of the week.
Another type of fasting that’s similar, but might be easier for certain people is the 5:2 diet.
This is almost exactly like “eat – stop – eat” except instead of eating 0 calories twice a week you would eat around 500 calories twice a week.
So based on our previous example this would leave you with a 2600 calorie deficit at the end of the week instead of 3600.
This is great for people that want to ease into an “eat – stop – eat” protocol and it’s also great if eating a small number of calories can help hold you over for the rest of the day.
However, it’s not so great for those of you that will only get hungrier after eating that small amount of calories.
For example, I do a lot better not eating anything at all because once I start eating I want to eat more,
so if that’s what you’re like you may want to skip out on the 5:2 method.
Another fasting strategy that’s more advanced than eat – stop – eat and the 5:2 diet is the alternate day fast.
With an alternate day fast you would fast for 24 hours every other day. So rather than only fasting twice per week,
you would wind up fasting anywhere from 3 to 4 days per week depending on the week.
There’s also a modified alternate-day fast where you would still fast every other day,
but you would be allowed to eat about 500 calories on your fasting days, rather than eating nothing at all.
That may still sound tough, but surprisingly studies show that people experience less compensatory hunger than they normally do with regular daily calorie restriction plans. (2)
And Compensatory hunger refers to the rebound effect that causes people to eat more than they need when they finally do “allow” themselves to eat.
A large meta-analysis also showed that alternate-day fasting can be easier to stick to than regular daily calorie restriction. (3)
However, a lot of this does come down to individual preference. For some of you being able to eat normally every other day
without having to put much thought into your diet will be worth the fasts on the days in between.
But For others, it may be too much of a challenge. If that’s the case you might like the warrior diet better.
Nowadays most people on the warrior diet will fast every day for a full 20 hours leaving them a 4-hour feeding window.
But the original warrior diet that was invented in 2001 is a lot more nuanced than that.
It tries to mimic the way people ate during paleolithic times, so there’s a whole list of restricted and approved foods.
Also instead of not having any food for 20 hours, you’re allowed to undereat small amounts of specifically dairy, hardboiled eggs, raw veggies, and fruits.
There are a ton of other rules as well, including what foods to combine in one meal when to exercise when to eat certain foods when to cycle your carbs and fats,
and many other rules that make it feels more like a restrictive diet rather than something that’s flexible,
which is the whole reason why so many people turn to fast in the first place. So I really like the simplified approach of only having two rules.
You fast for 20 hours a day, and you eat during the remaining 4, and you can set this eating window up in the morning or at night it’s up to you.
This type of fasting is great for those of you that are very busy with work, if you’re a late-night eater, or if you’d prefer not to cook a lot.
However, it may not be so great for people that aren’t capable of eating large portions in one sitting, especially if you’re trying to build muscle.
This is not to say that it’s impossible. According to research when comparing the warrior diet to more of a traditional diet with more meals throughout the day.
Both groups maintained the same amount of muscle mass,
and researchers concluded that intermittent fasting does not affect the breakdown and absorption of protein, carbs, and fats. (1)
So if you eat enough food your body should be able to absorb it, but the question is can you eat enough healthy wholesome food within 4 hours, and are you okay with going 20 hours a day without any food at all?
If the answer is yes, you may want to try the warrior diet. But another very similar fasting method, that can get confused with the warrior diet is made or one meal a day.
Many people on the warrior diet are already only having one meal a day within their 4-hour feeding window.
However, the difference is that omad only allows you to eat all your calories for the day within 1 hour.
The other 23 hours of the day are for fasting. So this is a plan that you only want to try after you’ve already had some practice with shorter fasting lengths.
I do not recommend this plan if you’re trying to build muscle, because I have no idea how you’re going to eat enough natural whole foods
within 1 hour to meet your daily macro targets, without having your stomach explode.
With that said this can be used effectively for those of you that are trying to burn fat and don’t mind eating once a day.
But if you don’t want to constantly feel rushed while you’re eating, or if you find yourself staring at the clock during your fast desperately
waiting for that 1 hour that you can finally eat, you may want to stick with the warrior diet instead, or maybe another fasting protocol with a longer feeding window.
Another thing to keep in mind with both the one meal a day diet and the warrior diet is that a lot of people think they can eat as much of whatever they want and they’ll still burn fat.
This is completely untrue and I’ll show you with a simple example, a regular package of Oreos has a little under 2,000 calories in it.
At the end of your 20 or 23 hours fast, you’re almost definitely going to feel hungry and everything you eat will literally taste better.
If you break your fast and grab the first thing in sight which happens to be that package of Oreos you can easily wind up eating the whole package.
But even if you don’t eat the whole package if you’re grazing on Oreos while cooking your meal you might eat half the package,
which will still be 1,000 calories along with 150 grams of sugar. Improperly planning your meal like this will make it very unlikely for you to burn fat or lose weight.
The point is if you feel like longer fasts and shorter feeding windows will make you lose your self-control and lead to binging you’re better off staying away from the warrior and the one meal a day diet.
But if it’s easy for you to go on about your day without eating, and if you can have the discipline to break your fast correctly with a lot of vegetables, and protein,
as well as healthy fats and carbs, before moving on to a few treats then these two plans may be a good fit.
Now if you want a longer eating window you’ll probably like lean gains or 16/8 fasting.
This is the most common fasting protocol that most people start with. In general, a 16/8 fasting protocol requires you to fast for 16 hours per day and eat within an 8-hour feeding window.
it can be set up at any time of the day although most people choose to just skip breakfast and start eating at around 1pm.
Keep in mind that women are encouraged to fast for a shorter duration of 14 hours which will leave a 10-hour eating window.
Now the lean gains method is a form of 16/8 fasting, but with a few extra rules. If you’re following lean gains you’ll want to position your biggest meal of the day after your workout.
Then you would eat one or two more meals throughout the rest of your 8-hour eating window.
Depending on your workout schedule that could mean that you’re having a couple pre-workout meals if you workout at night,
or that all your meals will come after your workout if you train fasted in the morning.
Lean gains also recommend for you to increase carbs and fats on training days and then decrease them on days that you’re not working out.
Out of all of the fasting plans the 16/8 method seems to be best for those of you that are trying to build muscle while fasting since it gives you plenty of time to take in enough whole food.
It’s also the best for beginners since you can get most of your fasting done while you sleep.
This makes it a lot more manageable for people that find themselves feeling very hungry, lightheaded, or tired when following longer fasting protocols.
It’s also still great for those of you that are busy, that want to worry less about what to eat,
and simply want to eat fewer meals throughout the day, since you don’t have to eat more than just 2 or 3 times per day.
On the other hand, If you like eating more frequently or you like having healthy snacks throughout the day this plan can work very well for you as well
because you can eat as many meals as you want within the 8-hour window.
This makes the 16/8 method one of the most flexible forms of fasting, and that’s why it appeals to so many people.
Now The last type of fasting that I want to go over is keto fasting.
Keto fasting combines the principles of the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting.
Keto plans will have you eating a diet that is made up of 75% fats, 20 percent protein, and 5% carbs.
The low amount of carbs puts you into a state known as ketosis where your body primarily starts using fat for energy instead of glucose.
By combining it with periods of fasting you can force your body to drain all of its glycogen stores and enter ketosis faster.
It can also help you re-enter ketosis faster if you mess your diet up and eat too many carbs.
You can combine the ketogenic diet macro ratios with any type of fasting plan that we already discussed today.
You would just stick to the ketogenic macronutrient ratios within the feeding window of the fasting plan you choose to combine it with.
This can technically be done with any macronutrient split. You can combine intermittent fasting with carb cycling, Atkins, paleo, keto or even high carb macro splits.
But keto fasting has grown enough in popularity that I wanted to mention it as one of the 7 ways.
Now If you have no problem eating a low carb high-fat diet and you want to get into ketosis faster you may want to give this a shot.
But if you love carbs and can’t picture yourself giving up all your favorite high carb foods, then I highly suggest that you stay away from this approach.
That’s about it guys, I really hope this video has helped you understand the pros and cons of each of these 7 fasting approaches.
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