Intermittent fasting is all the rage at the moment. Is it a unstoppable fat loss silver bullet? Or just another tool in the toolbox? If you’ve read any of my previous stuff you’ll probably guess that it’s the latter. When dealing with clients we have a number of tactics to recommend based on their individual eating habits, goals and lifestyles.
Too many trainers out there are only using one nutrition method (say they are vegan or keto and it worked for them so they push it on to everyone they work with). This is a ‘coach’ centred approach and not a ‘client’ centred approach. Beware of these ‘one size fits all’ approaches. Going back to the toolbox analogy if all you have is a hammer then everything becomes a nail.
Probably the most common form of intermittent fasting is done by restricting your feeding time to 12:00pm to 8:00pm (essentially skipping breakfast). We also have some members who prefer to skip dinner. The main factor i’d recommend beginners to focus on is just picking an 8 hour time window where you consume all of your calories in. Tea and black coffee is allowed.
I personally have been using IF for the last couple months and have found skipping breakfast an absolute breeze. For many of my members I recommend it as it can be an easy way of taking out the thinking when it comes to finding a fat loss friendly meal option. You also don’t have to fast every day and should experiment to see what works best for you. You could fast on weekdays, non-training days, weekends – whatever floats your boat people.
There are some other cool potential benefits that fasting may have on cell regeneration and longevity which is out of my knowledge scope as a PT so you can check out this blog post by one of my mentors with a PHD in nutritional science here if you want to know more.
Intermittent fasting works like every other diet by placing you in a caloric deficit. Meaning you are burning more energy than you consume via food and drink.
Say you are a female and you are currently eating the following (and please bear with me as I whip out some very simple equations):
Breakfast – 600 calories
Lunch – 600 calories
Dinner – 600 calories
Total Daily Intake – 1800 calories
If you implement the most common form of intermittent fasting by giving breakfast a miss this female’s day could look a little something like this:
Breakfast – 0 calories
Lunch – 700 calories
Dinner – 700 calories
Total Daily Intake – 1400 calories
Not quite magic… unless you consider simple mathematics rather enchanting. Calories go up ever so slightly during the two meals but we have zero calories consumed at breakfast and voila. We have our deficit.
It works really well for people who don’t feel very hungry in the morning or who may miss breakfast anyways. I also recommend it to clients at particular times when they know they are going to be eating and drinking in excess (a friends birthday party, work dinners etc). It gives them a little bit of leeway by allowing them more room to move in their caloric budget so to speak.
It is not a good idea for people with binge eating tendencies. If you get ravenously hungry and end up over consuming during your eating window it kind of defeats the purpose if fat loss is your goal. I’ve seen people give them self a ‘hall pass’ for splurging later on as they have the mentality of ohhh I skipped breakfast this morning so I can eat have that ‘insert any highly palatable, high calorie, low nutrient density food here’.
As I mentioned above there are many ways to skin a cat and intermittent fasting is just another thing you can try out. As someone looking to improve their nutrition it is up to you to find a way of eating that you can sustain if you want long term results.
We are offering a FREE 7 Day Nutrition Reboot for the first 10 people who contact us. We know nutrition can be confusing and this will involve us analyzing where you are currently at and helping you make the changes that are going to help you see amazing results. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your spot.
Yours in health,