Stubborn body fat can be frustrating.
Even when you’re training hard and being consistent in your fitness, sometimes you need that extra boost to help burn off the fat.
With so much misinformation abundant in the world, it’s no wonder, you may start to roll your eyes when you hear news of another effective fat-loss strategy.
Don’t worry, every article here is based on science-based evidence and you’ll come away from this article knowing more about fat-loss than the majority of people on diets.
IF as it’s commonly known or Intermittent Fasting has been proven countless times in numerous studies to help drop weight and stubborn body fat.
It’s also one of the most useful strategies to implement, especially as an athlete or a busy professional on the go.
So what exactly is IF?
IF is a short-term fast that you impose on your body within a specific timeframe. During that time, you stop eating all foods and drinks besides water (and black coffee/tea).
There are several different methods of using IF to incorporate into your day but we’ll focus on the most effective methods you can start using today.
That being said, intermittent fasting can be done in a few different ways. All of these methods involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. One of the most common and effective methods of fasting is to use the LeanGains strategy.
Popular for its time effectiveness, the LeanGains method is a fasting protocol that includes fasting for 16 hours and then eating within an 8-hour time block.
The reason why this strategy can be rather effective is that it’s more realistic with most people’s daily schedules. For example, asking someone to fast from 8 pm until 12 pm the next day would fall within the 16/8 hour time rule.
It’s also being ideal for someone who doesn’t mind skipping breakfast a few times a week.
Another method of fasting is to do it for either longer or shorter periods of time. While useful for certain occasions, it should be noted that fasting for short periods of time can tend to underutilize the benefits a longer fast by not tapping into the benefits of autophagy.
At the same time, while longer fasts can increase some of the benefits of fasting like increased cellular repair, moving out dead cells, and improving digestive processes, there’s also a cap to the number of benefits you can see after fasting for 30 hours as seen in this study.
Going back to autophagy there’s an interesting phenomenon that your body begins to experience as you enter a fasted state. Cellular repair processes begin to accelerate and clear out a lot of the debris that tends to accumulate with our digestive system.
While in a fasted state, your body also releases a hormone called HGH (human growth hormone) which can increase by at least 5x. Essentially this can turbo-boost your fat loss while simultaneously allowing you to retain your lean muscle gains.
Human longevity has also been proven to improve from continued fasting throughout a human life cycle. Besides the added benefit of increased fat burning and muscle retention, you’ll also be able to continue to make gains even in your later years.
In 2014 there was also a study where people were tested over a 24 week period while doing intermittent fasting. Over the 24 weeks, this group dropped 3-8% in weight loss and 4-7% of their waist circumference.
Now there are several takeaways from this article.
The first is that in order to see continued results from your fat loss, you must maintain your caloric deficit and NOT overeat within your eating block.
Although common sense, the mainstream culture seems to believe that you can fast for 16 hours and then eat everything in sight after your fast. While nice in theory, a consistent caloric deficit is more important than random fast full of overeating when it comes to fat loss.
Also, the benefits of fasting range far beyond just mere fat loss. The amount of research into fasting is still relatively young however all the evidence seems to point to increased longevity, improved health, better digestive movements, and improved cellular repair.
There are even some signs that fasting can have an anti-aging effect.
Also for athletes or physique competitors who are worried that IF will affect their lean muscle growth or worse cause them to lose gains, there’s no need to worry. With the increase in GH (growth hormone) even with the reduction in caloric intake for a few extra hours, you can still stimulate muscle growth, while at the minimum retain your lean gains.
Looking for more science-based articles to help you craft a stronger and leaner physique? Head over here.
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