If you are looking for a diet plan that can help you create lean gains, then Intermittent Fasting could be the one for you. Read more to find out why...
Intermittent Fasting for Lean Gains:
There are a lot of articles about the benefits of intermittent fasting and you will probably ask yourself can periods of fasting, and eating actually make you look leaner and younger, whilst improving performance? Well let’s find out! If you don’t know about Intermittent fasting (IF) here is a quick brief overview of what it is and the protocol you can follow;
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a period of fasting; eating phases in your diet/food intake. The standard template that most people follow is the lean gains protocol which is a 16 hours fast, with 8 hours feeding. This is usually fasting from 8PM in the evening right through till 12PM the following day. IF has some health benefits and has been shown to help anti-aging, reproduction of cells, reduced overall daily caloric intake, increase in lipolysis alongside a few others.
In layman’s terms, IF can help you get lean, look younger and perform better. But is it all it makes out to be?
Recently I’ve been putting it to the test as I was a bit sceptical about the claims it has. Straight off of the bat, I can honestly say I LOVED IF. It’s a feeding protocol that well and truly fits with my regime. This is what was important for me. It fitted my regime, if it doesn’t fit yours, it will not work for you. I tried this with 2 of my clients and myself. It worked for me and 1 client, but the other client struggled really badly. Was it his fault? Nope, IF just didn’t fit his day to day life. The lesson in that is, always ensure you fit the protocol, do not try and fit yourself around a given protocol.
My personal experiance of Intermittent Fasting
I am a 5AM warrior, I am an early riser and I tend to work better as soon as I rise. One of the struggles I faced in the AM was working at 6AM, then getting home, preparing breakfast, eating it, getting sorted then finally getting back to work at around 8:30 – 9AM. What I found was by this time I had slowed down massively, I had wasted a good window of opportunity and struggled to get going again.
IF fitted perfectly into my routine. It meant I could go to work at 6AM, then get on with my morning typing, paperwork and the likes straight from work at 7AM. This meant I was keeping my prolonged period of productiveness and getting more done. I didn’t have to worry about food, messing around preparing breakfast, just up, work focused and then food came secondary.
If you’re a 5AM Warrior like me and find you’re more productive in the AM then this may be good for you to take advantage of. As let’s face it, every second counts in that power hour upon rising.
Should you eat before you train? IF says no!
Psychologically I believed that in order to train I needed a good bout of food in order to perform at my best. Often, in fact, VERY often, this would lead to me missing training as I believed I hadn't eaten enough to train, so there was no point.
Intermittent Fasting changed this view. It switched my mindset to the view of once I had trained I had infact earned the right to eat my food. So the sooner I could train, the quicker I could have a big meal. Made sense to me.
In reality, if you’re eating well enough the day prior to your training day your body will have enough stored energy to perform at its best.
At first it was tough training fasted, as I was hungry going into a workout, but once I had gotten over that mind barrier, I was flying. PB’s were coming back and my strength was rising nicely.
Intermittent Fasting protocols – The Joocey bit
There are a four protocols you can follow when sticking to the 16:8 template depending on the times you like to/can train. Typically you always break your fast at around 12-1PM and you want to keep this as religious as possible. I found once I continually broke my fast at 1PM I was less hungry. Below is a table outing the guidelines of each protocol.
|Early morning training||Training Fasted||1 Meal Pre Workout||2 Meals Pre Workout|
|Training in the early AM.BCAA’s upon wake and sip until fast broken.50% of Calories at meal 125% at Meal 2.
25% at Meal 3.
|Training at 11-12PM.Sip BCAA’s till trained.50% of Calories to break the fast.25% at Meal 2.
25% at Meal 3.
|Training around 4-5PM.Break fast at 1PM with 25% of calories.Train.50% at Meal 2 PW.
25% at Meal 3.
|Training around 7-8PM.Break fast at 1PM with 25% calories.3-4PM Meal 2 w/ 25% of Calories9PM Meal 3 @ 50% of Calories.|
I train method 2, training around 11-12PM and breaking the fast immediately post workout. This worked great for me as I tend to finish my morning productivity around 10:30, so straight into a workout meant that I could have my biggest meal of the day right away. I ate most of my carbs in meal 1, my biggest meal and then saved some for my evening meal to take me into a good nights sleep.
On the odd occasion however I did train with 2 meals and I found eating 2 meals predominately protein and fat based meant that I had better energy going into a workout. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like saving their carbs till the last meal of the day, it’s a sure fire way to get a good nights sleep!
Did Intermittent Fasting work for me?
This for me was ‘variety is the spice of life’. Prior to IF I was struggling with training and nutrition and was stuck in a rut. Since switching up to IF not only have I been more productive in my work and business but I have got my training back on track and I am currently 8 weeks out from a photoshoot.
For me IF is just a protocol to add extra structure into your life. Different dietary approaches could be used within the IF templates, just varied to you. Which is what I really liked about IF protocols. It gave my structure I so craved without actually trying. IF can also be sustained for a long period of time and I found that it really helped over the festive period as it meant my overall calorie intake was lower due to not having all day to graze and feed on festive foods.
If you’re looking at getting lean without going too overboard, this is great for me as although my diet hasn’t been on point 100% I have still managed to drop bodyfat and maintain some of the muscle mass I had. It’s also increased my energy, my productivity and helped rebalance some structure in my training and feeding again.
If you want to know any more about IF then please drop me a message on the blog or via twitter on @LouBrierr
By Lou Brierley
On behalf of Bodybuilding Warehouse