Time to get your Head Back in the Game
How to use intermittent fasting to bring out the best version of you in 2018
Fitness Column by Matt Kay
We Changed Our Mind
We (FITISM) are not big fans of diets. That was until we studied this one. We first started looking into intermittent fasting back in 2013 when the ‘5:2 diet’ caught the attention of our clients. When this happens I tend to look into the science behind the diet in question and pull it to pieces. I do this to protect our clients because most fad diets cause more harm than good.
However, when I looked into intermittent fasting instead of criticizing the method I started to get very excited. The evidence that supported the benefits associated with intermittent fasting was overwhelming. So instead we created a 28-day course to support a healthy way to approach intermittent fasting that we called REBORN.
Why Intermittent Fasting?
It is widely understood that the human body will not let go of fat if your body is not what we call insulin sensitive. In plain English this means you will not lose fat if your body does not process sugars well.
Intermittent fasting increases insulin and leptin (two hormones responsible for controlling fat storage) sensitivity. This is not only good news for your body fat but studies have shown that this also reduces the risk of chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
THE HUNGER HORMONE
There is a hormone in your body that is responsible for making you hungry called ghrelin. Research into the effectiveness of intermittent fasting has shown that it increases ghrelin levels reducing the feeling of hunger and therefore reducing your desire to overeat.
FEEL THE BURN
Fat-adaption is a term used to define your ability to use fat as a primary energy source. When referring to a person as being ‘fat adapted’ it means they use an elevated amount of stored fat as energy thus increasing their ability to burn body fat. Intermittent fasting promotes this, which also increases your energy as a result of burning fat as a primary energy source.
The Right Way to Approach Intermittent Fasting
The more we studied the more we realized there were multiple ways to approach intermittent fasting; some we liked and some we did not. After four years of applying intermittent fasting principles we refined a method that is safe, backed by research, and one that we have been gathering applied data on through our REBORN courses. So before you dive into fasting consider the following steps:
Intermittent fasting is not a form of extreme calorie restriction. In fact it is quite the opposite. When done correctly it should make you feel energized, satisfied and in control. To ensure these feelings are being achieved we recommend an eating window that follows these rules:
Fasting Window = 16 hours
Eating window = 8 hours (6 hours if you’re hard core)
Personally I would eat between the hours of 11am and 7pm. When you have found a window that works for you, try not to change it. The only exception to this rule is if you work shifts and the opportunity to eat is effected by your work. In which case limit the time you change your window to maintain as much consistency as you can.
FOOD CHOICES FOR 12 DAYS
When you eat, eat clean to achieve all the benefits I identified at the start of this article. This means eating a balance of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and fats throughout your window. We highly recommend that you DO NOT start intermittent fasting if you continue to eat processed foods in your eating window. In fact we advise you avoid processed food, refined sugars, cows dairy, bread, pasta and alcohol for 12 days before the fun starts on day 13.
GO BIG TO GET SMALL
Following 12 days of intermittent fasting we recommend a cheat meal. Not only will this give you a psychological boost it will also fire up your fat burning hormones. By injecting some healthy sugars into your system it will literally kick your leptin and insulin into action. However, the real magic happens when you put in place a cunning plan the following day.
After your cheat meal on day 13 you must then fast until your eating window opens again at 4pm and closes again at 8pm the following day (day 14). This does require another level of dedication but the impact this tactic can have on your body shape can be very powerful.
You then repeat this cycle every 7 days:
- 1st to 5th day: eating window: 8 hours + fasting window: 16 hours
- 6th day: cheat meal
- 7th day: fast until 4pm and stop eating at 8pm (4 hour eating window)
If you are very lean you could get away with a cheat day on the 6th day. However, if you have body fat to lose limit this to a cheat meal.
Don’t Forget To Move
I deliberately did not focus on exercise in the article but it is important not to ignore it. A growing body of evidence is being produced to support the benefits of combining intermittent fasting with exercise. In particular exercises that increase the production rate of HGH (human growth hormone) such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training, which are the ideal types of exercise when combined with intermittent fasting.
Our next REBORN course (called REBORN18) launches at FITISM Wilmslow on Tuesday 16th January 2018 and at FITISM Bakewell on Wednesday 17th January 2018.
If you live in or around Bakewell, Derbyshire or Wilmslow, Cheshire and would like to join our next REBORN course click this link and reserve your place for the launch: www.fitism.co.uk/courses/reborn18