As some of you know, I was the guy who prioritized carbs and protein over fats. That was/is the approach a lot of successful people were promoting, it’s the way a lot of us are raised and influenced. Until this past January that’s the way I went about my nutrition, I didn’t track, weigh or measure anything, I relied on my basic knowledge of nutrition. When I moved to the U.K this past January, I made the radical shift and started following the ”carb cycling” protocol. In a nutshell this protocol needs you to eat higher amounts of fat and protein while timing your carbohydrates right throughout the day. (If you want to read more about carb cycling you can do so here).
What does intermittent fasting do and how does it work?
It wasn’t until this whole lockdown/quarantine happened that I started implementing the intermittent fasting protocol. I was already using the carb cycling protocol as a way to allow my body to use my fat storage as the primary energy source throughout the day. The intermittent fasting protocol intensifies this even more because it allows your body to settle your blood sugars levels and insulin production completely. As a result, it allows your body to use fat storage as its primary energy source even more. As you might have read in some of my other blogs, insulin production has been shown to have a direct impact on weight gain and obesity (more insulin production = more weight gain). The main idea behind the ”fasting – eating window ratios” are to give our body the ability to bring our blood sugar levels back to normal and reduce the insulin production.
It has been proven that a 14/15 – 8/9 ratio works best, that means you fast for 14-15 hours (the time you’re not eating) and give yourself a 8-9 hour window to eat. While you’re fasting the only thing you’re able to consume is water. Coffee and other liquids like that still have an impact on the processes that we’re trying to avoid by fasting, just water.
When you do ”fasted workouts” (working out without eating) you give your body a better chance of tapping into your fat storage because the blood sugar levels and insulin production are back to normal.
If you haven’t noticed yet, everything seems to come back to the insulin levels. Whatever technique supports your lifestyle and keeps the insulin production to a minimum is the way to go for you.
How I am implementing intermittent fasting
I get up at 5AM every single day of the week, I workout 5 days a week and have my set rest days on Thursday and Sunday. I use intermittent fasting every single day of the week and that means getting 4 meals in between 9AM and 6 PM, I take the approach of 15-9 (15 hours of fasting, 9 hours of the eating window). During my training days I try to get my first workout in before 9 o’clock and have my first meal right after I am done working out. This means that I do almost all of my morning training sessions ”fasted”, this allows my body to tap into my fat storage more because of the settled insulin levels. My first meal is also my only carb heavy meal throughout the day. My first training session is where I burn most of my ”active calories” throughout the day and I want to replenish whatever carbohydrates I might have lost throughout that first training session (that allows me to recover better and faster and supports muscle growth). Between 9AM and 6PM I try to get about 4 meals in, one carb heavy meal, the rest is all fat and protein focused. On my rest days I try to keep the same meal structure of 4 main meals, the big difference here is that I take in significantly less carbohydrates. I take out my carb heavy meal that I consume on training days and replace it with a calorie lighter, but fat and protein heavy meal. Where on training days I take in about 150 grams of carbohydrates a day, I limit myself to 50 grams on rest days. That difference is mainly focused on allowing my body to continuously use fats as my fuel source. As I have stated before, eating more fats will burn more fats but it also makes you feel much better and energized throughout the day.
My experience with intermittent fasting
At first, I was very hesitant to start intermittent fasting because of the short eating window each day. It would make it more difficult to spread out my meals evenly while getting enough macro nutrients and calories in. I am not going to lie, somedays it’s definitely challenging to spread my meals out evenly because of classes I have to coach, personal training appointment, my own training sessions etc.. 99% percent of the time I always seem to make it work somehow; some days are not as good as other in terms of meal timing but I don’t mind it when looking at the overall picture. I still have some mornings where I wake up feeling hungry but as soon as I start coaching, training etc. that feeling disappears until it’s time to eat. I definitely am surprised that I don’t feel as hungry throughout the day as I used to but that might also be because of high amount of fat and protein I consume each day (they satisfy longer). I started losing more fat while maintaining/ gaining muscle mass and strength since starting the ” carb cycling” nutrition so I can’t say that has made a big difference by itself. I am very sure that it has supported my goal of staying lean and gaining muscle mass/strength slowly but surely (which is a hard thing to combine).
Just because I feel like ”carb cycling” is already a great method for me to keep my fat metabolism high while increasing my muscle mass/strength, I am considering dropping the intermittent fasting strategy when it becomes too much of a hassle. If or when I decide to drop it, I might hold on to it for my rest days if I can.
As to what I have experienced myself, I sincerely believe intermittent fasting to be a good tool for a lot of people who want to lose weight and fat. I have seen and felt what it has done for me over the past 4 months. I definitely did not go into it with the best expectations but I am positively surprised. I would definitely recommend you to try it out, but make sure you have a meal strategy before going into it. Don’t give up/in when you feel hungry the first couple days, either your body has to get used to it more or you might have to increase your fat and protein intake.
Leave a Reply