Intermittent fasting: a guide on how to get started
Ever since the caveman days, humans have been on a hunt for sustenance. This is not only to fill our stomachs but also to satiate our minds with thoughts of what we could be eating next. Today's society has become obsessed with food, and it is easy to understand why. The convenience of having all your favourite foods at your fingertips 24/7 coupled with the never-ending social media posts about new restaurant openings means that food can consume you day in and day out. I'm sure many people reading this are nodding their heads in agreement right now! But there is hope! Intermittent fasting may be just what you need to get back on track or kickstart healthy habits into place. You'll learn everything you need to know about intermittent fasting and how you can get started today!
1.What is intermittent fasting and how does it work?
Intermittent fasting is a dieting trend that has been growing in popularity for the past few years. It involves going periods of time without food, but still drinking water and other non-caloric beverages. The goal of intermittent fasting is to give your body a break from constantly digesting food.
For maximum benefits, intermittent fasting should be combined with strength training and other healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.
2. The benefits of intermittent fasting
Research studies show that people who fast intermittently tend to be healthier than those who don't. Frequent eating has been linked with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. By taking a break from eating, intermittent fasting allows the body to go into its natural healing mode. The body starts to use stored fat as energy when it hasn't had any food for a while, which promotes weight loss.
It is important not to fast to the point where you are so hungry that you can't control your thoughts or actions! Fasting also has mental benefits because research links fasting with improved mood and brain function. Your mind will feel clear and sharp, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
When you are intermittent fasting, your body will go through its glycogen stores quickly because there is not much glucose available for fuel. This means that during a fasted state, more of what you consume gets burned off as opposed to being stored as fat! Intermittent fasting is also great for your digestive system. Your gut health will improve as you are giving it a break from being exposed to food on a regular basis.
It's important not to overdo intermittent fasting because the body requires energy sources in order to function properly, so be mindful of what you're eating throughout any short-term fasts that you partake in. It is also important to note that fasting isn't for everyone, so always consult with your doctor before trying anything new like intermittent fasting!
3. How to get started with intermittent fasting
To get started on your own intermittent fasting plan follow these steps:
-Determine the number of hours you want to fast for each day (16/0). Decide on a fasting and feeding window. For example, you may choose to fast for 16 hours each day and eat during the remaining eight (16/0). Determine your goal weight by using our BMI calculator.
- Start with small intermittent fasting windows if necessary. If you are new to strength training start with lighter weights that allow you to do a higher number of reps - Once you have lost a little bit of weight and your strength gains plateau, add another day to the fasting window - If you are strength training twice per week, add another day after two weeks - Try intermittent fasting for a month before adding in more days.
- Include resistance exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once like pushups and squats in your workouts - Focus on form when doing these exercises; it will reduce the risk of injury. - Find a way to track your workouts.
- Get enough sleep every night (at least seven to eight hours) - Do some cardio like running, jogging or cycling every day (or at least five times per week).
- Add in extra activities throughout the day to get more steps. When you are doing your daily activities make sure that you walk whenever possible instead of sitting down. For example, take the stairs instead of using an elevator.
- If possible add in strength training exercises like cable rows and bicep curls on your rest days - Follow a balanced diet that includes healthy carbohydrates, lean protein and good fats.
- Be consistent with your workouts and stick to the plan. - Don't forget to have fun, too!
4. Common questions about intermittent fasting
-Does intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
Yes! Intermittent fasting has been linked with improved metabolism, weight loss and reduced risk of chronic disease.
-Why should I consider intermittent fasting as a diet strategy?
In addition to improving your health, research shows that those who fast have increased mental clarity and better brain function.
-How does intermittent fasting affect my muscles?
Intermittent fasting can actually be beneficial for building muscle. Your body will use more of what you consume as fuel instead of storing it as fat!
-I'm not sure if I am ready to try intermittent fasting, is there another option?
Yes, there are plenty of other ways to get healthier without fasting! Start with a balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods.
-What if I can't give up breakfast?
Intermittent fasting doesn't mean you have to skip your morning meal entirely - simply eat before noon!
-Will I lose weight if I only fast for 16 hours?
Intermittent fasting isn't just about losing weight, but it certainly helps. However, you should consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.
-Can I do intermittent fasting if I work out? Yes, absolutely! Intermittent fasting is actually great for weight loss, muscle gain and overall health improvement.
5. Tips for getting through the first few days of Intermittent Fasting
-Eat your biggest meal of the day at lunch, not dinner.
-Drink plenty of water throughout the day and unsweetened tea or coffee in between meals to keep you hydrated and satisfied.
-Use our resources as a guide on what intermittent fasting is all about before starting this method for yourself!
-Treat yourself! Once you get past the first few days of intermittent fasting, your body will be used to it and hunger pains won't bother you anymore.
-Know that nutrition is important for everyone but especially for those who are looking to build muscle or lose weight - make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs by eating healthy, balanced meals.
-Feel great by completing your workouts feeling energised instead of exhausted - doing this will help you stick with it long term and see better results!
In conclusion if you're looking for an effective way to lose weight, improve your overall health and wellness or just need to clean up your eating habits then intermittent fasting may be the perfect solution for you! Start by following our guide to get started on the right track towards your new fit lifestyle.
- Recommended reading list:
Tony Horton's - The Age Defying Fitness Plan for Women (Berkley). 2009. Print.
Moore, Molly-The 24 Hour Diet(Fitness) (St Martin's Paperback) 2007 .Print.
Dr Jason Fung - The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fast (Graphic). 2016. Print.