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  • Erin Rock

Intermittent Fasting: It’s Not a Diet

There has been a lot of buzz in the fitness industry about intermittent fasting. As a fitness professional, I am always skeptical about new trends. But IF (intermittent fasting) is far from a trend.

If you haven’t heard the phrase before, let me offer a brief explanation. IF is not a diet, but an eating schedule. Typically, it is eating according to a daily, eating window. The most common ratio is an eight hour daily eating window, typically 11am to 7pm, or noon to 8pm. This means that for 16 hours of the day, your body is in a “fasted” state.

Now that we’ve established that, how does it work? First of all, it is a very simple way to cut calories. The key to weight loss is a caloric deficit, and this achieves that by basically cutting breakfast, and eliminating late-night snacking. And secondly, when we are in the fasted state, our bodies have to tap into our fat stores for energy. Thus, we burn more fat.

I began fasting about five months ago. Being used to hearty breakfasts, I did have hunger cravings the first week. Ever since then, it has been easy. Like many others, I feel less bloated and experience more clarity in the mornings. It is easier to focus. After some initial weight loss, it has been easy to maintain my goal weight. As an endurance athlete, I stick to six days a week because I do like to fuel on my 3-5 hour long bike morning.

Many highly-respected nutritionists, strength-coaches and athletes swear by IF. About half of my clients do it, and all have seen results.  Unlike other trends such as low-carb, Atkins, paleo, etc. this is NOT a diet and that is why it works. It does not involve religiously counting calories, logging info into food journals or weighing your meals. And it can work for anyone, whether you are an athlete or sedentary.  However, if you truly want to get the most bang for your buck, fasted cardio will give you an edge. Biking, running, rowing or any other cardio (even walking) at the end of that fasting window will turn you into a fat-burning machine!

If you’re interested in giving this a try, I suggest printing out the guide and calendar template from Nerd Fitness. They also discuss some other options (such as a shorter eating window and a weekly 24 hour fast) but for the sake of simplicity I suggest starting with the eight hour feeding window.  Here is a link to the download https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nerdfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Intermittent-Fasting.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj2vongsuXeAhWjSt8KHcsQDCsQFjABegQIBxAB&usg=AOvVaw3edO__WYtVYJ2a3jI2o9EJ&cshid=1542800314385

So let me offer you a challenge. Let’s start on Thanksgiving and finish on Christmas. Log results on the provided template daily. Who is with me?

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