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Intermittent Fasting Basics

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2011 at 4:53 PM

I have been looking for basic rules re IF and can't find them.

I have read the leangains website and unless im just blind and tired i cant find a FAQ.

I have 20lbs I want to lose asap and have been stalled for over a month now. I plan on weight tranining twice a week 3 days between each using a 5x5 plan. And I also play rec soccer once a week. I have also incorporated a once a week in the am stair climb, 5x20 floors (30 mins).

My Q's re IF are:

  1. FREQUENCY: How often should this be done? Once a week, daily? Only on train days? Only on rest days?
  2. Optimal time between meals: should it be 13,16,18 hours? Is it from the last meal or is it 2hrs since last meal to include digestion and depict true fasting?
  3. Daily intake: If I am fasting from 9pm-1pm then from 1pm-9pm do I eat 3 meals (every 2.5 hrs?) to get my daily calorie intake say 2500? or do I use calorie restriction?

I cant think of any other q's right now..

Thx

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 09:22 PM

That sounds more like random fasting. IF can be random, I guess, but most people lead structured lives and so eating at random isn't usually very possible. I don't know of any research which suggests that randomly fasting for random periods of time has any benefit. Maybe it's out there, but I haven't seen it, or really anyone talking about it. I see people doing things randomly because they believe paleo life had some element of randomness to it (read: re-enactment), but that's just grok-speculation and I don't think there's any proven benefit.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 09:21 PM

That would be random fasting, not intermittent fasting. I don't know of any research which suggests that randomly fasting for random periods of time has any benefit. Maybe it's out there, but I haven't seen it, or really anyone talking about it. I see people doing things randomly because they believe paleo life had some element of randomness to it (read: re-enactment), but that's just grok-speculation and I don't think there's any proven benefit.

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 04, 2011
at 08:54 PM

I always thought the idea of intermittent fasting was for it to be unplanned in length and duration so that your body became better adapted at not expecting food and going longer lengths of time between meals.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I just realized that you might be missing a key point here. The question "how often are you IF" is directly addressed by point 1 in my post. The answer is: always. Every day has the same eating structure. This habituates your body to that pattern of eating, which supposedly has some benefits. Regardless of whether that's true, the answer remains the same: you don't fast according to some periodic schedule, you do it every day.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:44 PM

You're always IF. The interruptions where you eat outside your normal window are tolerable (no big deal really) but they're just that: interruptions. They're not planned. The entirety of the program is this: you can eat for eight contiguous hours, then you don't eat for the next 16. _That's it._

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:42 PM

You're always IFing. That's as simple as it gets. NOT IFing is a tolerable interruption, but that's unplanned and happens when it happens. The plan is simple: fast 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours. _That's it._

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:20 PM

and how often are you IF?.. Im not trying to over complicate it just simplify it..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

Great answer! Don't complicate it, listen to your body. I'm never hungry on IF - it just comes naturally.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:10 PM

I have read that but those 3 simple q's are not addressed anywhere. Thx tho

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2 Answers

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5
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:22 PM

1) Your body, over some period of time, will adapt to the timing of your meals. So if you want to do IF "right", then try to have the same eating window every day. This will eventually train your body to expect food at certain times, which may have various theoretical benefits. The pragmatic one is that your appetite will hopefully only be heightened around mealtimes.

2) I don't think the concept of "optimal" can be generalized like this. It seems like the general rule of thumb is 8/16 - 16 hour fast with 8 hours where you can eat. I don't know if that's optimal and I don't think there is any data to support any assertion of optimality. So, basically, go with what you can actually sustain as part of your lifestyle. The key here is being able to sustain a lifestyle - none of this works if you bail on the second day.

3) Typically your biggest meal will be the one directly after your workout/fast. If you skip breakfast and eat at 12-1pm, then that meal will be huge just based on appetite. You can eat one or two more meals after that, but judge based on hunger. If you want to count calories to try to accelerate weight loss, then again, which meal is largest will come down to what is sustainable for you given your lifestyle.

General advice: DO NOT OVERCOMPLICATE THIS! It is not complicated. You've got ~8 hours to eat in a given day. Line those ~8 hours up with the time in which your life gives you the most opportunity to eat. At that point, for most people, there's nothing else to do.

The next complication would be counting calories to check your appetite's ability to signal fullness. If your appetite is working (might not in your case, who knows), then this is unnecessary.

Then if you want to complicate it further, you can cycle macronutrients (ie eat more carbs on a workout day, less carbs on a non-workout day, protein all the time). I think the idea is that there are some (theoretical) benefits to nutrient partitioning by doing this.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 09:22 PM

That sounds more like random fasting. IF can be random, I guess, but most people lead structured lives and so eating at random isn't usually very possible. I don't know of any research which suggests that randomly fasting for random periods of time has any benefit. Maybe it's out there, but I haven't seen it, or really anyone talking about it. I see people doing things randomly because they believe paleo life had some element of randomness to it (read: re-enactment), but that's just grok-speculation and I don't think there's any proven benefit.

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 04, 2011
at 08:54 PM

I always thought the idea of intermittent fasting was for it to be unplanned in length and duration so that your body became better adapted at not expecting food and going longer lengths of time between meals.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

Great answer! Don't complicate it, listen to your body. I'm never hungry on IF - it just comes naturally.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I just realized that you might be missing a key point here. The question "how often are you IF" is directly addressed by point 1 in my post. The answer is: always. Every day has the same eating structure. This habituates your body to that pattern of eating, which supposedly has some benefits. Regardless of whether that's true, the answer remains the same: you don't fast according to some periodic schedule, you do it every day.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:20 PM

and how often are you IF?.. Im not trying to over complicate it just simplify it..

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:44 PM

You're always IF. The interruptions where you eat outside your normal window are tolerable (no big deal really) but they're just that: interruptions. They're not planned. The entirety of the program is this: you can eat for eight contiguous hours, then you don't eat for the next 16. _That's it._

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 09:21 PM

That would be random fasting, not intermittent fasting. I don't know of any research which suggests that randomly fasting for random periods of time has any benefit. Maybe it's out there, but I haven't seen it, or really anyone talking about it. I see people doing things randomly because they believe paleo life had some element of randomness to it (read: re-enactment), but that's just grok-speculation and I don't think there's any proven benefit.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 04, 2011
at 06:42 PM

You're always IFing. That's as simple as it gets. NOT IFing is a tolerable interruption, but that's unplanned and happens when it happens. The plan is simple: fast 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours. _That's it._

1
6da7ce6a4a250c46a6e78b5b4e22da83

(987)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Here's a good leangains link. It has most on the info about his method:

http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 04, 2011
at 05:10 PM

I have read that but those 3 simple q's are not addressed anywhere. Thx tho

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