“Make sure you eat your breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day.” Many, many mornings later and with a gut leakier than (I won't even say), I have come to my own conclusion on the matter…
Skipping the ‘most important’ meal of the day is the absolute BEST thing you can decide to do and even more important, fasting for as longer periods such as 16-42 hours leads to a cascade of biochemical responses which keep the body youthful and functional.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Firstly, this is not starvation. This is where you purposefully abstain from any consumable food/drink other than water for an extended period of time. For example, the 16/8 fast/feed window = 16 hours fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window. So, if your last meal is at 8pm on Monday you will not eat/drink anything other than water until 12pm on Tuesday. Other windows include 18/6 and 20/4.
What to expect?
Amidst the 1001 challenging questions I sense you're asking... ‘But will I have energy?’ ‘Wont I lose all my gains?’ ‘Is it even healthy?’
I can assure you, you will do yourself no harm in consciously going without food for a few hours than usual. However, I must share what you can expect by engaging in Intermittent Fasting. Because you are so used to putting food/drinks (other than water) in your mouth so soon after waking up you will become more consciously aware of the emptiness of your stomach.
The more you focus on this, the stronger the pangs of hunger get. Half an hour will go by and it will feel like hours. You may even experience muscle weakness/fatigue as the hours go by. Thoughts of eating certain foods now consume your entire thought process. You start counting the hours/minutes until your next meal. I know right, I’ve completely put you off ever trying it. Just bear with me though, I am actually going somewhere with this. There are some actual benefits to Intermittent Fasting…
Why bother Intermittent Fasting?
So why even bother subjecting yourself to such discomfort when you have complete control over the situation. There is a saying that in order to grow you must go outside your comfort zone. The same is true for Intermittent Fasting. In order to elicit the many benefits of fasting, you must get comfortable on an ‘empty stomach’. The benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Reduced inflammation in the body
- Increased sensitivity to hormone insulin which helps to shed fat mass
- Increased level of growth hormone – essential for burning fat or muscle building
- Autophagy – cleansing the toxins/waste at a cellular level
- Better absorption and digestion of macro and micronutrients
- Increased energy levels and sense of feeling ‘lighter’
- Increased productivity – you are not consumed by food or slowed down the body’s biochemical reaction to food
- You learn to carry out your daily activities in the absence of food and remain humble.
- Longer life-span
Bonus – fasting longer than 24 hours induces body into a ketotic state where it primarily utilizes fat stores as a source of energy. Fat also provides 3 times the amount of energy as carbohydrates. It is a very efficient energy supplier.
Fasting also contributes to the phenomenon of autophagy. This is where the body begins to feed on and destroy the waste products in the body at a cellular level. Think of it as a fasting-induced internal cleanse.
ADVOCATES for intermittent fasting like Ori Holfmekler and Arthur De Vany have well documented the healing power of going for long periods on water only. By abstaining from food, you are allowing the body to heal itself and giving your digestive system a much-needed rest from the constant attack of food forcing its way through the system.
Firstly, it is important that as you consume WATER ONLY! That means no coffee, tablets, juice, supplements or powders. Just pure water.
Please please please, don’t just go by what this article states, but also do your own due diligence on Intermittent Fasting and come to your own decision on whether it is for you. If you are mentally ready for the challenge it makes it a lot easier. In contrast, if you are doing it without a purpose you are much more likely to fail with it.
How to start Intermittent fasting?
Of course, if you have never engaged in the humbling practice of Intermittent Fasting, maybe diving into a 42-hour water fast is not the best decision to make unless extremely disciplined and mentally ready. As this is not most of us, just start gradually and slowly.
If you are someone that is up at the crack of dawn and keen to get your ‘slow release’ carbohydrate fix or high fat/protein calorie dense meal then just start by delaying that until the late morning. Make sure to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated throughout the period. Aim to gradually increase the length of time before breakfast.
The easiest way to do it is if you have your last meal at 8pm the night before, breaking your fast at 12pm the following day. This usually coincides with the lunch period at work so is fairly practical.
Hopefully, this has added value to your knowledge of intermittent fasting and even if it is not for you now, in future it may be. I am a big advocate for reconnecting with your body so be experimental and don’t shy away from discomfort. Always have a reason for why you do what you do whether its weight loss or muscle building or even to just see how your body responds.
The best evidence out there is the evidence YOU gather yourself from YOUR experiences.
A typical day of Intermittent Fasting.
Last meal Sunday at 8pm.
7am: Wake up – drink up to 500ml of water only
9am: Up to another 500ml of water
11am: up to 250ml of water
12pm: First meal – Break-fast with 5-8 portions of fruits.
3pm: Second meal – e.g. Quinoa/Wild rice with a mixed bean curry and green leafy veg
6pm: Snack – smoothie (oats, soaked mixed nuts, flax seeds, organic goji berries, agave nectar)
8pm: Third meal e.g. Pasta with mixed vegetable stew and plantain.
Notable people who carry out Intermittent Fasting
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter – Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Actress
- Terry Crews – Actor, Artist, Football player
- Hugh Jackman – Actor, singer, producer
- **Ori Hofmekler – Author of The Warrior Diet, Exercise enthusiast
- Arthur De Vany – Author, American Economist, Fitness and nutrition enthusiast
**A realistic and effective way to apply intermittent fasting to your lifestyle that I would strongly advocate is the Ori Hofmekler method in this Warrior diet. Offering tips on unleashing the power of extended times between meals and effective dietary choices. Check it out by clicking the image below and get your copy today!!
The following information is just my advice and experiences on the topic of intermittent fasting. I will always advocate doing your own research and seeking guidance from a medical professional before if unsure about making any healthcare decisions.
About the Author
Osei Agyeman is a chartered Physiotherapist (MCSP) with an additional degree in Sport and Exercise science. Having also completed a Level 3 Personal Training and Level 2 Gym instructor qualifications my experience of Rehab, health and fitness are extensive. Oss is passionate about maximising performance through optimal functional movement. He takes a keen interest in nutrition and the power of how food (or no food) affects the body’s biochemistry. Oss offers no quick fixes or cheat methods for goal attainment but is a strong advocate for consistent and sustainable progress through hard work.