Intermittent Fasting and Fat Loss: 3 Approaches to 16/8 Fasting

I came across Intermittent Fasting (IF) a few weeks ago. As a big breakfast advocate and morning gym-goer, the idea of skipping breakfast doesn’t really make much sense to me. But my fat loss stalls. I need to do something to break through this plateau so I decided to give it a try. The simple science behind it is that the insulin sensitivity drops dramatically when you fast, making stored body fat more accessible (1). Meanwhile, the levels of human growth hormone (HGH) rises. HGH is responsible for maintaining many bodily functions, like tissue repair, muscle growth, energy, and metabolism (2). Fasting provides a boost of HGH that enhances weight loss, especially in the obese.

Change of Mindset

I have always been a clean eater, and reconsidering my food options would not be the best way to go about this change. Instead, I went with the 16/8 fasting – fasting for 16 hours and feeding for 8 hours.  Though a few thoughts started popping up as soon as I looked into the research about IF, but the transformation pictures spoke louder. Most importantly, I am still eating the same amount of calories and counting the macros. It’s micromanaging.

Planning Your Fast

I aim to have at least 8 hours of my fast spent during sleeping, and depending on when my workout session or yoga class is at, I alter the timing for my first meal of the day. Though it is the best to keep your feeding period around the same time every day, I don’t want to stress over whether or not I need to attend a different yoga class to fit my schedule. After all, the beauty of this “dieting” is self-adjustable as long as you are eating the 2,000 calories within an 8-hour span.

(A) Morning workout
For someone who trains before 9am, your branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) is particularly critical. In order to lose fat without compromising your muscle gain, you should never do weight training with zero caloric intake before, during, or after. That’s when BCAAs come to rescue. My routine during most weekdays goes something like this:

7:45AM: 10g BCAAs
8AM: Training
9AM: 10g BCAAs
11AM: 10g BCAAs
12:30PM: 1st meal (30%)
4:30PM: 2nd meal (20%)
8:30PM: 3rd meal (35%)

(B) Noon workout
During weekends, I usually go with this approach since I get to sleep in for a bit. Since I am usually not at home, I like to grab quick bites and tiny “cheat meal” along the feeding period. Reward yourself with ice cream, cookies or whatever that satisfies your sweet tooth with the “Snacks” meal.

11AM: 1st meal (25%)
1PM: Training
Right after: Whey protein + fruit for carbs (15%)
2:30PM: 2nd meal (25%)
4:30PM: Snacks (20%)
7PM: 3rd meal (15%)

(C) Nighttime workout
I don’t normally train at night because it affects my sleeping pattern. Sometimes, I have a hard time falling asleep when I exercise near bed time. But with the nature of my working hours, I can only hit the gym right before it closes at midnight. Days like these I usually know in advance, specifically during pitch or campaign season.

12PM: 1st meal (25%)
4PM: 2nd  meal (25%)
7PM: Training
Right after: Whey protein + fruit for carbs (15%)
8PM: 3rd meal (35%)

2 weeks results/ thoughts

With the above 3 approaches, I tried to plan my first and last meal at a similar time. The diet, or what I would call “eat-pattern,” allows me to increase training volume and reps to accommodate muscle building without feeling depleted (I still keep my original calorie deficit). I have been starting to see a slight decrease in my body fat percentage. Overall, I will continue this technique into my lifestyle because of the following reasons:

  1. I have not experienced regular bloating from food combining
  2. I don’t feel hungry or super full after each meal
  3. I see more body definition especially in my core area (ABS!)

There are also other fasting techniques such as Eat Stop Eat and Warrior Diet which I don’t prefer because of the extended period of fasting required. The 16/8 fasting is sustainable and micro-manageable with my current lifestyle. In the end, all of the above requires consistent dieting and training to see long-term results.

 

 

 

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