Intermittent fasting is not just a diet plan. It's a lifestyle change. It's based on the idea that the human body isn't designed for three full meals a day, every day. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors had to hunt for their food. And they had to be lean and nimble—not weighted down by heavy meals—to get the job done.
During a period of fasting, the body is forced to work more efficiently with the energy it has stored. All of the body's senses are on high alert. There is no "2:30 feeling," where you need a nap because your insulin spikes and then drops like a roller coaster.
If you eat only one large or two modest meals a days, temptation will stay at bay and saying no to bad habits will be easier. Your body will be more sensitive to insulin, creating an environment that stimulates muscle growth and limits fat storage.
My average fasting recommendation is 16 hours of fasting followed by eight hours in which you eat two meals. Base your fasting and eating windows off your last meal. For example, if you finish dinner at 7:00 p.m., fast until 11:00 a.m. the next day.
During your fast, you can have water and coffee, but avoid drinks with calories, and stay away from solid foods completely. When you do eat, go for lean protein sources and have colorful plates with sufficient servings of fruits and vegetables.
It's best to avoid fasting during a sports season due to the high energy demands of practices and games. However, if you are in the off-season and want to build muscle and burn fat, give intermittent fasting a try and see if it works for you.
- Fast Facts: Intermittent Fasting and the On-the-Go Athlete
- What Is Intermittent Fasting and Why You Should Try It
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