Note: This post originally appeared on Restore Your Fitness
How to do Intermittent Fasting
The “F” Word?
Well, the long-awaited day has finally come! You know the day I’m referring to! The day that we have “the talk.” What talk is that? The one about the “F” word and how to do Intermittent Fasting correctly.
More specifically, I’m going to touch on the basics and differences between regular fasting AND intermittent fasting (IF).
But, it’s really all fasting at the end of the day. You’re either eating or you’re not. It’s that simple. And you’re either doing it for a short amount of time or long amount of time.
So, let’s take off our shoes and socks and dive into the pool of how to do intermittent fasting.
What is dis Intermittent Fasting thing anyways?
Well, it’s funny you should ask, because I get posed this question almost daily. To put it into easy-to-understand vernacular, fasting is simply abstaining from eating. I know I might have just said that, but I like to reiterate for those of you who have short-term memories.
Intermittent fasting is alternating back and forth between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
There are probably now a thousand combinations of ways to do this. But for the sake of sanity and brevity, I’m going to keep it focused on one type of intermittent fasting called time-restricted-feeding (TRF for short).
In the grand scheme of things, your goal is to fast for longer than the amount of time you eat. Let’s use an example that your 2-year-old would understand.
If you stop eating at 7 pm at night and then proceed to eat your first meal at 8 am, the next day, your fasting window would be 13 hours. Thus, your eating window will be 11 hours.
If you didn’t flunk math in middle school, you will easily see that you’ve achieved the goal of fasting longer than your eating window. Welcome to the minors, kid. There’s hope for you after all. You’re now well on your way to the big league!
Although this window is cool, it’s even cooler if you can hit 15 hours. That’s where more money is hidden and the benefits compound. We’ll talk more about that down the road when you’ve gotten to this point.
How to do Intermittent Fasting Correctly
Intermittent Fasting Tip #1 Watch What You Eat and Drink
To do intermittent fasting correctly you have to watch what you eat and drink. Obviously, when you're fasting you shouldn't have anything, but we still need to point this out.
Technically, you can get away with drinking black coffee or eating fat when you’re “in the fast” so to speak. But the second you swallow a chip, pretzel, kernel of popcorn or slice of hot pastrami, the fast is over.
Then you go back to mediocrity and you need to start from scratch. This simply means carbs and protein will take you out and fat won’t.
Intermittent Fasting Tip #2: Water and Sea Salt
If you’re a hardcore gunslinger like me, I choose to go with two things while fasting—water and sea salt. Water will keep you hydrated and sea salt helps curb your appetite and keep your electrolytes up.
That being said, I just took away your weak excuse of you passing out while fasting. Honestly, you have a much better chance of getting abducted by Martians while watching the international ping pong championships on TRU TV than passing out.
Unless you are as lean as a selfie stick, you’ll have enough fat on your body to keep you alive for days without having so much as a dizzy spell! You just don’t want to admit that you lack the discipline to fast.
And it’s totally fine if you do. I’d rather you be honest than lead me on and give me false hope that you are actually making positive lifestyle changes.
As for sea salt, I’ll strategically sprinkle it into my diet throughout the day—literally and figuratively. This all hinges on how hungry I am and how long I’m fasting. If I’m pulling a two-dayer—yes, that’s 48 hours if you don’t understand Railbonics—I’ll use it more often.
But if I’m doing my normal 15-hour deal, I don’t rely on it that much.
Intermittent Fasting Tip #3: Ease Into It
Treat Intermittent fasting like you would barefoot running. You don’t just rip off your shoes and run down the street like a wild buffalo. You need to work your way up and build a tolerance.
The same goes for kettlebell training, bench pressing, barre class, or prancercise.
You need to acclimate and get into a groove. And as the days turn to weeks, it’ll keep getting easier. But, you’ll still get the benefits, which we’ll get to in a second.
Getting Started with Intermittent Fasting
Now, I know you’ve probably been following a pretty similar eating schedule ever since you were a little punkadoodle. And old habits are hard to break. Especially as you get up in age. But, I’m going to give you a little schematic to follow that will surely get you dialed in.
Chances are you’ve grown accustomed to the three-square meals a day plan. Or, perhaps you had a conversation with Johnny Meathead at your local gym and he convinced you that you should graze all day long (a recipe for putting on large amounts of body fat).
Honestly, I don’t care who you spoke to or what you did, do or are being groomed to believe. All that matters is, you listen to what I’m about to say right now in the present moment.
Before you jump right into to an intermittent fasting window of 15-hours, progress your way there. Remember what I said earlier about building up your tolerance levels. Well, you’re going to learn firsthand how to do that right now!
Start by going one week with a 12-hour fasting window. So, if you finish your last meal at 8 pm, don’t eat until 8 am. I think that’s a pretty fair and easy request to honor. And it’s also easy to figure out.
Once this week is up, add an hour to your intermittent fasting window and take one away from your eating window. If you use the same example, you would then allocate 8 pm to 9 am for fasting and 9 am to 8 pm for eating. This would get you to 13 hours of fasting.
Do this for two weeks and then increase your fasting window to 14 hours for two weeks. Finally, get to 15 hours and then keep it there.
In a short six weeks, you will have gotten to your destination and the underpinnings will be put in place. The real fun is now about to begin!
What to do once you know how to do intermittent fasting correctly
Once you reach 15 hours, you only need to follow this five days a week to gain the benefits. Think of it like a job where you have weekends off. Or, scrap that plan and fast for 15 hours every day. It certainly won’t hurt, and I have been doing it like this for months straight.
Then, when you’re really feeling the power and you’re ready to up your game, give 24 hours a shot. Eventually, you want to get up to 48 hours and I’ll leave it up to you how you get there.
You’ve already learned how to gradually work yourself up to 15 hours, so I have faith you can figure it out.
And I suggest you do these longer fasts once every two or three months. Again, you need to build up your tolerance level. I currently do them once a month. But not everyone has the discipline that I have.
Your body is an amazing organism though. It’s capable of adapting to stresses placed upon it over time. So don’t think for a second that you’ll never be able to stretch out your time frame. It just takes a bit of patience and discipline.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Here are some of the many benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Improved sleep
- Inflammation reduction
- Gut healing from nagging conditions
- Higher energy levels
- Better hormone function
- Improved brain function
- Flatter stomach
- Weight loss in general
And here’s where it gets even better! When you hit the 24-to-48-hour mark, you go into a state of autophagy. What happens here is your body simultaneously purges rogue cells that cause disease, discomfort and problems, AND you get a massive stem cell dump.
Are you familiar with the current stem cell craze?
You’d be hard pressed to not find a stem cell clinic in any town across the globe right now. Stem cells are the catalysts that promote healing of tissue.
When you hit a longer fast, you get a natural boost of them, which can further heal injuries and do unexplained things like make your teeth and eyes whiter, make you see more clearly, make your skin healthier and take the stiffness away from your joints and muscles.
Now you can see why you would eventually want to sprinkle these longer fasts into your schedule.
Additional Quick Fasting Tips
Quick and fast are closely related, just for the record. And here are some bullet points to take into consideration when fasting:
- Your ideal eating window is 9 am and 6 pm.
- Eat healthy, duh…Try to get as many fermented foods, sprouts and whole foods in your eating windows as possible. And a whole food is not one that has acesulfame potassium, carcinogens, high-fructose corn syrup, red lake #4 or TBHQ in it! You want foods that are as close to mother nature as possible.
- Work out in a fasted state. This will boost your testosterone and growth hormone levels through the roof, which can lead to more muscle mass and definition. Sure, this might purely be aesthetic, but when was wanting to look good a crime?
Conclusion: In reality, I’ve only scratched the surface here when it comes to intermittent fasting, but I hope you have learned the basics of how to do intermittent fasting correctly and the many benefits it can provide your body and mind.
I have a new eBook in the works as we speak on this very topic, so make sure to visit my site www.restoreyourfitness.com for more information.
Well, I’ve spoken long enough and it’s time to go break my fast. Until next time, my name is K/Rail. Hit me up if you have any questions or comments and make sure to sign up for My Six-pack Challenge!
Kevin is an internationally known and sought after fitness coach featured in the documentary films, “Fasting” and “The Motivation Factor” by Doug Orchard Films. Kevin is also the host of the Train for Longevity Podcast and head fitness consultant for Pine Pollen Superfoods and The Train for Longevity fitness community. He specializes in functional training, core training, three-dimensional movement, motivation and Restorative Arts. He has a B.S. in Sport Management/Fitness & Wellness and is certified through ACSM, NASM and ACE.