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The Truth About Intermittent Fasting

Full IF Review!

Posted by Scott_Herman - March 8th, 2018
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A lot of you have been waiting for me to dive into the topic of Intermittent Fasting, and there has been a lot of buzz in the fitness community surrounding IF and its fat loss and muscle gain benefits. In fact, you can find examples of people getting great results with IF everywhere, from testimonials of fitness professionals, movie stars and of course the people you follow on social media. So, after trying it for a few months and doing a lot of research, I’m finally ready to review and share my results with you!



What Is Intermittent Fasting?

For those of you who are not familiar with IF, there are several different variations, but all of them revolve around the premise of strictly eating inside certain eating windows and not eating anything at all during your fasting window. However, water, no-calorie drinks and BCAA’s are allowed, and are usually recommended during fasting as they will not affect the fasting window.


But if you really think about it, technically, each and every one of us is already following a version of IF because we’re not eating at night while we’re asleep. Well, unless you tend to sleepwalk to the kitchen and sleep-snack…but for everyone else, we’re fasting for about 8 - 10 hours a night while we sleep.


However, the most common IF variation is the “8 – 16” model. That simply means that you consume all of your calories inside an 8-hour window, and then you fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Now this is not very extreme, since many of us are already accidentally following it by sometimes skipping breakfast and not eating late at night, so it’s not too far from reality.


But if we deviate from the 8-16 model, there are other variations, such as the 6-18 and the 4-20 model which are a bit more extreme, and there are even certain variations of IF where you don’t consume any food for 24, 36 or even 48 hours. The latter though, is more of a cleansing & detoxifying tool, used once every 6 months or so, rather than part of a viable diet plan.  So if an 8-10 hour fasting window is what’s natural and normal for the majority of us, why extend this window to 16 or 18 hours? Here’s the science behind it.


How Intermittent Fasting Works

The reality of the situation is that Intermittent Fasting has not been thoroughly studied and not definitively proven to work in any way, but the preliminary trials suggest that by cutting or eliminating calorie intake for a period of time (or fasting), this causes your body to dramatically deplete its glycogen stores. This, in turn, directs the body towards using stored fat as its primary source of energy, resulting in reduction of intramuscular fat stores and fat loss in general. This is also very similar to the thoughts behind fasted cardio.


But what about muscle gains?  Well, with a reduction in fat on your muscle tissue, your muscle cells become more sensitive and responsive to insulin, and insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone that promotes protein synthesis, thus increasing muscle mass. In short, this means that when you reach your eating window, your body’s ability to take in all of those important nutrients is significantly enhanced, causing your muscles to grow.


Another common claim is that during a long period of not eating (or fasting), Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is considerably boosted, causing more protein synthesis and more fat loss. With that being said, Intermittent Fasting does seem like a powerful combination creating a snowball effect where your body loses fat causing it to become more sensitive to insulin, which helps you grow more muscle, which, in turn, increases your metabolism, resulting in more fat loss and so on.


Alleged Intermittent Fasting Benefits

  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity

  • Boosted HGH Production

  • Enhanced Fat Loss & Muscle-Building

  • Improved Oxidative Blood Markers

  • Improved Brain Function & Focus

  • Improved Overall Health & Prolonged Life Expectancy (with less chances for chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease etc.)


Intermittent Fasting & Muscle Loss

Before moving on to the actual review of these claims, and my final verdict, let’s first examine a major concern most people have with IF, which is muscle breakdown during the fasting state. If you’ve been watching my channel for a while now, then you know that muscle loss does not occur that easily. It’s not like if you don’t eat food for 16 hours, you’ll all of a sudden burn through all your muscle mass.


Your total amount of muscle is always the result of the equation ‘muscle synthesis minus muscle breakdown’. Both processes happen 24/7, and there is not much you can do to considerably influence them. Of course, major lifestyle changes such as prolonged eating on an extreme calorie deficit will likely increase the occurring muscle breakdown, whereas consistent weight lifting will likely increase overall muscle synthesis, leading to more muscle mass.


To answer the question of whether or not IF will cause muscle loss, the short answer is no, because meal frequency is not nearly as important as overall caloric intake. If you look at the big picture, week after week, you’re getting the same amount of calories and the same amount of protein, you’re just changing the timing of nutrient delivery. IF is not a NEW DIET with different food, it is the SAME FOOD with a different DIET SCHEDULE. But if you’re still not convinced or need some piece of mind during your fasting window, just supplement with some BCAAs like BSN AMINO-X and that will pretty much eliminate any muscle loss risk.


Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting As Good As They Sound?

If you look at all the research and studies, they all have a lot to do with CALORIC RESTRICTION. So, while the subjects are indeed on an Intermittent Fasting eating plan, they’re also on a caloric deficit which is very different from what we do as body builders.



Of course you’re going to lose weight if you eat less food. Nothing new here. In fact, this is why IF works so well. It restricts you from eating the majority of the time, so you won’t be able to eat as much as you normally would within your normal eating window, which is basically anytime you’re not asleep. And of course, if you lose weight, your insulin sensitivity will likely improve, leading to more muscle gains. Again, nothing new here either.


Personally, I would be far more interested to see a study where they compare a standard calorie-deficit diet with an IF calorie deficit diet, both with the same total calories. And of course there aren’t any because the results would be the exact same. Having said that though, Intermittent Fasting subjects might be more successful because, as I stated before, it would be difficult for most people to consume 2,000 or 3,000 calories within a 4 - 6 hour window, which could potentially induce more fat loss.


As for the improved blood markers and less oxidative stress IF can lead to, again, it’s all a matter of perspective. Eating less food overall, usually means eating less junk food as well, which will positively affect your health! No surprises here! I think that is why some people go nuts for IF. If you are eating crap and you clean up your diet, ANY diet will “work” because the main deterrent, which is the junk food, is now gone! But what about brain function? Well, we know that our brain’s main fuel source is glucose, which is essentially carbs. Yes the brain can use ketones as well…but let’s save Ketogenic diet for another day. We need carbs to function, think and move, and in my opinion being on a carb deprived state in the morning will not improve your alertness or awareness. Instead it will more likely cause dizziness and loss of performance.


And lastly, the HGH boost. The teeny, tiny increase of HGH you may experience will do basically nothing for your fat loss or muscle gain endeavors. Elite bodybuilders and athletes inject 2, 3 or 4 times more HGH into themselves than their body’s naturally produce (plus all kinds of other anabolic substances), in order to get EXTREME results from increased HGH levels. Why would you think that as natural lifter, a 5 - 10% HGH boost would give you such drastic results in terms of muscle growth?It doesn’t make sense. Again, if you had a BAD DIET and suddenly clean it up it may “look” like the results are drastic, but at the end of the day you can’t out-train bad diet, so if all of a sudden you are eating clean, you will see results no matter what time you eat that food!


The Real Problem With Intermittent Fasting

In all fairness, all we proved so far is that IF may or may not work. If you’re already using it and are having success with it, then who am I to argue? Keep doing what works for you and if this diet plan helps you stay on the right track, then it’s suitable for you. My main problem with IF is that it is not a LONG-TERM viable solution, but rather a short-term fat loss tool.


We’re all about lean gains on this site, so if you were bulking properly in the first place, you wouldn’t have a need for any short-term fat loss tool. With that said, it could work if you use it for 2 - 3 months to shred some weight before a contest or before summer, but I just don’t think you’ll be able to follow it forever. For the majority of you, it’s not going to be sustainable eating 6 hours a day for the rest of your life. And let’s be honest , I don’t just care about getting you to look good and shredded. I also want to improve your quality of life by helping you adopt a healthier lifestyle. So getting on a diet schedule such as IF, will eventually mean you’ll get off it, and that’s not what my advice is all about.


A lot of people I know who tried IF ended up binge-eating, hating their diet, and not being able to eat consistently enough to get results. Also if you think about it, on a social level, Intermittent Fasting is a bit antisocial. For example, let’s say your eating window is noon to 6pm, and you have a date at 8pm. Are you seriously not going to eat? What about a family dinner? Are you just going stare at everyone else eating? Of course, you could move your window around on certain days, but again, it’s not very sustainable and I don’t believe it’s worth all the hassle.


Lastly, if you’re a HARDGAINER and are having trouble building muscle, I firmly believe Intermittent Fasting is not for you and it is because if you’re a hardgainer, 99% of the time it’s because you already do not eat enough food. So to think you’re all of a sudden going to shove down 4,000 to 5,000 calories in 6 hours, it’s just not going to happen.  If you have a hyper-active metabolism, you need to fuel that fire as often as possible, and not deprive your body of calories for 16 or 20 hours straight.


Who Is Intermittent Fasting For & Does It Work?

I don’t believe that the actual fasted state equals more results. I do believe in IF  as a short-term solution though, especially if you are a bit overweight to start with and want to drop down to a healthier body fat percentage.

 

But, if you are currently using IF, and feeling great with it, by all means, carry on! It’s something that may or may not work and has virtually no disadvantages, so why not stick with it? At the end of the day, the best DIET PLAN is the plan that WORKS for you. If you’re seeing results with IF, it’s because the structure of the plan is one that works for your lifestyle. If you’re a binge eater every night, a diet schedule like IF will prevent these additional calories because you will not be allowed to eat at night. It’s all relative to your lifestyle. There’s no big secret that you don’t know about and everyone else does.It’s just all about finding what works for your lifestyle.


Conclusion

I do suggest that you watch my MEAL PLAN video and use that information to construct your own plan and stick to those calories and macros. Then it just comes down to training consistently, following your meal plan, and getting those results! Each and every one of you has the potential to accomplish your goals and much more. You just need to be consistent!



Related Videos:


6 WORST DIET MISTAKES FOR BUILDING MUSCLE (DON'T DO THIS!)


This Is Why You're Fat! | BULKING & CUTTING MISTAKES EXPLAINED!!

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