Although long term success with nutrition is usually not very complicated (even though many people try to make it seem that way) - every now and then it might be useful to look at utilising special nutrition strategies to reach your goals.
One of those strategies is intermittent fasting - IF; a strategy that is claimed by many to not only increase productivity and save time but also improve body composition and to bring positive effects on health and longevity.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet, it’s a strategy of eating and drinking. There are many versions of IF, most methods branded with its own name (LeanGains, Warrior Diet, Eat stop Eat, 5:2, etc).
It's important to realize that while all IF methods differ in someway they share the same nutrition principles of using fasting (usually 16-24 hour period of 0 to very low calorie consumption) in one way or another.
It would be impossible to generalise and to say that one IF method is better than the other. The key is that they all provide a specific framework to follow so therefore the most important aspect of choosing method is that it fits your lifestyle and preferences. And since they all share common principles, nothing stops you from simply creating your own version of IF without buying the book, reading the blog or subscribing to the newsletter.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
There are countless of benefits to why someone would chose to adapt IF in to their lifestyle. But instead of racking up references and filling this post with summaries of studies, we have chosen to listen to stories told from our guests and friends at HAUS No3 that have tried IF to share their experiences and thoughts.
If you are interested in further information or more scientific backup and research regarding IF - download this PDF, watch this documentary or read this article. There you will find plenty of information regarding the topic of intermittent fasting.
OUR THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING
Henrik, head coach and co-founder at HAUS No3:
"I've been fasting on and off since 2009.
For me, fasting is a very simple and great 'trick' for days when I know I won't be doing a lot of high intensity (+75% of max heart rate) physical activity and when I really need to get a lot of things done.
I also use a fasting strategy on a weekly basis in belief that it stimulates my ability to utilize fat more effectively as a primary energy source (become fat adaptive) and to increase insulin sensitivity. This would be beneficial especially for activities at lower intensities (according to results from laboratory metabolic testing my optimal fat burning zone is currently 135-140 bpm).
I know there are a lot of claims and studies supporting that fasting also can slow down cell growth and cell turnover with potential benefits in longevity and a lowered risk of developing diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, etc. If that is true or not I will neither count on or swear by, but chances are that fasting does have a positive long term health effect and if that's the case I take that bonus benefit any day of the week".
Christian, HAUS guest and managing director:
“I heard about IF for the first time back in 2009 and this has been a regular routine for me ever since.
What draw me to the concept was because I was looking to avoid gaining weight as a result of a change in lifestyle and working habits. As I advanced in my career it also resulted in a working day that saw me sitting down a lot, in meeting rooms and at my desk. This meant I was burning a lot less calories while in many cases still consuming the same amount of food, leading to an increase in body fat percent.
My IF routine is simple; I eat my first meal at 12 noon and dinner around 6 PM, only to repeat the same eating cycle again the day after.
When I first stated my IF routine I do remember that it took a few days to get used to the habit of not eating breakfast and to withdraw from grabbing a snack at around 10AM. But this also made me more aware and taught me a lot about how to control signals of perceived hunger and introduced me to a good habit of drinking more water throughout the day.
Overall, IF is working great for me and my annual health checkups gives me reassurance that it is a sustainable method”.
Tlahui, HAUS friend and blog writer at itsjustamazing.com:
“I was introduced to IF 5 years ago by my then personal trainer, and now good friend and mentor, Henrik Olofsson.
Since incorporating IF, I have pushed my body further and further in all manners. Right now, I am experimenting with ‘dry fasting’ (no food or water) and longer ‘wet fasting’ (water allowed), to enhance my health.
Here are my 3 top ways I benefitted from IF:
- Conquered Fears; We all live in a bubble people call ‘comfort zone’, which is nothing but the limits that you have push your fears.
- Body Awareness: By stopping the constant flow of food and drinks, you give yourself time to TRULY listen to what your body is telling you. Hunger becomes a mythical beast that you rarely, if ever have to confront. Thirst and boredom is usually what people is general refer to as “hunger”.
- Mental Fortitude. Simply speaking, you become less fragile mentally, by throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and finding out that you can control your mind.
Never again after doing IF for over a month I felt moody, grumpy or weak by just skipping a few meals in a day.”
Ten, coach at HAUS No3:
"I've been fasting for a year now and it has become my routine 1-3x/week.
I think it’s natural for us as humans to have regular periods of food scarcity. Nowadays food is readily available 24 hours per day; from either your fridge or the supermarket. That is probably a big reason why so many people are overweight and struggle with obesity.
Usually I do IF on my days off from exercises, or on light days as I like to do fasted low intensity steady-state cardio. I normally fast between 16-20 hours.
I fast because it makes me feel good. I have more energy and notice my increased productivity during periods of fasting.
Hunger is manageable especially if I have a lot of work on that particular day. I can get more work done because I don't have to think about food or decide what or when to eat next.
There are a lot of studies showing benefits of IF, but the benefits which are obvious to me is body fat reduction and higher productivity. Another great thing with IF is that the meal that breaks the fast tastes 10x better than it normally does.
Stephen, HAUS guest and Marathon Des Sables 2017 finisher:
“Fasting has had some interesting write-ups recently and for myself I have only tried this over the past year. I predominately use it in the weekdays when I find myself with a busy workload with periodic time to train.
I normally run first thing in the morning before work & then look at starting my 8hr IF window between 11:30 & 12:00 having my last bite to eat before 19:30 at night.
During the weekend I relax the regime and go back to what would be considered a ‘normal’ eating frequency. By doing this I find that during busy periods of the month it helps keep my weight in check irrespective of what I eat and drink so it’s a big benefit especially when traveling.
I have also used laboratory tests (metabolic efficiency testing) to find my optimal fat burning zone and I have utilised this with my runs in the morning while fasting with great success.
I find that combining both methods (IF and heart rate pacing) during periods of excessive eating at a weekend brings my bodyweight back into check within 3 to 4 days."
Ann-Marie, HAUS guest, teacher and fitness role model:
“I tried IF a few years ago out of curiosity and from recommendations. Mentally it was not any problem, since usually I follow through on things I commit to.
My method of fasting was like most people, to skip breakfast (although it might be my favourite meal of the day). I broke the fast at lunchtime and had 2 meals per day with my last meal in the evening around 18-19.
I didn't notice any loss of energy from fasting but my problem was that I felt that my stomach was bloated in the evening. I don’t know if that is because I ate a lot of fresh veggies and that might have been the reason as it might have been hard to digest properly.
Anyway, due to experiencing bloating I didn't feel comfortable with IF so I stopped after a few weeks.
As I know there probably are some long term health benefits of fasting, I’m considering to try it again. This time I will experiment more with what I’m eating to see if I can avoid the same feeling of being bloated as I had last time. So with that said, IF Is for sure worth a try!”
DISCLAIMER: We hope you enjoyed learning about our experiences with IF and stories of how it has helped our guests and friends in several ways. However, It's worth to point it out that IF is not for everyone so therefore we always recommend that you check with your doctor first.
WELCOME TO HAUS No3
If you have any questions regarding IF and our experiences, contact us here. And if you are interested in learning more about how to become a guest at HAUS No3 - read this or book your consultation here.
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