Eating delicious foods, while maintaining a lean, sculpted physique can be quite a challenge. Intermittent fasting can be an excellent dietary option for those wanting to reach those goals.

IF allows you to eat many foods you enjoy, while still maintaining your lean, muscular physique.

IF was explored decades ago by a team of researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine and a team from the University of Copenhagen, who wanted to experiment with fasting and fat loss. And what they discovered was amazing!

IF can help you stay lean while enjoying the foods you love. Let’s learn more about IF so that we can answer some very important questions.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is known as the process of taking in zero calories for an extended amount of time – the only beverages allowed are water, black coffee, and tea. IF has many variations, but one popular method suggests fasting for 16 hours, then eating all of the calories you need in an 8-hour window of time. This is popularly known as the “feeding window” of 16/8 intermittent fasting.

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Are the hours you sleep at night considered part of your fasting period?

Yes, the hours you sleep at night count towards your fasting period. Eating a protein smoothie before bed, then sleeping eight hours gives you eight more hours before you reach your goal of sixteen hours total.

What can you drink or eat while intermittent fasting?

Really, you can’t eat anything during the hours that you’re fasting. Water and zero-calorie, unsweetened beverages are fine during your fasting hours.

The jury’s still out on artificially-sweetener

d beverages, since some studies have shown that some artificial sweeteners provoke an insulin response. If you absolutely need a break from plain water, try and unsweetened water with a natural flavor, such as lemon.

Am I really supposed to cram a day’s worth of food into 8 hours?

During the hours that you eat, you still need to reach the same macronutrient targets as you were before.

Don’t undereat during your feeding window, because your body needs those calories, especially protein, to maintain lean muscles.

You’ll be eating the same amount of calories, but on a different schedule.

How can intermittent fasting benefit me?

According to research, fasting for intermittent periods may cause greater fat burning, even though macronutrient intake remains the same. IF appeals to many people, because many times, they can have cheat foods and still see great results.

IF is also very easy to use and stick with, and it is a long-term solution. You can see continued health benefits, instead of adverse effects.

How does intermittent fasting burn fat as opposed to a traditional diet?

One of the papers published by the Yale/Copenhagen group of researchers shows that the increase in fat burning has to do with an activity increase of the genes that utilize calories and burn fat.

Fasting turns on the genes that encode certain uncoupling enzymes and protein that increase fat oxidation.

The uncoupling proteins create holes in the mitochondria of muscle cells. Cells get most of their energy from mitochondria, while at rest. When these holes are poked in them, the mitochondria produce less energy and have to burn more calories to produce the same amount of ATP.

This means that your body burns more calories as a source of fuel during the fasting state, which can help you reach your weight-loss goals.

Other studies suggest that fasting may lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increase HDL, and promote a longer life span.

What kind of meal should I eat after a fasting period?

IF lets you be a little more relaxed with your eating habits, but high protein intake is still important, as well as healthy food choices. That being said, it is best to consume a high protein meal after a fasting period.

This type of meal is shown to increase fat burning.

Can I consume BCAA’s during a fasting period?

Let’s be honest. Drinking BCAA’s wouldn’t truly be fasting, because, in essence, they are proteins.

The only exception to this rule is if you train in a fasted state, because they provide an important source of energy.

Beta-alanine and other non proteinogenic acids are best to consume while training.