Recently I started incorporating IF (intermittent fasting) to my routine to see if the purported benefits were as good as the studies say. And I have to happily admit, they are better than I expected. I’m leaner than I’ve been in a long time; I’m literally 2-3 pounds away from stepping on stage and competing in a Figure competition where every muscle is striated and etched in detail.
In case you’re unaware, most of the research done on IF are on men so I had to play around with trial and error. Basically n=1 in my experimenting with fasting and women; primarily athletes and those who are very active and follow a solid food plan.
I wanted to record and be mindful not to damage my hormonal or metabolic health, since I was already performing really well and feeling good, overall. So I started with the simplest fasting range and then went from there.
Here’s what I noticed by incorporating 12 hour fast and then as I felt good and liked the benefits, added the Lean Gains method fast (16 hours fast: 8 hours feeding window):
- Better digestion; with no food in your system your body can better digest your food from your last meal and aid better elimination (great for women who have gut issues ie. bloating, belching or gas after meals, not having a bowel movement multiple times/day (you should be having one at most after every meal but no less than 2-3/day)
- Clearer mind; with the body using ketones for fuel there is no headache or moodiness that would occur than if I was using glucose as an energy source. I could go for many hours without food versus before feeling I had to eat within an hour upon waking. Put it this way, think of having your last meal that had a combination of carbs and protein and then a few hours later you get ‘hangry’ because it’s time to eat and you’re behind on the timing of that meal. This does not happen if you’re keto-adapted. Mind you, it takes more than a day for your body to adapt to this; whether you still eat carbs or not in your diet. The body is smart and tries to stay in homeostasis or a “balanced state”. If you like your carbs and want to get into ketosis; you’d have to do the extended fasts (20 hours+ —-not the best for women, especially when starting IF and you wouldn’t want to do it too often, anyways)
- High Energy & Body composition changes; I was getting leaner and noticing good pumps while training. Despite the odd time training session in a fasted state, I would still get a great pump and have some awesome workouts. Being in a fasted state for 12-13 hours or more leads to increased growth hormone which is what WOMEN want! (actually anyone whose looking to improve their fitness, health, and physique). What does that mean? You burn fat faster and more easily, you have strength gains, your bone density improves (essential as we get older so as not to get osteoporosis and other bone related diseases), have reduced cardiovascular risk factors; basically a lot of things.
Overall, IF is incredible on so many levels. But it’s not as easy as people think. You really do have to go in slow and be mindful of how your body reacts to it. Women should not start one day and just fast daily and try to go longer without food each day. I like to mention this, because our society is so quick to think that more is better or pushing to the major extreme when they want to enhance something. And there’s also the limiting factor of your metabolic health and flexibility. What’s your health history of dieting? If you yo-yo diet or have in the previous, then fasting must be monitored even more closely. Are you peri-menopausal or post-menopausal? Again, things would change a bit. Furthermore, how do you deal with stress?
Women tend to release cortisol at a quicker than men and if they are already prone to being a high-stress individual, again factors to consider if and when to do IF. Do you crave sugar or salt on a day-to-day basis? IF will work wonders and eliminate them, but the process is not immediate and biohacks are helpful in the transition as well as to enhance the metabolic effects.
I’m offering a Special Women’s guideline with tips on IF; ways to avoid any of the hormonal and mental pitfalls, as well as 2 weeks of email support. It also includes a questionnaire to ensure I have a good background on your previous dieting history, health history, current fitness & nutrition level. Just $49 (Reg. $129).
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