How Intermittent Fasting Gets You Shredded

If you follow my diet advice, you know I’m a big advocate of intermittent fasting.  I sort of stumbled into this lifestyle because I have never been a big breakfast eater.

Despite all of the rah-rah cheerleading and publications you read telling you that breakfast is the most important meal ofShredded Girl 3 the day, it just simply isn’t true.  Does breakfast have its benefits?  Sure.  But it’s not going to make the difference between you making gains or going catabolic.  For the low-down, check this out:

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Traditional fasting can be anywhere between 12-72 hours.  With my diet, I don’t consume much of anything from 9pm until noon the following day.

My intermittent fasting lasts about 12-15 hours.  They are geared towards using my natural metabolic functioning to maximize fat loss, allowing me to still eat big and gain muscle mass, but eliminate the need for a lot of high-intensity cardio.

So how does intermittent fasting kick your fat burning ability into overdrive?

#1: Increases Fat Burning Hormones

One of the main reasons that intermittent fasting is effective is that it uses your natural hormonal cycles to help burn fat.

Growth hormone is the most important fat burning hormone in your body and fasting actually promotes growth hormone production.  Fasting also decreases your insulin levels, which ensures that you burn body fat instead of storing it.

This is part of the reason that skipping breakfast is beneficial.  Your insulin levels are at one of their lowest levels upon waking, meaning your body is in prime fat burning mode.  By eating, you are killing this advantage.  But if you don’t “break-fast”, you ensure that you keep your insulin levels low and prolong your natural fat burning state.

#2: Increases Fat Burning Enzymes

Your hormones need the help of fat burning enzymes to get their job done.  Intermittent fasting will boost the activity of two of the most important fat burning enzymes in your body. Adipose tissue Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL) is responsible for allowing your fat cells to release fat so it can be burned as energy.  Muscle tissue Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) is responsible for allowing your muscle cells to take up fat so it can be burnt as a fuel.  By having elevated levels of both of these during intermittent fasting, you are naturally optimizing your ability to burn fat.

#3: Burn More Calories

Intermittent fasting increases your metabolism and adrenaline levels causing you to burn more calories during your fast.  The more calories you burn, obviously the more fat you will burn. Plus, you will see a boost in your energy levels that will fuel your productivity throughout the day.  Most people are surprised at this, but just think for a second about how you feel after a big meal.  I bet you feel like sh*t and need a nap…

#4. Burn Fat Instead of Sugar

Your body naturally burns carbs first and then fat.  Any extra food that your body can’t burn in the few hours after you eat gets stored as body fat.  But when you fast your body has no choice but to burn stored body fat because your blood sugar levels are depleted.  By the end of an intermittent fasting period your body is burning way more fat than it would eating every couple of hours.

Serge Nubret Intermittent Fasting
Serge Nubret is one of the best examples of how intermittent fasting can help you burn fat and still allow you to build muscle. He often ate only 1-2 meals a day.

Alright Primal Nation.  Go “starve” yourself for a few hours.  I promise you won’t go catabolic, and you may just burn some fat in the process.  I’d take that over slaving away on a damn stair climber any day…

Evolve!!

— Tank

13 thoughts on “How Intermittent Fasting Gets You Shredded”

  1. I usually weight lift on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during lunch break. Then from Tuesday mornings (early) all the way to Sundays, I run, bike and swim for at least an hour, 2 or 3 hours on the weekend (I am training for a marathon, a bike race and a triathlon). Can I do the IF on a Monday morning? Skip breakfast and then go all the way to lunch break and do my weight exercises? Not too much?…

    What’s your opinion on this? If this is not good, given my weekly schedule when should I fast?

  2. When doing IF do you do cardio? If so when do you fit it in? Pre-post fasting? Or immediately post workout?

    Also what do you recommend for a pre&post meal when on a fast?

  3. Yes, you can do cardio. I do cardio either early in the morning, or on may "off days". My cardio is strictly high-intesity, like hill sprints or sled work. You can do it at any time of the day.

    Pre-training meal, just keep it simple. Nothing heavy that will jack with your stomach. I stick to small sandwiches or salads. Your post training meal should be huge! Lots of starchy carbs and lean proteins.

    Keep in mind, this is if you train in the afternoon/evenings. If you train in the morning, your eating patterns will be a little different.

    — Tank

  4. If I am gymming in the mornings, is it ok to go to the gym on an empty stomach that morning? or will my body still be in a catabolic state and eat away at muscel for fuel? Unsure about this as I read conflicting articles all the time.

  5. Yep Chris, as long as you ate well the day/night before, you should be good to go. What I would recommend is taking in about 10 grams of amino acids pre-workout just to be safe, then take in about 30 grams of protein and some simple carbs post workout.

    — Tank

  6. If doing IF, can I keep having my casein shake before going to bed? Or I shouldn’t since it takes 7 h to get digested?
    Thanks!

  7. You follow the same IF protocol that I do – 9pm till noon the next day. It certainly helps me keep my body fat levels under control better than when I was eating breakfast every day.

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