Q 1) Can I shift from one I.F. eating pattern to another every week? A) Ideally, you should start off with one pattern and do it for a period of few months, before trying another one.
Q 2) I am a beginner and have never tried I.F. before. Which pattern should I start with? A) Leangains or 5:2 diet.
Q 3) Can I drink coffee during a fast?
A) Sure you can. I do it all the time. Just make sure to have only black coffee with no milk and no sugar. 1 tablespoon of milk and some stevia won't do any harm!
Q 4) Will eating light snacks like salads or a fruit break my fast?
A) Fasting means staying as close to ZERO calories as possible. While vegetables are very low in calories, ideally its best to abstain from food during a fast. However, do note in case of the Warrior diet, Ori's approach of undereating is slightly different as he allows fruits, raw vegetables and some light protein.
Q 5) Won't fasting cause me to lose my muscle mass?
A) No! It's a myth that you need to eat every 2-3 hours of protein to prevent your muscles from breaking down. Building muscle mass or at the very least preserving it depends on few factors: -Calorie adequacy (no surplus) -Protein adequacy (~1.5g/kg of BW) and resistance training. You need to workout with weights few times a week.
Q 6) Will I lose fat with I.F.?
A) The number #1 reason people get on I.F. is to lose weight and fat. So yes, you will lose a lot of fat if you follow the patterns of I.F.
Q 7) Periods of fast brings with it lot of health benefits including potential weight loss. Does this mean I can truly feast and eating my favourite foods like icecreams etc during the fed state?
A) Based on how soon you want to achieve your goals, your preferences, and other commitments in your life you can choose either of the approaches for your fed state. The Enjoyable approach allows 30% of calories from your favourite food. Now, in the end, the MOST important thing when it comes to losing weight is to stay in a caloric deficit ideally between 20-30% of your TDEE. Bottomline, intermittent fasting approach is no miracle, and just because you are fasting does not give you a free ticket to eat whatever you want during the fed state!
Q 8) Once I get on I.F. pattern of eating, how fast can I lose fat?
A) Weight loss will be more than fat loss as your weight will comprise water weight may be lean mass if you are not careful. Realistically speaking fat loss can between 1-2 pounds per week which when sustained for 2-3 months, is a LOT of fat!!
Q 9) Will the periods of undereating i.e. the fasted diet slow down my metabolism and put me in the starvation mode?
A) No! This is a common myth. Your metabolism is linked to your BMR and the amount of activity you do and not so much with your food intake. So no, you will NOT slow down your metabolism or put yourself in a starvation mode. However, the starvation mode may occur during prolonged fast like for more than few days or even weeks.
Q 10) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Won't this affect me if I skip my breakfast?
A) No, it won't affect you, the number of meals you eat throughout the day is irrelevant when compared with the total number of calories you eat for that given period. And I strongly feel that morning is the time when your body eliminates so ideally abstaining from food until at least 11 am is a good practice to follow.
Q 11) When you said that I.F. won't result in loss of muscle mass but then you followed it with a pre-condition i.e. weight training 2-3 times a week. Will I lose muscle mass if I only do Yoga, or perhaps bodyweight training?
A) Its a known fact that progressively overloading your muscles helps build muscle. If you need to preserve it, you need to try and at least hit the weights at least 3 times a week. This is mandatory if you are an ectomorph or a skinny fat person. However, if you are a mesomorph, or an endomorph and don't care too much about muscle mass, then simply doing HIIT, Tabata training can help you preserve muscle mass, provided you eat enough protein and don't go below 30% of TDEE for that week. Having said that, you will still do best when you include weights no matter what your body type.
Q 12) Can my son try I.F.? He is 14 years old. A) No. Most studies on I.F. are done on adults. I recommend I.F. for only adults.
Q 13) Which is better: A 16 hour fast as recommended by Martin or a 24 hour fast as recommended by Brad?
A) Good question. A 16 hour fast is doable and it may take you around a week to get your body used to it. A 24 hour for beginners can be brutal. We are so used to being in the fed state most of the time, that abstinence from food is more of a habitual problem than a physiological issue. There is no research which compares a 16 hour fast to a 24 hour fast! I would like to say that you should choose a pattern that suits your the best personally. However, for beginners, I would recommend a 16 hour fast for at least a month or so before they can even think about a 24-hour fasting protocol.
Q 14) I am thinking of going for the Leangains fasting pattern. But I feel very hungry first thing in the morning? I am not sure if I can manage to delay my breakfast until 11 am? But I really want to try. Please help
A) Good question. Let me answer it in two parts. I.F. is very flexible and can be matched based on your lifestyle. Usually, afternoons and evenings are reserved for eating whereas mornings for fasting. Fasted states are great for working. I feel powerful, alert and very creative when I am in the fasted state, especially from the time I wake up in the morning until breakfast time. My productivity is increased by 20-30% by sipping black coffee and other beverages which are almost Zero Calories. This is for people who prefer to eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking up for whatever reason: Wake up: 6-7am Meal 1: Breakfast 8 am Meal 2: Lunch 1-2pm Snack: 4 pm No dinner and fast until the next day-8am. This is 16 hours of fast. But I want to emphasize this point again, based on the feedback from my clients, my own personal experience: Dinner time is a fun time, where friends and family get together to eat together and have fun. You don't want to be the only one sitting in the corner sipping black coffee or green tea, trust me on that. If you have not tried I.F. before, your body will take about a week's time to get used to not eating something as soon as you wake up. If you are worried about the blood sugar issue, read the next answer.
Q 15) If I fast, won't my blood sugar drop and cause dizziness, headaches etc?
A) When you change your way of eating your body undergoes some changes physiologically and that results in your feeling different. Basically, your hormones like insulin, glucagon, ghrelin, growth hormone and other hormones start to change. This may result in some dizziness, mild headaches. For example, most of us are in the fed state most of the time. Our bodies are so used to burning carbohydrates for fuel. However, with fasting, your body changes gear and shifts to burning your body fat as fuel for a change. And when you fast long enough, like for more than 10 hours, your body may enter into a ketosis state, where due to lack of glycogen in your muscle and liver, ketones are supplied to your brain as an alternative fuel. This may feel funny at first, and you may experience mild headaches or cravings. But these subside usually after a week. From the health point of view, there is nothing to worry about. Your body is a very intelligent organism and knows how to regulate its blood sugar. Unless you are a type-2 diabetic or suffer from some kind of blood sugar issue, you should be fine. Just consult your physician if you are unsure.
Q 16) Is there any particular way I should break a fast?
A) Not really. However, my suggestions are to start off with something light and soothing for your stomach like a salad, a fruit, protein etc and then move on to carbs and fats. In the grand scheme of things, it should not matter. Just start eating as if there was no fast!
Q 17) Is it necessary to have a post-workout meal/shake immediately after my training?
A) No! Again the timing of post-workout meals or shakes are overrated and a myth propagated by the supplement companies. Simply have a whole meal within 4-5 hours of your training. In the end, always remember, its the total number of calories and the total protein intake that matters in a given 24 hour period.
Q 18) I am still not sure who ALL are not advised to go for intermittent fasting?
A) Anyone who is under the age of 18 years. Pregnant and/or nursing women People with diabetes (I or II) People recovering from surgery or People who have any medical condition Always consult your physician if you are not sure
Q 19) I like the warrior diet approach. But I am a beginner and you suggest not to start off with this approach but I want to go ahead?
A) Ok, you can. But instead of doing warrior diet every day, start off 1-2 times per week and only gradually increase the number of days.
Q 20) Do I really need to count calories when practising intermittent fasting?
A) I am off the camp of counting calories. A lot of people grossly underestimate the food that they eat. Surely, I.F. gives you to the luxury to overeat and literally a feast. But if you eat more than you burn, you will NOT lose weight. I.F. is no magic bullet, but definitely makes it easier to lose weight, but you still need to support it by eating healthy. Just having a rough idea about the portion sizes, their caloric content can go a long way in helping you lose weight and keep it off permanently.
Q 21) Can I practice intermittent fasting for life?
A) I.F. is a way of life, not only for the superior health benefits, but it saves me a LOT of time and unnecessary effort in the kitchen.