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Intermittent Fasting For Lean Gains

The sustainable diet which helps burn fat and build lean muscle

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I often hear the term “faddy diet” thrown around whenever someone labels a nutrition plan with a common name. Many of these faddy diets however are in fact the basis of a solid nutrition program for a human. Take the paleo diet. This diet is far from faddy and should be the types of fresh, natural food that every healthy human should strive to eat. Intermittent fasting is similar.

Only in recent times has food become so abundant and we are constantly subliminally told to eat at every given opportunity, whether it’s a bill board depicting enticing fast food or TV cooking program - food is all around us!

Prior to the era of indulgence, food was far more of a commodity as people had to rely on Mother Nature and hunting ability to eat. Instead of eating every two hours or grazing throughout the day, humans would hunt, kill and take on a huge influx of calories that would largely come from animal fats and proteins, which is ketogenic - another “fad”... The biggest issue with this is people who usually dismiss such diets are the same ones who preach about the balanced dieting, whilst chomping on a sandwich.

I believe the mass production of food and lack of nutrition education is largely responsible for the surging rate of obesity. Firstly, food is now bulked up with cheap ingredients such as high fructose corn-syrup which causes a nightmare scenario with inulin and leptin due to its toxic combination of fructose and glucose. Also the sheer volume and variety of food at peoples disposal makes it so easy to clock up the calories without even noticing. If you put these two scenarios together you get a hormonal imbalance that struggles to metabolize glucose and unnecessary surges in hunger, combined with lots of unhealthy food that is readily available and you’re left with a vicious cycle on a global scale.

Is the answer to this in fact a dreaded faddy diet? Intermittent fasting is exactly as it sounds, it requires the individual to fast for extended periods of time and eat within a specific window. In a sense, the fact this is even classed as a diet is a poor reflection on the eating habits of a modern day world, which can only be described as sporadic, excessive and often uninformed.

If you were to imagine a daily living cycle within a world where food wasn’t readily at you disposal it would be something like; wake up, hunt (exercise), eat and sleep. In terms of health and trying to improve your body composition this is as close to perfection as it gets and ever since Martin Berkhan introduced this form of dieting to the health and fitness community, it’s created great results on a huge scale – I’ll explain why.
Often the issue with eating large amounts of food and carbohydrates in particular is that the individual has not created a biological environment to store the nutrients. When we exercise the body undergoes several biological changes. One of these changes occurs at cellular level within the muscle. The exercise stimulates peripheral inulin sensitivity; this is because the cells are starving for glucose, which combines with oxygen to make energy in a process called cellular respiration. This effect means the body’s muscle cells can absorb all nutrients and energy a lot more efficiently.

In contrast to this, eating large amounts of calories/carbohydrates when you are sedentary makes the body very inefficient at metabolizing the sugars and the energy in glucose, lipid and amino acid form is stored as fats. Also (as mentioned) foods such as high-fructose corn syrup reduce leptins activity to stimulate satiety. This is because fructose is largely metabolized in the liver and does not need inulin, which prevents the cascade of signaling to brain meaning the person is essentially always hungry.

A typical intermittent fasting protocol would be something like this –

Fast between 8pm – 2pm, if you still wish to hold onto lean muscle it would be advised to supplement with BCAAs during this fast to prevent catabolism. Try and split your macro/caloric intake into 2/3 large bolus meals which meet your personal training goals.

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