Why Restricting Your Eating Time Period To 8 Hours Will Transform Your Health & Fitness

Intermittent fasting can provide many important health benefits, including improving your insulin/leptin sensitivity, helping your body more effectively burn fat for fuel, increasing mental clarity and overall energy levels, and more. 

For years I agonized over finding the diet, eating schedule, and workout routine that best suited my goals and lifestyle. It took up a ton of mental energy and time. However, it didn’t matter what I tried or how enthusiastic I was about a new plan of attack for my diet and fitness — sooner or later I would fall off track for various reasons, with much disappointment.

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I tried the ‘six small meals a day’ plan and I tried a 100% whole-food diet. I blended, I chopped, and I juiced. I tried numerous workout plans as well, but nothing seemed to truly resonate with my body. I found myself lethargic most of the day, sick of always planning my meals, and frustrated that, considering how much effort I was putting into planning my diet and workouts, I still wasn’t seeing or feeling the results I had hoped for.

But this all changed when I discovered intermittent fasting (IF). I had heard a few things about it here and there, but I’d never fully entertained the topic.

After reading about the incredible health benefits of IF, something finally clicked within my brain. Call it my intuition or my ‘aha!’ moment, but something was telling me that this new approach to eating and fitness was the one I had been waiting for.

Why So Many Struggle With Their Weight

As Dr. Mercola explains,

The reason so many struggle with their weight (aside from eating processed foods that have been grossly altered from their natural state) is because they’re in continuous feast mode and rarely ever go without a meal.

As a result, their bodies have adapted to burning sugar as its primary fuel, which down-regulates the enzymes that utilize and burn stored fat. Fasting is an excellent way to “reboot” your metabolism so your body can start burning fat as its primary fuel, which will help you shed your unwanted fat stores.

Once your insulin resistance improves and you are normal weight you can start eating more frequently, as by then you will have reestablished your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel—that’s the key to sustained weight management.

The amount of research around fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, is growing exponentially. Let’s explore what the research is saying.

How and Why Intermittent Fasting Works

One 2013 review found a broad range of therapeutic potential in intermittent fasting, even when total calorie intake per day did not change, or was only slightly reduced. Studies included in the review produced evidence that intermittent fasting may:

  • Limit inflammation
  • Improve circulating glucose and lipid levels
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve metabolic efficiency and body composition, including significant reductions in body weight in obese individuals
  • Reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels
  • Help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as slow its progression
  • Reverse type 2 diabetes
  • Improve pancreatic function
  • Improve insulin levels and insulin sensitivity
  • Reproduce some of the cardiovascular benefits associated with physical exercise
  • Protect against cardiovascular disease
  • Modulate levels of dangerous visceral fat

The reasons for these health benefits relate to the fact that the human body appears to be designed to thrive in a cycle of “feast and famine.” By imitating the ancestral conditions of cyclical nourishment, your body enters into a state of optimal functioning. Three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your health include:

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency: Fasting increases insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, thereby retarding aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
  2. Reduced oxidative stress: Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cells, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
  3. Increased capacity to resist stress, disease, and aging: Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.

The Benefits of Exercising in a Fasted State

We’ve often been told to make sure we are well fed before a workout, but this notion has been a hot topic of debate in recent years.

When we think about the cyclical eating patterns of our ancestors, we know that there were many cases in which they would perform rigorous physical activity on an empty stomach, such as during their hunt for food. Today, research confirms the biological benefits of this type of eating schedule.

As the Huffington Post summarizes, “Exercisers with weight loss goals might find an advantage in waking up and exercising first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or fasting for a few hours before a mid-day or evening workout.” “The less glucose you have in your system the more fat you will burn,” continues John Rowley, Wellness Director for the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). “However,” Huffington Post continues, “if your goals are performance related (e.g. to improve strength or speed), working out without fueling up probably isn’t your best bet because a lack of available energy might prevent you from putting forth your best effort.”

What About Gaining Muscle While Intermittent Fasting?

Results from one of Martin Berkhan’s clients using the intermittent fasting ‘lean gains’ approach.

For men or women who are looking to stay lean while gaining muscle mass, Martin Berkhan from Leangains.com has the optimal solution for this goal.

His methodical approach to intermittent fasting has helped so many achieve their fitness goals that he can easily be considered the expert in the realm of intermittent fasting and muscle gain.

Berkhan offers various types of fasting schedules so that people can choose which one works best with their lifestyle. Personally, I chose his recommended 12pm-8pm eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting period. So far I’ve found this schedule fantastic for a few reasons.

For one, I don’t have to worry about making breakfast as soon as I wake up which, for me, was becoming a huge hassle. Similarly, I know that my eating window stops after 8pm, which is convenient in that I know exactly when to eat and when not to.

Another one of Berkhan’s client results.

One important note that Berkhan stresses is that if you are going to be lifting heavy weights or training hard, make sure to ingest either a scoop of protein powder or a scoop of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) 5-10 minutes before your workout. Doing this sidesteps the increased protein breakdown of fasted training while still reaping the benefits of the increased anabolic response as seen in this study.

Another important factor to remember is to make sure you are eating enough during your eight hour eating window. Starving yourself while also fasting and exercising is a surefire way to achieve  exhaustion and nutrient depletion.

Here is how my schedule looks on a heavy workout day (taking into account that my goal is muscle growth):

7:30-8:00 am: Wake up and ingest 10 grams of BCAAs.

8:30 am: Work out. 

10:00 am: Another scoop of BCAAs or protein powder. Cup of coffee and then work or errands before I break the fast.

12:00 pm: Post-workout meal/Fast-breaking meal. (Should be the biggest meal of the day. Keep protein and carbs high.)

3:00 pm: 2nd post-workout meal. 

7:30 pm: 3rd meal of the day. Again, keeping protein and carbs high. 

9:00 pm: Tea and water galore!

Repeat daily.

*Remember, you can create the type of fasting schedule you want based on your lifestyle. Some people fast for 14 hours, while others fast up to 24+ hours. That is why IF can work for anyone.

Is IF For You?

The results thus far have been very pleasing. I’m finally seeing my abs for the first time in years, I have overall increased muscle definition and composition, my energy levels are through the roof, and my hunger levels have subsided for the most part.

Tea, coffee, and water are allowed as much as you like during the fasting state so long as you don’t exceed 50 calories in sugar or milk.

There is so much more information available regarding intermittent fasting that it is difficult to explore within this single article, so stay tuned for more articles regarding IF in the very near future.

For now, I recommend reading more about the amazing benefits of IF to see if it is right for you.

More CE articles on IF:

This Is What Really Happens To Your Body When You Practice Intermittent Fasting

Scientists Discover That Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration & Fights Cancer

Studies:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22425331 (IF and lower cases of diabetes/heart disease)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18805103 (IF and reducing coronary heart disease, one of the biggest killers of our time)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21410865?dopt=Abstract (Why IF is the best for fat loss)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15699226 (Why skipping breakfast is good for your health)

 Have you had any success with intermittent fasting? Share with us in the comment section below!

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152 comments
    1. It’s about sensitizing your body. Like when you don’t get laid for a long time and when you finally do, you really appreciate it. Same with the fast, the fast causes the body to really appreciate the nutrients during the feast phase and allows the muscle to develop every time you train and eat. At least that’s how I understand it…

    2. Yes, if that fits your lifestyle. Whatever works for your schedule. Just consume your calories in an 8 hour window and don’t eat for the 16 remaining hours

    3. No breakfast is the meal that breaks your fast so you will always have a breakfast is just that you choose when to have it & it’s when the 8 hour clock begins to tick.

    4. dont need to be I did 24 hour windows ones a week for a bit and started after breakfast. the later within the fasting period you train the higher the effect

    5. I guess you are right no breakfast and no night time snacks. It did say have a scoop of protein so i guess its not a true fast. maybe leave out the powder and eat 2 eggs. Looks like this plan makes you burn you carbs better though

      1. a scoop of protein if you’re going to go work out and that depends on what type of work out and when the workout is. If not, you don’t eat for 16 hr time periods. Super simple to follow.

        1. in this article, the guy’s time plan states that he has 2 scoops (about 10 gms each) of protein powder before he “breaks his fast”. considering that the recommended amount of protein per day for an adult is about 50 grams, that means this person has already had about 40% of his allotment of protein for the day. i don’t know how this can be considered fasting! my dh follows the IF in order to control his type 2 diabetes and has lost some weight as a side effect, which is good. but fasting is fasting, meaning no caloric intake, so this is a bit misleading.

          1. The 10g of BCAAs prior to training are a necessary addition to the IF protocol for anyone who wants to effectively weight train. Those BCAAs will be taken up and utilized immediately, as will 10g post strength training through recovery. Also, the 50g of recommended protein you referred to is actually 56g, and that is recommended for sedentary individuals. There is no need for a sedentary person to supplement the BCAAs or protein powder during the fast. Martin Berkhan does not fail into that category and likely eats more than 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Most of us do. I have been running a 16-8 for 3 years now in a similar format. I eat 2400 calories/day + 2 carb refeeds per week. That’s 225g Protein, 125g carb, the rest in fat. I’m 40 years old and I maintain <15% body fat, but my bloodwork tells a better story with Triglycerides 32, Chol/HDL ratio 3.2, CRP 0.5, Testosterone 1101, IGF-1 146. In addition to my BCAAs, I also take fish oil, a multi, and ZMA.

    6. You can eat breakfast. If that is how you choose to have your personal fasting period. The great thing about this is that it is completely personalized to you and only you. Because everyone’s life is different it can be fail proof. All you have to do is decide when you would like to start eating and when you would like to stop. If you want to eat breakfast and skip dinner then you can do that. Folks who work second and third shifts will have different eating periods than people who work during the day. Like I said, you can personalize it to your own needs

    7. Interesting, but is the main component here the combination of eating less as a consequence plus the 16 hours pause OR mainly the first factor in itself ( which then could mean you can compensate by eating more during the 8 hours span so your calorie intake is the same).
      If indeed the “less food intake” factor is paramount here, then you rather have calorie restriction (CR) which is something else and CR has recently got strong criticism.
      I`d like to have this addressed by the presenters of this idea,please !

    8. no, its about going through a 16hr time period where you aren’t eating. You can eat breakfast if you want to, but than it means you will probably not eat a meal at the end of the evening. (1st meal at 7am, last time you can eat is at 3pm. For most people its easiest to fast when your sleeping, so its less time to think about food or to get cravings.

  1. Very much agree with this. I knew I wasn’t a fool.
    I did something like this years ago and without fail the pounds fell off and I felt great.
    My eating was upon waking until noon. Nothing but water the rest of the day.
    Best thing was when I was really craving something at night I’d just tell myself I can have it to my heart’s content in the a.m. Eat as much as you want, whatever you want… just not whenever you want.
    Steadily about 1 lb a day dropped off (yes, yes water weight many times).
    I can’t attest to eating window being the evening but can to the early in the day window.
    By the time you get hungry it’s time for bed.
    Going to bed because of true tiredness vs food induced is hard at first but sleep is so much more peaceful and zero grogginess in the morning. I really think a lot of a.m. groggy is undigested food or full bowels.
    Sadly I got out of this loop but this article inspired me to give another go as I’d long forgot about it. thank you

    1. I work Monday-Thursday from 6pm-6am and off the rest of the week. I get up every day for work at 4pm. I workout after work. How can I make IF work for me, I would like to fast 16 hours. Can someone help?

      1. the simplest way to do it is break your fast either on your first teabreak of the working day or your lunch and count 8 hours from that. There’s no reason why you can’t alter the timings for your 3 days off.

    1. Just shift the eating window up however many hours you need to. So if you get done working out at 9pm, I’d probably stop eating by 10pm and fast until 2pm the next day.

  2. Little confused here in terms of the food schedule created above. You are eating at 12, 3, and 7:30. How is this considered fasting? I’m not questioning if it works or not, just not completely understanding this. Thank you!

    1. The idea is that, with the 12-8 plan, you fast from 8pm until noon the next day for a total of 16 hours. You aren’t supposed to fast for a few days, weeks, a month like with a traditional/religious fast. This is why it is called intermediate fasting.

  3. I also did this about a half year ago, i lost 8kg in about 2 months, felt really good. My window was from morning til 6pm, so after that, i only drank water. If i really wanted to eat something, i would say to myself.. in the morning, and it worked!

  4. I still wouldn’t agree with eating whatever you want just not whenever you want as quality of food based on organic or non organic, sugar free, preservatives etc… still would make a huge difference and how would you feel. For years I trained in empty stomach and pretty much would not eat until nearly lunch. I would have juices or smoothies and lots of water. But that was how my body responded naturally, I didnt like to wake up and have breakfast. then for over decade I changed and my body still did not changed. My weights has been the same since I was 21, I am now 44.

  5. This is pretty much how I eat always and I’m in the best shape of my life right now (30). I just kept ignoring all the advice that breakfast is the most important day and that not eating will slow down your metabolism. It just didn’t make sense to me. As soon as I eat my energy levels plummet, because the body is then using energy to digest food. Before I eat I feel like a hunter ready for a hunt. Afterwards I feel like a sleepy lion after a feast. So I get most of my stuff done in the morning before eating around noon. Then I go to bed slightly hungry so my body won’t be busy digesting as I’m sleeping. It works like a charm.

  6. What this doesn’t say is that IF has been found not to work as well for women, and can negatively impact their glucose levels, while having the opposite effect on men.

    “This article on Mark’s Daily Apple does a fantastic job of breaking down the differences between men and women and how they are affected by intermittent fasting, ultimately explaining:

    “One study, which I’ve cited before as evidence of a benefit to fasting, found that while IF improved insulin sensitivity in male subjects, female subjects saw no such improvement. In fact, the glucose tolerance of fasting women actually worsened. Ouch.
    Another study examined the effect of alternate day fasting on blood lipids. Women’s HDL improved and their triglycerides remained stable; men’s HDL remained stable and their triglycerides decreased. Favorable, albeit sex-specific results.
    Later, both obese men and women dropped body fat, body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyercides on a fasting regimen. These people were obese, however, and perimenopausal women were excluded from the study, so the results may not apply to leaner people or women of reproductive age.””

    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/08/06/a-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/women-and-intermittent-fasting/#axzz2aeEOMKxC

    “So, what did Stefani’s research find?

    Fasting has different endocrine effects on male and female rats.

    In male rats:

    No matter the duration or degree of nutritional stress, male rat brain chemistry responds with similar changes. Nocturnal activity and cognition stay fairly stable, regardless of the intensity of the fast. If you push the fast long enough, males will get a little wonky and frantic, but overall they maintain pretty well. It’s like they’re equipped with the ability to handle nutritional stressors.

    In female rats:

    Any degree of nutritional stress (fasting or mere caloric restriction) causes increased wakefulness (during the day, when they normally sleep), better cognition (for finding food), hyper alertness, and more energy. In short, female rats become better at finding and acquiring food when they fast, as if their bodies aren’t as well-equipped to deal with the stress of going without food. They also become less fertile, while the males actually become hornier and more fertile (probably to account for the females’ plummeting fertility). Ovary size drops (bad for fertility), adrenal gland size increases (which in rats indicates exposure to chronic stress), and menstrual cycles begin to dysregulate in proportion to the degree of caloric restriction.”

    Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/women-and-intermittent-fasting/#ixzz3QwxldEHX

  7. Great article. I have tried 1-3 day fasts as a “detox” in the path but I like the approach of making it a lifestyle choice. I am looking forward to trying this! Thanks for the info 🙂

  8. What if you don’t want to work out? What steps should I take for fasting without working out. I work long hours and have to travel 1 hour 10 minutes to work then 1 hour 45 minutes to get home at night so I’m about 14 hours away from home a day?

  9. This actually makes a lot of sense. As a child I was growing up in Eastern Europe, where all the people there were quite slim, considering the sweets, cakes bread! and fatty meals they would eat every day. We would normally have a big breakfast (always a bread with meat/cheese, yoghurt/cereals were considered as just snacks), substantial hot meal during the lunch (sup with bread was a must as a starter), people would not cook in the evenings at all, they just had a toast or sandwiches. They would have their last meal right after work and since no cooking was involved, that normally wouldn’t happened after 6-7 pm. I put on over 22 pounds when I moved out of there, even though I was eating more healthy and in less quantities.

    1. Exactly the same happened to me. Big meals for dinner and lousy lunches are part of the problem.

  10. No Kevin, it is not about not having breakfast. It is about eating within a limited time frame. Since a lot of people these days start eating as soon as they are up and keep it up to just before bedtime, limiting the timeframe you are eating in makes sense. There have been studies on mice AND people recently that indicate that overall health improves tremendously and that the anti-aging benefits of fasting will be yours even if you stretch it to a 10 hour time frame (which you might choose to do if already lean or if you are a woman, since women seem to need a larger time frame to make sure their hormones are not messed up).

  11. Wow, I like this! Judging to the pictures, IF helped one guy to get rid of all his chest hair!
    … although, now I think about it, I kind of like my warm fur and sign of male adulthood…

  12. Jeff You should post an article on how to develop self control 🙂 but this is true it’s somewhat part of the weight plan I’m following right now, I also learned that interactions within your body can prevent you from losing weight if not corrected, so far I lost over 16 pounds by just making some small changes below
    http://goo.gl/yYzRgl.

    1. Hey Brent,

      Great question, all of these types of questions can be answered by checking out Martin Berkhan’s website,

      http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

      He has written extensively on the subject and I recommend spending some time going through his site. Check out the “Most Popular Articles” page for the main points.

      Good luck!
      Cheers,
      Jeff

  13. I did that last year for 3 months, fasted low sugar and got totally shredded from round 95kg to 88, didnt lost any lift power and got much better 40yd dash

  14. Truly works if you aren’t bulking. I’m a 5’5 female, fluctuating between 105-110 lbs by periodically fasting throughout the week. Also, I’ve never been one to eat breakfast; If you can’t skip breakfast, try juicing as a healthy, filling alternative.

  15. Hi I finish eating by 8:00pm. I wake up between 5;00 and 7:00am.. and I have water with lemon, a green smoothie, green tea then a half cup of black coffee…all liquids. I then will eat lunch at 12;00pm… so have I had an IF of 16 hours? or have I broken the fast with the smoothie? Thank you!

  16. I’ve been doing the noon breakfast and supper at 7p thing for 3 years, and haven’t lost any weight. But I also snack until 10p, and don’t exercise much. Surprise! I have noticed that if I fast for a day, it seems to regulate my appetite, some. And it’s so easy to do. Just like it is if you have a doctor’s appt the next day, and can’t eat. That’s always been easy! We just got a Sole elliptical, and hopefully will move more.
    (and why do I snack at night? To stay awake! A meal, TV, not moving, sleep deprived…)

  17. For Morning People:

    I did this years ago and didn’t realize it had a name. I would eat my biggest meal in the early morning, average lunch around 10am, and small meal before 2pm. No solid food after 2pm (but plenty of liquids including protein drinks). I lost about 20 lbs. But then, moving in with my mother made it too difficult to follow. It’s great!

  18. Hi! Just wondering, is it possible to follow this fasting method for 5days(weekdays) and just eat normally on weekends? Will it affect the results tremendously or even nullify it? Thanks!

    1. i am also trying to find an answer to this question myself! also, not only eating normaly on weekends but also going out for some drinks? let me know with another reply if you have already found the answer =)

  19. I fully believe in this method

    However I think this article was not written well. The first paragraph sounds exactly like every other gimmick diet with all this false sounding anecdotal evidence sprinkled in. And the photos are terrible! The one of the guy with the giant stomach looks doctored.

    Come on Jeff, lets see some higher quality writing when you represent something so important. Make people believe it.

    1. Hey Joseph,

      Explaining my personal experience with diet and fitness isn’t a gimmick, I’m sorry you felt that way however. What I wrote is truth, and I stand by my stance that IF is an effective tool in helping people transform their health and fitness.

      I also mentioned that this article only skims the amount of info available regarding IF and I will be writing more to explore it further soon.

      If you have any useful information please feel free to share as the community would benefit more from constructive conversation rather than insulting my work.

      Thank you for listening,
      Cheers,
      Jeff

      1. I find this article very disappointing and a new low point in CE. I clicked on this article for curiosity as I was disgusted by the opening picture. “surely CE arent doing the magic before and after scam photos” …Yep. Anytime you put photos like that up, you as an author are taking responsibility, as the content will be blindly followed by many with weight self esteem issues.

        The article is poorly written and breaths a dangerous message. With little or no valid scientific information you have recommended that everyone regardless of condition should stop eating breakfast and start injecting more protein whey.

        DONT DO IT!

        Breakfast is a important meal of the day and starting the day on an empty stomach isn’t going to do you any good. Especially if you encounter stressful situations.

        I find it highly discouraging that you are recommending anybody to take protein whey, it is highly dangerous as in affects body chemistry and as everyone is different this can have bad side affects. Why not suggest a more natural route like fresh white meats or high protein vegetables. Oh I am sorry you probably don’t have time to use your mouth to chew real food.

        This is a big disappointment for CE and I hope I never have the pleasure of reading one of your articles again.

        1. Hey Arc,

          The opening image isn’t misleading, and it was never intended to create self esteem issues, but rather it was meant to show how amazing IF is and how people can find results when they implement IF with a general workout routine, particularly weight lifting with regards to that specific results picture.

          There is no gimmick and I would not recommend something that I haven’t researched thoroughly and that isn’t backed up by science and personal success stories. There is many studies that show how skipping breakfast is beneficial to your overall health, here are but a few:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22425331 (IF and lower cases of diabetes/heart disease)

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18805103 (IF and reducing coronary heart disease, one of the biggest killers of our time)

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21410865?dopt=Abstract (Why IF is the best for fat loss)

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15699226 (Why skipping breakfast is good for your health)

          I’m sorry you felt you didn’t gain any valuable information from the article, however like I said the information is backed by science so I definitely recommend furthering your research on the topic.

          Good luck!
          Jeff @ CE

          1. Jeff

            what if some1 wants to gain weight ?
            This article is for fat ones what about ppl below average.
            My height is 178cm and weight is 64 KG (141 pounds)
            Trainer tells my weight should be 68-70 KG according to my height.
            so whats the IF diet for me ?

            P.S : i dont take any amino powder or protein powder

        2. It isn’t the first time I’ve read about IF and it’s an interesting approach I have tried myself. I also believe breakfast is important but if you look at the maths for the 14 hour fast you can easily achieve it and do so without even realising it sometimes!! If you have your evening meal at 6pm and stop with the snacking through the evening you will have achieve your fast by 8am ready to ‘break’ it at a perfectly accepted time.
          I have heard of benefits of natural whey but personally would not buy the packaged stuff.
          Your reaction is a bit extreme – this guy is only passing on his personal story. It’s up to us as individuals if we want to try his approach,

      2. don’t be upset Jeff there is always someone who projects their own inadequacies and short comings on to someone who is genuinely trying to help others to you Mr. Joseph Belcastro grow up perhaps you should examine what your so angry about before you subject the rest of us to it…

  20. Hi Jeff, Great article by the way. The question now is, what if you can’t workout in the morning? I’m always busy in the mornings and I only workout on evenings. Would that change anything? What would your suggestions be for busy bodies like me?

    1. Berkhan has a few schedules he recommends. I was in your shoes when I started Leangains. You don’t HAVE to train fasted. However, there are some benefits to doing so. The main point is to fast 16 hours and eat for 8. Another principle is to eat 50%-60% of your daily calories in the 2 hr window after you workout. I actually train in the “evening” of my day, making my postworkout meal my largest of the day. I usually eat one small meal during my day, train after work, and eat my last meal afterward. With a daily calorie intake of 2000-2400, I typically eat 1500 in my postorkout meal. Non-training days, you can just eat however you choose.

      Realize that intermittent fasting isn’t a magic bullet for fat loss. YOU STILL MUST EAT LESS CALORIES THAN YOU BURN! In my experience, limiting yourself to an 8 hr feeding window WILL help you stay in that calorie deficit.

  21. I’ve lost 17 kilos since I took up IF after watching Michael Mosley’s Eat, Fast, and Live Longer doco. I adapted it to suit me by doing one 24 hour water only per week – I don’t have any hunger now and I make sure it’s on a busy work day. So my dinner is last meal then water till the next night. I don’t crave sugars or carbs anymore (took a while though!) and i no longer have fatigue.

  22. What Do you mean by injest the protein powder? Like can you mix it with milk or something? I’m going to try this out

  23. Fasting is also good for a lot of medical conditions I’ve seen many type 2 diabetics we’re able to reverse their diabetes by going on a diet plan that involves this, I think it’s the best you can do for your body.
    http://goo.gl/8tWnJS

  24. how does taking birth control affect women regarding this? We are changing our hormones daily, should women on birth control do anything different for this diet to be effective?

  25. Women on birth control change their chemistry daily. Should there be any special considerations or alternations on this diet for women on birth control?

  26. Thank you for this information, I am very interested in trying it. However, I’m a bit confused about how a meal is defined in this program. Protein powders/shakes don’t count as a meal and can be consumed outside the 8 hour window?.

    1. No you cannot use whey protein as it will kick you out of ketosis (i.e. the fast). The information given here conflicts with that on the leangains.com website. The use of protein powder is not advised only BCAA’s. I myself use egg white powder which is a near enough substitute for BCAA’s which are quite expensive for what you get. The powder is much more cost effective. I stop eating at 7pm daily and don’t eat again till midday the next day after my workout. Just prior to the workout I ingest about 10-15g of egg white powder mixed with water. Post workout I eat a moderately high protein, high carb low fat meal. Lots of greens, cup sized portion of brown rice or baked potato and chicken or fish for protein. then in the mid-afternoon peanut butter on a cracker with tea then a whey protein isolate shake. Then evening meal is generally steamed fish or chicken and vegetables. Just before 7pm I have another proteion shake and I’m done for the day. Workout wise its all heavy powerlifting/olympic movements with weighted chins and dips thrown in too. I’ve dropped fat incredibly using this method and without doing any cardio whatsoever. Although I do try to walk for 15-20 mins per day to get some outdoor time. Try it because its very easy to incorporate.

      1. Thanks for the details. I want to give it a try. Where do you get the egg white powder ? Thanks

  27. I am not sure if you noticed that one of the referenced PubMed studies actually shows NEGATIVE results from skipping breakfast!

  28. Don’t get me wrong but you get up at 7:30-8:00 and workout at 8:30 etc… This really sounds like a time table for someone who has no other obligations but to eat and workout…

  29. Why would you wanna have a body like that. looks very unnatural to me… Especially the first picture, his before picture looks way better than the after picture. I’m a bit dissapointed about this article on a website like this. It’s very superficial. Diets and work-out is great for overweight people but the ones I see on the pictures in this article look good to me. How about accepting and loving your body the way it is?

    1. Why judge people for the way they choose to look? These individuals take dieting and fitness more serious and it shows in their physique. Are they wrong for wanting to look a certain way that is perfectly healthy? None of them looked bad before but I guarantee they are happier with their look now.

      You think people should enjoy the way they look and I guarantee you everyone in their after picture does so stop faulting them for living a better lifestyle.

  30. I was wondering where you read that one musnt exceed 50 calories from milk or sugar? I haven’t read that anywhere in my research and would like to read more about that.

  31. hello everyone. I would like to tell this for my own expierience i don’t think people strugle with weight for the reasons you mention in the article, I know inside me that this is much more about how one self feels with one self.

    People who strugle with weight have a much more deeper reason why they aren’t loosing, and it is because they don’t love the body they where given to, they don’t accept them selves, instead they wish to be like someone else, rejecting what they already have, and the body reacts by reflecting what it is felt in the inside, if you belive you are fat, you are fat, if you belive you are old, you are old, if you believe you are great then you are great! that´s the power of human mind and thoughts.

    I used to hate my body cause it wasen’t as I wanted to be, no matter what i did, I was getting fatter, until I realiced what I just told you. when I realiced that, and seriously started loving my real self, (not what you see in the mirror), everything started to fall into place, and I lost 30 pounds in one year by doing nothing, I didnt even change my diet, actually I forgot about diets and exercise, I just loved what I ate and thouhgt “some people have nothing to eat, Im thankfull for this food”, I loved the present moment and loved the fact that my body is complete (some others don’t have their arms or legs), I forgot about others and what they think about me, and since 5 years from now I have a baby and a flat stomac, never felt better before, and I hope with this message, people start to really love the self and start listening to what the body really needs for example if you are hungry: eat, if you are tired: rest, if you are thirsty: drink water, etc etc etc.
    Better undertnd your own body before keep doing harm to the body with extreme diets and extreme exercises methods.

    Never try to fix the body, before fixing the soul

    Love is the answer

    1. This sounds very practical and worthwhile. Good for you. I bet that this approach will help anyone no matter their body size

  32. It never hurt anyone to go a little hungry!!! How about we just go back to basics…eat three well balanced meals a day with healthy whole foods…good protein and slow burning carbs ( vegies) limited fruit and starches. A good healthy space of 4-5 hours between meals to allow the HGH to release and nothing after 8 at night. Tons of water, limited alcohol and consistent movement! 🙂

  33. Look at the first pic at the top. The guy is clearly on steroids. Very high vascularity, yet an increase to muscle mass and his trapezoids are much larger (this is where your main hormone receptors are located). This doesn’t happen on a natural cutting diet. Especially one when you’re fasting for 8 hours.

    1. Yeah we call that a stock photo. I highly doubt the author of this article specifically sought out an image of someone who is built from intermittent fasting. That would be a waste of time >.>

    2. Vascularity becomes more visible when fat leves go lower, not when you take steroids. His triceps look larger because he is flexing. Those are not “clear” sings of using steroids.

    3. Completely wrong. That look is easily attainable without steroids. Lower bodyfat will bring on increased vascularity. He clearly worked out while dieting and achieved a gain in lean mass but nothing crazy. An increase in practically nondeveloped traps is not unheard of. Once again as the fat in his shoulders decreased the traps became more prominent.

      Your body is a very adaptive “machine”. The most important thing is ensuring you are getting the proper macronutrients to support bodily functions and maintain/increase muscle.

      I feel it comes down to personal preference and experimentation. Try different diets and use the one that works best for you.

    4. To say he is on steroids seems a bit hasty nor does your explanation seem supportable. This seems akin to people saying the pregnant model was photoshopped.

    5. Trapezoid- a quadrilateral with only one pair of parallel sides.
      Trapezius- the muscle you were referring to.
      Also the article outlines fasting for 16, not 8.
      People tend to ignore the truths you speak when paired with fallacies, please do a quick fact check before you post. The man could very well be on steroids, because you are right, there is a lot of androgen receptors in the trapezius and deltoid muscles… Although if you invested your internet time instead on the gym and nutrition, you could look a bit ”roided up” too 🙂

  34. this is not true actually… imthe reAL example and without workout u cantget to this level.. im veggie for 4-5 years dont remember but my nutrition is good since lastyear and half a year ago i was super skinny 180cm 60kg and started working out streching occasionally and i got some muscles my trainings are not regular sometimes is a once a week andmy diet is not perfect also dont eat regular and i look good now 68kg and able to do muchmore than someone who does nothing so really just working outandstaying positive can make u healthier for sure u need only water other things u can provide with sunlight

  35. I don’t eat during the daytime at all really, (when I do most of my daily exercise). I eat during the evening, after work. I eat a large meal every evening. (very large!) and I eat whatever I like. Drinking coffee during the daytime suppresses my appetite so I’m not bothered by hungryness. Eat between 7pm and 1am every day. sleep between 2.30 and about 9. Fast the rest of the time.

    I do not put on weight and am very healthy. I like this system it seems to work very well for me.

  36. This would have been an excellent article but totally destroyed any credibility and seriousness by strongly implying that all you need to be Mr Universe is to eat within an 8 hour period. It’s a lie, and removes all credibility from this article and destroys the real and serious message that this practice is very healthy.

  37. I was relieved to read this article—everyone was always saying—you have to eat breakfast—!! I just got so busy that I more or less didn’t have time to eat in the morning and would only have 1 cup of coffee if that and I found I was not eating until dinner or later and then a glass of wine and snacks—then a late dinner. I started losing weight and continued more or less fasting—then late snacks and dinner if that. I really don’t exercise except cleaning the house and doing chores. I really don’t seem to have much of an appetite and never “clean my plate”. So I am going against the norm—-no breakfast and never really cleaning my plate. I feel somewhat vindicated and see the logic of IF. Thanks for the article.

  38. How do you feel about bulletproof coffee to help support feeling hungry in the AM?

  39. Drinking coffee/tea does not count as fasting. Really should be water only. Same with the protein powder. Not a true fast if you are ingesting protein powder in the morning.

    Maybe ill swap coffee/tea for beer/whiskey and protein powder for bacon. Call it a bobo fast…

  40. The article you cited regarding why breakfast is “good for your health” actually discusses why omitting breakfast is not a good thing. The article states:
    “The prevalence of obesity has increased in industrial countries in recent decades. At the same time, OB has become more common, possibly because of efforts to lose weight. The results of this study have showed the potential importance of breakfast consumption to insulin sensitivity and plasma cholesterol concentrations, which are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The current study also reports higher EIs with OB than with EB. This indicates a potential mechanism by which breakfast omission could lead to weight gain in the longer term.”
    OB= omitting breakfast EB= eating breakfast.

    Spreading misinformation and citing articles that do not support your arguments is unethical and could be downright dangerous. Have some respect for the field of nutrition. People, you must read the details for yourself before buying into health or nutrient claims made by so called “experts”

  41. Choose a time window that suits you. I eat 6am to 2pm As I am a breakfast girl & need my energy for that part of the day. 12pm-8pm doesn’t fit my schedual But does to others

  42. The author has his BCAAs before & after his workout. Then he breaks the fast at 12:00. Wouldn’t the BCAAs alone be considered breaking the fast? After all, BCAAs are protein.

  43. Help the only time I eat is 1PM and then 8pm no in between I need to loose weight going away in 4 weeks help

  44. Does my workout need to be inside the eating window? Because I planned that my work-out schedule is 8-10pm, then my eating window is 11am-7pm, so when I get home and eat my last meal (6-7pm), I still have 1-hr. left as a preparation before I workout at 8pm-10pm.

  45. Those men gained muscle from body building, certainly not from fasting. Personally, I find their before photos more attractive anyway.

  46. Sorry but I missed the part of the daily routine where you actually have to go to work a job for 8 hours.

  47. I’m confused as to why the the guy in the first before and after photo, on the left in the before part of the image, is holding a newspaper with the headline “driven to despair” on it?

  48. You forgot to add the liter of steroids those people took :)) Stop intoxicating pople with incomplete storyes

  49. the last link provided as a scientific proof actually says the opposite – that omitting breakfast is detrimental to your health…

  50. Would it be beneficial to have my eating window within the same timeframe that I typically workout? I work 6a-4p and thought about not eating at while sleeping and while at work. I typically workout right after work though and that would be when all my meals would be? Any suggestions or input?

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