There are many ways to start implementing a lifestyle of fasting. We recommend starting slow and then progressing as you become accustomed to it. The most practical way to start is intermittent fasting (IF). This will help you walk in a balance and implement fasting into your daily lifestyle. Your goals will depict your fasting time and frequency. For fat loss, fasting should be slightly longer and more frequent. If your goal is to build muscle, fasting everyday may not be the best as you start working toward that goal. Regardless of your goals, implementing some sort of fasting into your schedule can always be beneficial.
The very definition of intermittent fasting gives a picture of what this could look like. Simply put, it’s fasting, intermittently. It is not a 24 hour long fast like what most people think of; intermittent fasting consists of frequent, shorter fasts that work well with your schedule. (Make sure to stay current with your doctor to make sure this is right for you in your season.)
The most common IF regiment is 16:8. This means that you will be in the fasted state for 16 hours and have 8 hours to consume all your nutrients for the day. This may seem like a lot of time, but remember that most of that time is taken up while you’re asleep. For example, if you were to stop eating dinner at 6 pm, you could then start eating at 10 am the next day and then eat until 6pm that day for your 8-hour window of eating.
The big thing to note here, is the progression. Don’t start by doing this everyday; try starting with 2-3 days per week. On the other days, try getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner without snacking, this way even on the days you aren’t fasting, you still aren’t eating constantly. Start slow and work your way up to more days of fasting each week, and with longer fasting times some days. I started slowly in the beginning and now years later I fast 5-6 days each week and on the 7th day, I will usually get breakfast with my lovely wife. If I am implementing fasting, I can still have time to celebrate and do fun things with my family and friends!
What CAN I have while fasting?
A frequent question I get is, “What can I have while fasting?” There are lots of opinions on the matter but quite frankly my answer is always to cut out calories completely during your fasting times.
Many people ask about having supplements or a small amount of cream in their coffee, and while those things are helpful for our health, it usually does more harm than good during intermittent fasting. Based on my own opinion and client testimonials, it can be much harder to keep up the fast when we dabble with cream and other nearly negligible calories.
Now there are always exceptions to the rule and specific health needs, but for the most part, zero calories is usually my recommendation. There are a couple of items you can have while fasting that don’t affect blood sugar and have minimal effect on our digestive system: Water, black coffee, and carbonated water are okay to have as long as they do not have any other ingredients. Preferably no cream in the coffee and drinking carbonated water sparingly. There are some benefits to having bone broth as well to get your amino acids in while fasting, but when fasting for 12-16 hours, this may not be necessary. Reach out to a respected personal trainer, nutritionist or doctor in your community when implementing fasting for the first time, they are great resources!Ashton Tate is the founder of Glory to Glory Fitness in Franklin, TN. His passion is helping leaders use their health as an asset to do all that God has called them to in every season.