Intermittent fasting is a concept that is fast catching on in the world of fitness and bodybuilding. There is a lot of research to show that it may provide health benefits as well as improve your body’s composition.
The technique involves skipping meals, which goes against everything traditionally followed in terms of nutrition and bodybuilding. However, the concept is not much unlike our current eating habits. Here is a look at what it entails.
How fasting works
When bodybuilding, you may work out a fasting schedule for yourself, but before that, you need to understand how it functions. With this type of fasting, you simply do not eat for short periods of time. This is something you can essentially do every day.
There are other versions of the diet. The most extreme is that of eating every alternate day and is not meant for those who are body building as well. While to some fasting means abstaining from everything, when doing it to build muscle, lose fat and get in shape, it is not only beneficial but also recommended that you drink plenty of water, even during the periods when you are not eating.
It is also important that when you are not fasting, you make sure you eat the amount of protein that your body requires daily.
One of the options is to fast just for one day each month or week. You could work on an exercise regimen where you cycle for a large part of the week. Indulge in carbs and high calorie foods only on the days that you are strength training. For days on which you are conditioning, you keep your carb and calorie intake at a moderate level. This is one way of building up a regimen.
Another version of this would be a daily fast for extended hours. You could choose to begin with 10 to 12 hours and extend that to 16 to 20 hours. At the end of the fast, do your workout and then have all the food you need in the remaining 4 to 8 hour bracket. These are fasting schedules that will get you the best results in terms of body building.
The benefits of the intermittent fasting diet
This form of fasting is great if you are planning on building your body or are working towards increasing stamina for track and field events. In fact, it is a great way of working towards a more physically fit and athletic body. If you plan to incorporate this plan into your diet, here are the benefits you can look forward to.
You will find a reduction in the following:
- Blood lipids – This will include triglycerides and bad cholesterol
- Blood pressure
- Oxidative related stress
- Chances of cancer cells developing
What will increase?
- The rate at which your cells turnover and repair themselves. This is a necessary process after every heavy workout
- Rate of fat burn
- The release of growth hormones
- Metabolic rate when you are fasting
You will find an improvement in:
- Your ability to control your appetite
- Ability to control blood sugar levels
- Improvement in cardio functioning
Going against the norm
Any bodybuilder today generally operates on the fundamental of several smaller meals across the day. Therefore, abstaining from food for extended periods seems to go against the very nature of what many health conscious individuals are familiar with, but here is an understanding of why intermittent fasting bodybuilding regimens work so well.
The nutritive factor remains the same with this diet. It does not involve eating things that are not good for you. You still eat healthy foods, maintain your calorie count and do a well-rounded workout. The only difference is the way in which you distribute the calories you eat each day.
This distribution of calories is based on how you space your meals. You may choose to eat lots of small meals or choose to have a larger gap in between meals.
Another concern you may have is about controlling your metabolism and blood sugar. There is a lot of new research that proves that the frequency of your eating does not really influence the way your body does its work. This goes to show that fasting may actually be good for the way your body absorbs its nutrients.
What is important before you begin any diet is to sit down with your trainer and work out where you stand physically. Start by evaluating your goals. Understand what the intermittent diet is and what it can do for you. Once you know this, you will be able to work out a regimen that will best suit you and your needs.