Why Intermittent Fasting Is Taking Over...Fast!

Why Intermittent Fasting Is Taking Over...Fast!

Intermittent fasting is fast becoming the hot new diet trend among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people looking to improve their all around health. We have been taught all our lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, however many in the health industry are now kicking breakfast to the curb and changing their story.....but to what? And why? The answer is intermittent fasting, and the why is because it addresses the most important factors of weight loss. I know, sounds kind of fishy...let me explain.

For starters, intermittent fasting is NOT a diet. It's not about counting calories, eating less fat, having no carbs, etc. It's more about creating a pattern of eating. So basically it means that you consume all of your calories in a specific window of time every day. For example, the style of intermittent fasting I participate in is known as the 16:8 technique. That is 16 hours of fasting, and an 8 hour window to eat. There are other popular fasting methods:


Here, you would do a complete 24 hour fast once or twice per week. During the fast no food is consumed, but you can drink calorie free beverages.


This is a 20 hour fast with a 4 hour window to eating. Most people usually only have two meals a day when doing this kind of fast, and this is the most common one when it comes to direct weight loss.

Up Day Down Day
In the Up Day Down Day, you would eat normal one day, and the next day cut your calorie intake down to one fifth of your normal day. For example, if you typically take in the regular 2000 to 2500 calories a day, then your Down day would be 400 to 500 calories.

Most people select a style of fasting based on their life schedule. 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window works for my schedule (I typically finish my last meal around 8 pm and eat my first meal at 12 noon). I do still eat three meals a day within that time and have a glass of water right when i wake up, and a tea mid morning (for most of you, coffee will be your go to). 

Wait: Why do this??

Ah yes. The Why. Let’s start deep inside. The cells. When you don't eat for an extended period of time, your body begins a cellular repair process that removes waste material from cells, and changes certain hormone levels to make your bodies fat more accessible to be burned. Fasting triggers two of the main hormones in your body related to fat burning: Insulin and Growth hormone. Insulin is a hormone that helps in storing fat, and in the presence of Insulin it is beyond difficult to lose weight. When you fast, blood levels of insulin drop significantly, so fat burning becomes easier. On top of that, their is a rise in levels of Growth Hormone (up to 5 times higher), which is not only the number one hormone for fat burning, it also is key in lean muscle growth and anti-aging. Reduced insulin also means reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

The obvious benefits are there as well. If you intermittent fast, you will most likely eat fewer meals and snacks, which means you'll most likely take in fewer calories. All this means intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate (your metabolism), which means you'll be burning even more calories. So basically it works to help you take in less calories And burn more at the same time, thus resulting in weight loss.

If you are working out (at Catalyst Health, Toronto's premiere boutique health facility) while fasting, your body will need to use even more stored fat as energy to power through the workout. More fat burning! Basically, intermittent fasting teaches your body to use the food you eat more efficiently, and also teaches your body to use fat as fuel when it is deprived of new calories constantly. When done properly, intermittent fasting is an amazing way to simplify your eating, promote fat loss, and gain muscle.

Kevin Yeboah
Strength & Conditioning Specialist


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