In particular, I'm going to help you understand:
- What Intermittent Fasting is and how it works
- The 4 key benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- The 3 simple rules of Intermittent Fasting
- How to make Intermittent Fasting work for YOU
- What to avoid when Intermittent Fasting
- How to increase the effects of Intermittent Fasting
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
The basic idea is to cycle between periods of eating and not eating. There are a few variations you could try, to find out what works best for you:
1-meal per day: As you can imagine, only eating one meal per day gives you plenty of time where you are are fasting. The meal you do eat should contain a good number of calories and nutrients, so you are not taking your daily intake dangerously below what you need.
16:8 Intermittent Fast: The 16:8 fast is quite a popular version, as it is a simple extension of a natural daily fast. Every night, when you go to bed, and usually a few hours before, you stop eating for multiple hours (depending on how long you sleep).
If you go to bed at around 10pm, chances are you stop eating by 8pm. If you then sleep for 8 hours, and eat when you rise, you have already fasted for 10 hours. The 16:8 method simply has you eating slightly earlier one side, and later on the other side.
For example, you would stop eating at 6pm, sleep 10pm until 6am, then eat again at 10am. Your 8 hour eating window becomes 10am – 6pm each day.
5:2 Intermittent Fast: Unlike the 16:8 method above, the 5:2 method is related to the days, rather than the hours that you fast. This means 5 days of normal eating vs. 2 days of very low calorie eating (approximately 500 calories).
24-Hour Fast: This is a simple method that has you fast for a full 24-hours each week. This is best done as a meal to meal fast, for example breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner.
Doing it meal to meal means you will not go over the 24-hours. Some people imagine a 24-hour fast to mean not eating for a full day, but if you eat dinner at 7pm on Monday, fast all of Tuesday, and then eat breakfast at 7am on Wednesday, you would actually be at a 36-hour fast.
You may see other variations, but these are the methods we see used most often. The best method for you will be one that you can do consistently, and that fits with your schedule without causing disruption or discomfort.
The 4 Key Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
As you have seen from above, there are different variations of intermittent fasting. Some people may only do it a couple of times a week, while others do it every day or every other day.
The benefits of intermittent fasting for men may slightly outweigh the benefits for women, but that should only be viewed as a positive result for men. The research is clear that intermittent fasting is beneficial for both men and women.
Here are the 4 key benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Intermittent Fasting Aids in Weight Loss
The best and most obvious benefit of intermittent fasting for men is that it aids in weight loss.
During the hours you are eating, it's important that you don't pack in as much food as possible.
You want to eat the normal amount of meals you would for the time period. Intermittent fasting will help you to eat fewer meals and snacks in a 24-hour period. Intermittent fasting also helps to improve the function of the weight loss hormone.
As long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down, and our fat cells can release their stored sugar to be used as energy.
2. Intermittent Fasting is Good for the Brain
There are a few ways in which intermittent fasting is good for the brain. Intermittent fasting may increase the rate new nerve cells grow.
This is beneficial to the brain. Cellular repair processes also improve when intermittent fasting.
This removes waste from cells and may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Intermittent fasting also improves levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
3. Intermittent Fasting May Benefit the Heart
According to the Intermountain Medical Center, intermittent fasting plays a role in keeping the heart healthy. This is great news considering heart disease is a leading cause of death around the world.
Intermittent fasting helps to lower blood pressure, which is good for the heart. LDL and total cholesterol levels will also be improved. Blood sugar levels will benefit from intermittent fasting as well.
Keeping the heart healthy will help to prevent heart disease. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, intermittent fasting is something you may want to consider.
4. Intermittent Fasting Helps to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's response to outside threats such as toxic chemicals and infections. This is the body's way of protecting cells and tissues.
Too much inflammation in the body is a different story, though. Too much inflammation is linked to lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gut problems such as ulcerative colitis, and gouty arthritis.
Symptoms of inflammation include joint pain and stiffness, redness, fatigue, headaches, and muscle stiffness.
Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Intermittent fasting benefits your body and health in many ways. An intermittent fasting cycle is flexible, so you can adjust it to suit your lifestyle.
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The 3 Simple Rules Of Intermittent Fasting
There are a few rules you need to follow if you want intermittent fasting for men to work out for you.
1. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep is good for you anyway, but getting plenty of sleep while doing intermittent fasting helps you to stick with it. You will be less prone to energy ‘crashes', meaning you will not reach for sugary snacks to ‘perk you up'.
Also, if you go to bed at midnight, you may often “fight” late-night cravings, but if you go to bed at 10 pm, it shaves 2 hours off your day, and you're less likely to have a midnight snack if you're already in bed and sleeping.
Most people choose to fast for 16 hours and do all their eating in an 8-hour window. This means you effectively either skip breakfast or dinner. Most people choose to skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner as normal.
2. Drink Water (Or Coffee) To Hold You Over
You should already be drinking plenty of water every day. This is especially true during intermittent fasting, but if you need something “heartier,” coffee is another option.
While some versions of intermittent fasting allow one shot of cream in your coffee, the choice is entirely up to you. The important thing is to not go crazy with it. e.g, don't add 2 or 3 shots of cream and a tablespoon of sugar.
Finally, eat everything you're going to eat for the day within 8 hours. This can be tricky if you're not used to it. If you get up at 6 am and eat by 7 am, you can eat a big breakfast and a moderately-large lunch, as long as you stop eating by 3 pm.
Alternatively, you can skip breakfast and eat lunch at noon and dinner sometime before 8 pm.
3. Choose An Eating Window You Will Stick To
Again, the most common fasting schedule is fasting for 16 hours (mostly while sleeping) and doing all your eating in an 8-hour window (10 am to 6 pm, for instance). But, if your eating window overlaps the time you usually work out, you may want to change it up to work with your schedule.
Intermittent fasting is a great strategy for increasing your chances of weight loss, but it won't help if you don't stick to the plan. Here's a reminder of the several methods of intermittent fasting from before:
- 1-meal per day
- 16:8 Intermittent Fast
- 5:2 Intermittent Fast
- 24-Hour Fast
To optimize your rate of weight loss, you will need to develop a schedule that works for you. Find the hours of the day that are easiest for you to eat, without disrupting your normal work or exercise schedule.
What To Avoid When Intermittent Fasting
There are a few traps people fall into when doing intermittent fasting.
First, some people simply don't track their “eating window” and eat outside of the 8 hours. The result is they're not fasting long enough and don't get the results they want.
Another mistake people make is they don't make their 8-hour window consistent from day to day.
Remember, consistency is key!
Choose an 8-hour timeframe when you'll eat and stick to it. If you want to eat breakfast, start your eating window, then do it every day.
Your body gets used to eating at the same time every day, so don't confuse it, or it'll be hard to stick to your fast.
Intermittent fasting can be difficult at first because most people aren't used to skipping meals. A new habit needs to be formed. However, those that make the switch often find fasting is enough to lose weight, and they don't have to remember complicated dieting rules or deprive themselves of foods they enjoy.
Most importantly, don't go overboard during the eating period!
You may find yourself feeling hungry after an extended period of not eating. Be conscious of why you're fasting in the first place and stick to a healthy diet.
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Increase the Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting
To say intermittent fasting is a popular weight-loss trend, would likely be the understatement of the year.
Weight loss enthusiasts are flocking to this healthy eating plan thanks to its excellent weight loss results over short periods of time.
If you're considering using time-restricted eating to help you lose weight fast, the following are a few hacks you should know to increase the effectiveness of your intermittent fasting diet.
Follow a Calorie-Restricted Diet
This one is simple and obvious. During your eating hours, make sure you're eating healthy foods. Stick to good carbohydrates, lean protein, and lots of vegetables. Eat foods that increase satiety, like eggs, fish, apples, nuts, and almost all vegetables.
Increase Restricted Hours
Many dieters attempting to lose weight quickly via intermittent fasting restrict their food intake to only 12-14 hours.
If you restrict your food intake to 16 hours, you can increase the rate at which you lose weight.
Stop eating by 8 pm in the evening, and most of your non-eating hours will occur while you're asleep.
Selective Carbohydrate Eating
Just because you're using time-restricted eating to lose weight, that doesn't mean you should consume high-carbohydrate or sugar-rich foods when you're not in fasting mode.
Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates instead of high-carbohydrate foods, and you'll speed up your weight loss rate.
Carbohydrates are a necessary component of healthy eating, but you must be smart when choosing the appropriate ones.
Focus on eating carbohydrates that convert to sugar at a slower rate, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you can shed pounds.
Protein Is Key
When your intermittent fasting period is over, focus on eating foods high in protein.
Instead of instantly consuming carbohydrates once your 16 hours of fasting have passed, eat protein-rich foods like chicken, tuna, and turkey instead.
This helps keep your body in fat-burning mode longer and gives your body the necessary proteins too.
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These are just a few tips to keep in mind with intermittent fasting for men. The power of time-restricted dieting can work for you.
Focus on healthy eating and exercise habits over the long haul, and you, too, can become an intermittent fasting success story.
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Committing to a fitness program is one of the best ways to improve your chances of success. But you're welcome to try a free weight loss meal plan and workout before taking the dive!
Still have questions? Find out the answers to the 10 most common intermittent fasting questions!
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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on intermittent fasting for men.