You’ve heard plenty about intermittent fasting, but how do you get started?
Really, the process is pretty simple. I’m going to make it even simpler for you with a “How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting Checklist” so you know everything you need to start torching fat, looking great naked and improving your health for good.
If you’re apprehensive about fasting, start slow. Stop eating around 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. Focus on pushing your first meal back a few hours in the morning. Then, add an hour per day until you hit lunch time.
Start fasting on a weekday when your schedule is jam-packed. The more you have to go on the easier it will be to NOT think about food. As a bonus, fasting can improve cognitive performance due to the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, or BDNF. While fasting and working on deep, focused work, you’ll find you’re getting more done in less time.
Drink Lots Of Water
Studies have shown nearly 75% of people walk around dehydrated. Even 1-2% dehydration reduces gym performance and cognitive performance. It also decreases most bodily functions, including your natural detoxification processes.
Dehydration when fasting increases hunger and irritability. You start feeling “hangry.” Drink more water to avoid being hangry. You’ll also maximize fat loss and performance.
I recommend drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. That’s around 100 oz, 3 liters, or 6 Dasani water bottles a day for a 200-pound man. Carry water with you at all times and take a sip every few minutes. You’ll thank me later.
Suppress Hunger With…
…Coffee, carbonated-calorie-free beverages, and gum.
Over the first five days, you will be hungry. That’s part of the process while your body resets hunger signals. To minimize discomfort and hunger, drink black coffee. If you must, add a little bit of coconut oil or whole milk, but no sweeteners. Coffee has been shown to suppress appetite and increase the release of stored fatty-acids from your body, improving fat burning.
Mineral water and (if you must) carbonated beverages like diet soda helpful during your fast. The carbonation will give help you feel full.
Finally, chew calorie-free gum. I don’t have any literature to back up gum helping with hunger, but I can tell you after years of fasting and occasionally, prepping for fitness photo shoots that a few sticks of gum are a game-changer for me.
Calculate Your Calories
You could do nothing different with your diet than switching to a 16/8 fast. That means you fast for 16 hours and eat during an eight-hour window, say from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
But I’m here to help you get in the best shape of your life, so it would be rude of me not to share the best way to do so: calculating and tracking your calories.
All you need to do is measure (and, heck, guess at restaurants) the portion sizes of your food. This comes back to the most important component of fat loss. You must create a consistent caloric deficit to lose fat.
If you have no idea how many calories you’re eating you’ll have one hell of a time determining whether or not you’re eating the right amount of calories to lose fat.
As Brad Pilon of Eat Stop Eat puts it, If you’re not measuring, you’re not progressing. If you’re not measuring, you have NO idea what you’re doing.
In other words, you’re leaving the most important component of fat loss—creating a caloric deficit—to chance because you don’t want to spend five minutes tracking your food instead of watching NetFlix or scanning Instagram.
Okay, I’m done.
Here’s what to do:
For gradual weight loss, take your bodyweight in pounds x14.
For aggressive fat loss take your bodyweight in pounds x10.
To build muscle? Body weight in pounds x18.
These simple equations all give you a ballpark number of calories to eat each day. If you want specific calories and the most accurate plan using caloric cycling customized to get you in the best shape of your life, you will benefit from my coaching, here.
Calculate Protein, Carbs, and Fats
You’ve calculated your calories, great! Now it’s time for proteins, fats, and carbs. The beauty of the intermittent fasting lifestyle is you can eat low carb, high carb, or whatever style of diet you prefer as long as you’re following the eating window.
Let’s use a 200-pound man following an aggressive fat loss plan as the example.
Protein: Protein is essential for building lean muscle and keeping hunger at bay. A simple rule of thumb is to have 1g of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight or 200g per day.
Protein: 200g, or 800 calories of protein
Carbs: Carbs fuel performance and can help provide essential energy for your body.
We’ll put carbs at 30% of your calories.
This means 2000 calories x.3= 600 calories from carbs.
There are four calories per 1 gram of carbs, so this comes to 150g of carbs.
Fat: Fat is essential for hormone production and overall health.
Since we have 2000 calories to work with, 800 are used for protein, and 600 for carbs, we have 600 left.
Here’s the math: 2000- 800 (calories from protein)- 600 (calories from carbs)= 600 remaining calories.
Since fat has nine calories per gram, divide calories from by 9.
600/9= 67 g of carbs.
Altogether, this 200 bro would aim for the following each day:
Train At The End Of Your Fast
Because of the release of adrenaline during fasting, you’ll find yourself ready to roll when it comes to training. The first few days, while your body adapts, can be tough. But once you’ve adapted to fasting, you’ll find yourself loving fasted training.
To sweeten the deal, your insulin sensitivity, which is already heightened from the fast, will be even higher after exercise. This makes it even easier for your body to use your post-workout meals as fuel for recovery and muscle growth rather than fat gain.
Here’s our popular Power Primer workout, which will help you torch body fat, build muscle, and get more athletic.
If you exercise In the morning…
Things get a bit more complicated. For most people, fasting from the night before to the afternoon works best because they can have a larger dinner. In other words, you’ll probably enjoy fasting from 8:00 PM to 12:00 pm and eating from 12-8 PM much more than eating from 7:00 am to 3:00 PM each day.
But if you work out in the morning, how can you make sure you’ll maximize your gains without breaking your fast?
By taking 10g of BCAA’s during training, then another 10g after training. This should feasibly help you stimulate protein synthesis while decreasing the breakdown of amino acids as fuel.
Then, proceed as you would with your normal feeding window.
Understand This: Yes, You Will Be Hungry At First
When you start fasting, you will be hungry to start and towards the end of your fasts. But you won’t wither away your hard earned gains and diet. Hunger is not an emergency. Truthfully, hunger is a state of mind for most of us, and it’s a state of mind you need to conquer if you want to look great naked and experience the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Your body will adapt. It will change to better deal with hunger. But give it time. If you go into a fast and you convince yourself it’s impossible; you’re not going to succeed. You will soon give up.
Trust me here and relax. Not eating isn’t a huge deal. You’ll get to have bigger meals later today anyway.
Give It Time
Like any type of diet, fat loss takes time. The truth is your body can only burn fat so fast, a few pounds per week at most.
Your body will take a few days to get accustomed to the hunger pangs. But once you’ve adapted, you’ll find fasting to be a simple and maintainable plan for losing stubborn fat, looking great naked, and taking control of your health without obsessing over fitness.