A Full Guide to Intermittent Fasting

A Full Guide to Intermittent Fasting


What is Intermittent Fasting?

Let’s first go over the basics of intermittent fasting (IF).  Depending on who you ask you will receive different answers as to how long you should fast and how long your eating window should be.  But as a general guideline, you typically fast for approximately 16 hours (sleep included) and only eat during an 8-hour window of time.

What Are The Benefits?

Caloric restricted (CR) dieting is the most common method of dieting, it is quite simply the act of reducing the number of calories you consume.  And while this is effective for improving health and promoting weight loss it also can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, and increased irritability.  Research done on rats and other mammals have shown that CR diets that reduce calories by 30-40% will increase life expectancy by approximately 20%.  And while these findings have not been tested on humans, it is relatively safe to assume similar results.  By now you might be wondering, why I am talking about CR diets when IF is not a form of CR dieting?  The reason is IF has shown similar and sometimes even better results than CR dieting.  Including benefits such as lower risk of cancer, reduced oxidative stress, reduced blood pressure, reduced blood sugar, improved insulin sensitivity, lower risk of heart disease, and improved cognitive ability.  All without the negative side effects previously mentioned with CR diets.

Does IF Help Build Muscle?

When IF is implemented correctly it will likely improve one's ability to build muscle.  But it should be noted that for more advanced athletes that require a high caloric intake, eating that many calories in a shorter amount of time can be extremely difficult.

Is IF Good for Weight Loss?

IF is one of the more effective and healthy methods for weight loss, but the benefits are often exaggerated.  When total caloric intake is unchanged, IF will result in increased fat loss, but the improved weight loss is moderate.  Here’s a study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine that gives an in-depth look at exactly what can be expected from IF.  I should also note, IF makes it much easier to reduce your total caloric intake because you simply have less time to eat.  That being said, if you eat moderate amounts during your feeding window you will likely see very positive results.

Who is It For?

I would recommend IF to anyone trying to lose weight, improve their health, and even bodybuilders who are very dedicated to their diets and also have relatively low daily caloric needs.  For larger high-intensity athletes with high caloric needs, I believe IF will be very difficult especially while trying to build muscle.  I believe weekly or bi-monthly fasting would be a better option for these athletes.


Here’s the catch, IF and fasting, in general, can be very beneficial but they are also very difficult.  Success fuels more success, so if you don’t think you have the discipline for IF then you’ll probably have better success with other diets.

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