BY BRIAN FRANK
Intermittent Fasting - two things to consider1) what “eating window” time of day is best for you?
2) Your body type and IF
I have practiced IF on an off for the past 5 years or so and while the results can be impressive, it does take some getting used to, including initial feelings of hunger and empty stomach growling. These do subside in the first weeks as your body adjusts to this new pattern of caloric intake. However, I have not seen much written about employing IF during periods of mid to high volume training and or intensity. Another area that receives little, if any, attention in the IF discussion is body type and how each may respond. I’m scratching the surface on these subjects here and will continue to expound on them in future issues of EN and ENW.
I have most often practiced and found the 16 hours of fasting with an 8 hour “food” window to be the easiest to manage with my work and workout schedule. My eating hours are being between 11 AM and 7 PM, or noon to 8 PM in the summer when I want to ride and eat later in the day. For those of you who mostly workout after work, this pattern works well and allows for consistent use of Whey/Glutamine before bed for HGH spike after fasting for 3 hours or more.
However, for those of you who do your training early in the morning, you are accustomed to working out from a fasting state, so this is not new. However, waiting until 11 or noon to begin eating is challenging from both hunger and recovery/repair perspectives. If this is how you train most of the time, shifting your 8 hour food window earlier in the day is necessary, to say 8-9 am to 4-5 PM. This allows you to take maximum advantage of your post workout recovery window, but makes for an early dinner and a long evening with no snacking. But, if you want to lean out a lot, this eating pattern works extremely well.
Still another option when workout volume and intensity are high, shortening the fasting window to 14 or even 12 hours will still give excellent results and allow you to have a long enough eating window to have a good meal after both your AM and PM workouts.
Intermittent Fasting, Body Type - another consideration
When I first became serious about weight lifting in college, I studied Bill Sheldon’s three Somatypes; Ectomorph - lean, hyper metabolism, Endomorph - naturally higher body fat, slower metabolism and the Mesomorph - the perfect mix of the two, Adonis figure, olympic athlete, etc. It was then I learned, much to my chagrin, that I am an Endomorph.
I think it’s critical to know your body type, so you knew how to train and eat.
However, today Somatypes does not seem to be much discussed or applied to training and diet principles, which is unfortunate. When considering Intermittent Fasting, this should be the starting point in my mind.
Ectomorph - Being lean and maintaining your ideal weight is so easy, you can’t help it. I do not think that Ectomorphs thrive on IF. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but it won’t be fun! Ectomorphs are necessarily fixated on not losing weight/lean muscle mass and have to eat sufficient calories every day and always consume calories during training to avoid this problem. Over the age of 50 gradual muscle loss is a major concern that should be proactively addressed with adequate daily protein intake and avoiding long periods without food during the day.
Mesomorph - IF works well to get super lean and shed those couple of pounds that you don’t need. You are so gifted naturally, you don’t really need much help. Of course, if you do get serious about your diet and practice IF, you likely will be winning most of the time.
Endomorph - That’s me and is the most common female body type. We struggle with easy weight gain, must restrict calories and workout to prevent it. We are prone to insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and type II diabetes later in life. On the flip side, we can be fat burning machines that never bonk! Honestly, without a doubt, Intermittent fasting combined with sugar and starch restriction is what our body’s crave and thrive on! To be clear, eliminating the sugar and starchy carbs is the #1 factor, but IF specifically improves insulin function, increases HGH levels while also reducing levels of our hunger hormone, Grelin.
** These statements are not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or give medical advice. You should consult a licensed health care professional before making significant changes to your diet or supplement routine.