Intermittent fasting may seem like your average fad diet, but I promise you it is much more than that. I have been using intermittent fasting for over five years, no matter where I have been living on the planet.
Many people swear by intermittent fasting and carb backloading to improve their health and fitness, and I am right there with them! If you want results and do not want to worry about falling for any diets that can potentially harm you, you’ll want to learn more about intermittent fasting and carb backloading!
Not only can intermittent fasting help you lose weight, but it can produce numerous other positive benefits for the body as well.
While we often hear about diets where people cut down on their carbohydrate intake to lose fat, intermittent fasting and carb backloading allow you to consume a substantial amount of carbohydrates per day- given you eat them at the correct time!
Ready to learn more about carbohydrate backloading and intermittent fasting?
Keep reading below!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
By definition, fasting means “an abstinence from food, or a limiting of one’s food, especially when voluntary and as a religious observance.” One of the most common periods of fasting is the Muslim season of Ramadan, where Muslim individuals fast from sun up to sun down each day.
Intermittent Fasting is conceptually fasting for a certain number of hours per day, more specifically for health and medical benefits.
The most common fasting schedule is a 16:8 ration where you are allowed food consumption for eight hours per day while fasting for sixteen hours.
Check out this video to hear about one special success story made-possible by intermittent fasting!
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Unlike religious fasting, intermittent fasting generally is practiced for health benefits. Many research studies have been conducted on the health benefits of intermittent fasting, proving its various health benefits.
Not only is intermittent fasting one of the best ways to lose weight, but it is also beneficial for your health in many other ways as well!
Check out a few of them below.
Intermittent Fasting Improves Your Health
One of the better studies on the effects of intermittent fasting for various health indicators was published in The Journal of Translational Medicine. To analyze the effects of Intermittent Fasting (time-restricted feeding), thirty-four restrained males were randomly assigned a diet of either time-restricted feeding or normal diet practices to follow for eight-weeks. The caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown within each group was controlled, and the subjects were tested before and after the eight-weeks of the assigned diet phases.
The time-restricted feeding group consumed their daily caloric intake throughout an eight-hour window each day, with three meals consumed at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m, and had 16-hours per day of “fasting” time. The normal diet group consumed their calorie allotment for the day in three meals as well, although meals were spread out at 8.am., 1 p.m., and 8.pm.
Both groups also used an identical resistance training program during the eight-weeks. Fat-mass and fat-free mass were tested using a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, muscle area was tested using an anthropometric system, and total and free testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, blood glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, along with other markers of health, were all measured.
Measures of maximal strength, including the bench press and leg press, were also tested, along with resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio. The results showed decreased fat mass for the time-restricted feeding group compared to the normal diet group, and fat-free mass, arm and thigh muscle size, and maximal strength were maintained in each group.
There were no significant total cholesterol changes, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, triglyceride levels, or resting energy expenditure. At the same time, there was a significant decrease in respiratory ratio, testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, blood glucose, and insulin levels in the time-restricted feeding group.
The results demonstrate that Intermittent Fasting (time-restricted feeding) can be beneficial for health indicators and body composition for resistance-trained males.
Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
If you are searching for weight loss solutions that work, you will love intermittent fasting.
If you would like to jump-start your metabolism even more to induce weight loss, try also drinking a cup of green tea or coffee (I prefer Puroast Low-Acid Coffee) when you wake up in the morning because they can promote fat oxidization but don’t “break your fast.”
Additionally, you can try fasted cardio to burn even more fat.
A 2012 study that was published in the Nutrition Journal concluded that combined with proper calorie restriction, intermittent fasting is effective for inducing weight loss and cardiovascular protection in obese women.
Intermittent fasting is an exceptional way to improve your physique and get an aesthetic body!
Intermittent Fasting Helps to Lower the Risk of Diabetes:
Intermittent fasting can help to normalize your blood sugar levels and reduce your resistance to insulin. According to studies on the connection between fasting and insulin, fasting can reduce insulin levels by 20 to 30%!
If you are at risk of developing Type II- Diabetes, fasting is one option you have to avoid the condition!
Intermittent Fasting Improves Brain Function
As well as helping you lose weight, it’s possible that intermittent fasting can be great for your brain health as well. It can increase the growth of new neurons, as well as protect the brain from damage for the future.
After a few weeks of intermittent fasting, you are likely to feel mentally sharper than you have previously.
Intermittent Fasting and Muscle Mass
Surprisingly, intermittent fasting can preserve your muscle. As long you don’t enter into starvation mode, you’ll maintain your lean muscle. Starvation will cause your body to break down protein for energy and that will result in muscle loss.
Intermittent fasting increases the human growth hormone which helps your muscles to grow. It also helps to conserve muscle glycogen.
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting will not cause muscle loss. Your body automatically turns to fat cells for an alternative energy source. It only breaks down protein after extended fasting periods. This is why IF proposes restricted fasting.
When you have more muscle, your resting metabolic rate increases. This is a pretty significant benefit of intermittent fasting. Metabolic resting rate is responsible for 70 percent of your caloric burn. The higher it is, the more calories you’ll burn.
How to Begin Intermittent Fasting
You can follow these simple steps:
- Consult your doctor
- Select an intermittent fasting method that fits into your daily routine
- Eat nutritious foods
- Stay hydrated
- Be consistent
- Don’t give up too soon
What is Carb Backloading?
Although generally considered similar, carb backloading is quite different from intermittent fasting on its own. However, they are easily combined and work well together.
The basic concept of carb backloading is to eat a light meal in the morning (or skip a meal entirely), and only eat light meals into the afternoon preparing one large feast at night.
The essential goal is carbohydrate backloading is to eat as few carbohydrates as possible early and throughout your day, and only fuel your body with carbs a short-while before sleeping.
For most people who do carb backloading, a common strategy is to eat zero carbohydrates until after your workout in the afternoon around 5 pm.
Carb backloading works by playing to the strengths of our fat and muscle cells. After years of study, it is generally considered a fact that our fat and muscle cells are more sensitive in the morning than they are in the evening.
By consuming carbohydrates later in the evening, your muscle and fat cells will be less sensitive to glucose.
If you choose to eat your carbohydrates later in the evening, excess glucose is absorbed back into the muscles for better performance- rather than fat storage.
Overall, the basic idea is to eat carbs when your body is less likely to store them as fat.
Carb Backloading for People Who Train in the Morning
If you do your weightlifting in the morning, you are going to want to change this concept around a little bit. True carb backloading is not as efficient for people who weight lift in the morning because eating carbohydrates is necessary for post-workout nutrition.
Eating carbohydrates after your workout is necessary so your muscles can recover and refuel for your next workout session.
However, people who do their workout in the morning can still do carb backloading if they are smart about the rest of their diet! One option for post-workout recovery for people who train in the morning is to load up on protein and healthy fats and save their carbohydrates for the evening.
The human body works on a 24-hour clock, and muscle recovery is a 24-hour job. As long as you fuel your body with the proper macro and micro-nutritional nutrients over the course of 24 hours, your body will adapt accordingly!
Using Intermittent Fasting and Carb Backloading Together for Weight Loss
Combining intermittent fasting with carbohydrate backloading is a very effective way to lose weight, and even build muscle.
If you want to combine these two concepts, I suggest you follow the traditional 16/8 split for fasted/fed hours.
After a few weeks of using this diet strategy, I am sure you will be impressed with how well your body handles carbohydrates! This strategy is excellent for people looking to lower or stabilize their blood sugar.
If you are looking for an example of someone (other than myself) who believes in these two fundamental concepts to dieting, one of the biggest proponents of this type of diet in our generation is Herschel Walker.
The former NFL Running Back and athletic legend Herschel Walker has sworn to a diet of one vegetarian meal per day for years. Although this exact diet may not work for most people, this style can certainly benefit anyone who gives it an honest try!
Both of these diet strategies work well for me and are backed by honest science. If you give them a try, I am confident you will appreciate the results!