The right way to Select the Proper Intermittent Quick to Match Your Targets

In a 2020 survey, 24 percent of US adults said they had tried intermittent fasting (IF) for weight loss, making it the most popular “diet” in the US. Judging by the countless headlines on fasting we’ve seen in more recent years, it’s safe to say that percentage has risen.

In addition to being an effective weight loss strategy, fasting produces a host of health benefits ranging from increased muscle growth to boosting immune function and mood. With those benefits (and results), it’s no wonder the act of fasting has become so popular, or should I say, made a serious comeback.

“There are so many benefits to fasting; It’s amazing how much you can upgrade your body and brain, all from something as simple as skipping a meal or two,” shares Dr. Mindy Pelz, author of Fast Like a Girl.

“Fasting improves insulin sensitivity, burns fat, decreases inflammation, enhances brain function, triggers autophagy (that’s when your body replaces damaged cells with new versions), slows down aging; The list keeps going.”

Although fasting produces amazing health benefits for men and women alike, when it comes to gender and lifestyle factors, fasting methods may need to be slightly personalized.

Here, Dr. Pelz covers how fasting, although beneficial, is a personalized practice.

7 Common Fasting Methods

First, Dr. Pelz points out there is no best way to fast, “It all depends on what works for you” However, she does further explain that the benefits of fasting start to kick in when you go 16 hours without food. This may be why the 16/8 fasting method seems to take rank.

Here are more (but not all) fasting techniques:

  • 16/8 fasting: 16 hours without eating and have all your food for the day in an 8-hour window (say, from 12-8 p.m.).
  • 20/4 fasting: 20 hours without eating, 4 hours of eating. (For example, consuming all meals between 4-8 p.m.)
  • OMAD: One meal a day.
  • 14/10 fasting: 14 hours without eating, 10 hours of eating
  • 18/6 fasting: 18 hours without food, 6 hours of eating
  • Water fasting: Only consuming water for 24 to 72 hours.
  • Eat Stop Eat: This fasting method involves two non-consecutive 24-hour fasts per week. (n this doesn’t mean two consecutive days of not eating but rather, it means two days where you have one meal before fasting for the next 24 hours.

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Should Men and Women Fast Differently?

We know that both men and women experience health benefits from fasting. However, since men and women are biologically different, Pelz feels a few tweaks need to be made.

For men, fasting is pretty straightforward and they pretty much get the green light when it comes to fasting. “Men’s hormones are so stable that they can fast daily throughout the month, with as much or as little variation as they want,” Pelz explains. Women, on the other hand, need to proceed with caution during certain times of the month.

For women, Dr. Pelz explains the importance of timing your fasts with your monthly cycle. “Fasting is fine for most of the month, but you want to avoid fasting in your luteal phase, which is the 7-10 days before your period.” During this time, Dr. Pelz encourages women to take it easy on their bodies and to avoid doing anything too stressful.

To make it simple: Ladies, fast for the first 20 days of your cycle, and feast for the last 10. “There’s a little more nuance, but that’s a good rule of thumb to get started.”

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Should Athletes Exercise While Fasting?

When it comes to athletes, Dr. Pelz feels this one is a personal preference, as a lot of factors depend on the type of workouts utilized during fasting.

For example, a lot of Dr. Pelz’s clients enjoy doing endurance training while fasting; Swimming, cycling, distance running, and yoga and they all do well.

“However, if you’re fasting while doing something that combines endurance and power, like high-intensity interval training or a CrossFit-style workout, you may find you hit a wall halfway through the session and run out of energy,” explains Dr. Pelz.

If that’s the case for you, Dr. Pelz recommends you have to consume some complex carbs before you work out. “The same may be true for sports that involve continuous baseline effort over time punctuated with bouts of high intensity, like soccer.”

On the other hand, Dr. Pelz explains you may not experience any issues with fasted training.

“I’ve worked with people who can do any kind of workout fasted, and actually perform better than they do if they eat beforehand.” Case in point, fasting is a personal experience and the best way to figure out what works for you is to experiment with fasted vs non-fasted workouts and see how you feel.

Final Fasting Thoughts

Fasting has been utilized for thousands of years and has been shown to provide the body with a host of excellent benefits. Although genetics and lifestyle factors may shift the way you fast, the best thing you can do is give fasting a try and see how your body responds.

Once you figure out what method works best for you, making it a regular discipline in your life will produce lifelong benefits that your body and mind will thank you for!

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