The Beginners Guide To Intermittent Fasting: Learn How The Pros Get Ripped Eating 1 Meal A Day

Intermittent fasting ultimate beginners guide

The fitness industry is a strange beast.

It’s sort of hard to understand at first, until you see it for what it really is.

When you try to explain your frustration with fitness to someone else, the only explanation that sort of makes sense is “it’s sort of like an annoying ex you can’t stand, but who is also the super hot girl of your dreams.”

You love her and hate her at the same time.

She told you she loved you but later you found out she’d been lying and cheating on you the whole time.

Sound familiar?

The fitness industry is actually a lot like that sometimes… it least it is in my version of the story.

Want to hear it?

Ok good.

You see, we all pretty much learned about health and fitness the same way.

When you were a kid you probably picked up a fitness magazine and saw Arnold or some other super jacked super hero looking dude on the cover and said “one day I’m going to be just like that guy.”

Later on into early adulthood, you still weren’t as jacked as Arnold (not even close) so you may have taken your quest for gains to the next level and purchased a book about bodybuilding or perhaps an online program.

Fast forward into present day and you probably have a few favorite bodybuilding forums and fitness websites that you visit regularly to get new training and nutrition tips, or perhaps you even joined a premium membership site to get access to even better info.

Moral of the story is, it really doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we all usually learn about lifting and nutrition through the same channels…

…and we have all been indoctrinated with certain falsehoods, “rules” and lies over the years, many of which some of us still cling to till this day.

Of course these “rules” may vary slightly depending which guru, book, or magazine you chose to follow, but most of the commonalities all remain the same.

And I don’t care who you are, how many certs you have, or what level university degree you may have attained, we have all followed these rules at some point in our lifting careers.

Like sheep, we just followed the master without even thinking to question if he was leading us off a cliff. We were all just blindly trusting that our shepherds would lead us to the promised land of big gains and deep cuts.

intermittent fasting results jamin thompson

Unfortunately for us, most of these false leaders had no clue what they were talking about. Or, they were just talking puppets for supplement companies and fitness magazines that were hired to spew propaganda in order to sell certain mainstream products.

Regardless of how it happened, by the time most of us figured out these lies and old wives tales were complete BS it was too late to throw he challenge flag. The bodybuilding and fitness community had already been overrun with lies and they were running up the score.

It wasn’t until it was too late that we found out that many of these myths had no scientific basis whatsoever.

It wasn’t until we had already wasted hundreds of hours in the gym and thousands of dollars on supplements that we realized the “rules” we held so dearly had been spawned from misquoted studies, misinterpreted experiment results, and partial truths of the data.

Here are some classic examples:

1. You need to eat every 2-3 hours to stoke the metabolic fire. As one of the primary laws of bro-science, most gym bros will fight to the death on social media and bodybuilding forums if you even suggest that this myth isn’t a scientific fact.

2. You have to eat 6 meals a day to get jacked. Arguably the strongest bro-science myth of all time, many bros still suffer from a countless array of psychological disorders which stem from the crippling anxiety caused by thinking they will end up failing at fitness if they are only able to eat 5 meals that day.

3. You need to drink protein within 30 minutes of your workout. Most of the world’s leading bro-scientists estimate that this “anabolic window” lasts anywhere between 30 to 120 minutes after your workout.

4. If you fast or go for hours without eating you will go into starvation mode. As one of the fundamental principles of bro-science, most bros will start to feel mentally and physically ill (and cry that they are dying) if they are scheduled to eat at 2pm and it’s 2:06 pm and they haven’t taken a single bite.

5. Skipping breakfast will make you lose gains (or make you fat) depending which bro you ask. Like most bro-scientific theories, it has little to do with solid data or statistical significance, and more to do with what’s popular at the local gym watering hole.

If you’ve been in the game for a while I’m sure you are very familiar with these theories, and most likely believed them to be true at some point.

Science, however, has demonstrated over the years that all of them are for the most part, false.

So how did we all get tricked into believing that these myths were true?

Personally, I think the reasons are simple:

1. Social Conditioning. It usually all starts with the most jacked dude at your gym offering up free lifting advice to any of the underprivileged hardgainers who will listen. These hardgaining (and also hardcutting) bros will take everything the gym hero says as absolute law – and will take his gospel and spread the good new across the lands in various gyms, in online forums, in blog articles, and even in mainstream fitness magazines. If everyone is saying the same thing, it must be true. Right? No need to do your own research or think for yourself. Every bodybuilder, fitness model, gym hero, and regular gym bro are all doing it so it must work great. And this is how bro-science was born.

2. Industry Powers. With a big enough marketing budget and a decent enough propaganda message, you can easily trick people into believing just about anything. As a prime example, it can be very difficult (and also impractical) for most folks to eat 6 or more meals each day – not only is it super expensive, but the cooking and meal prep also takes up a ton of time. The supplement industry, being the marketing geniuses that they are, cleverly came up with marketing campaigns to “fix the problem” that suggested we should all buy their protein shakes, bars, and meal replacement powders to help “keep the metabolic fire burning all day long” and “help prevent catabolism and muscle loss” etc. Bro, we will never have to worry about missing a meal ever again! When you sit down and really think about who stands to benefit the most from the notion that frequent meals provide some sort of an advantage, the clear answer is not you or your wallet.

3. Lack of Education. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I’m a nerd. And not just a regular nerd, a friggin super nerd. I studied economics in college and earned a masters degree. Super boring stuff for most folks, but to me, quantitative analysis is my jam. Relationships between variables? Yes please. Using regression models to prove some clowns research is all wrong? All day son. The problem, however, is that most people don’t have an academic background to know how to properly interpret data, or they really just don’t care (usually it’s a bit of both). The thing is, you really shouldn’t need an advanced degree in order to gain muscle or lose fat correctly, you’re supposed to be able to trust the experts. The problem is, most of these so-called experts are either too lazy to keep up with current research, flat out lying (or only telling you half of the truth) or they really just have no idea what they’re doing. These days you really can’t be sure, but one thing I do know for sure is that the experts can’t always be trusted.

Due to these reasons, many of us have remained stuck doing things one way, the way the so-called experts told us was the right way (but often was the wrong way) for long periods of time.

To make matters worse, we blindly trust these experts… so we don’t take the time to educate ourselves, we don’t test new ideas, we don’t evolve, and this usually results in crappy gains in the gym.

One thing I have learned over the years is that when you are trying to build something great, you’ve got to run tests. This is true in not only in science and engineering, but also in the gym.

I’m not saying you have to turn your basement into a lab and conduct a bunch of weird bodybuilding experiments down there – what I’m saying is that you should start putting these theories to the test. Start testing out new ideas and methods and see if they can help you make better progress in the gym.

These days, I can’t just take what a supplement label or blog article says as fact, I need to run the numbers and test things out for myself and see how they work before coming to any conclusions. I need to put the rah rah to the test.

With that said, you should may want to start running your own tests to see what new (and old) concepts may work best for you. Come up with a method.

If you’re not sure what I mean by method, the basic definition of The Scientific Method may offer some insight into where to start and what to look for.

The Scientific Method: a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.

In English all this basically means is: you identify a problem (i.e. you can’t seem to lose fat), you crunch some numbers, come up with a theory, and then run some experiments to test it out.

This can be used for investigating theories, acquiring new knowledge, correcting/integrating new knowledge, measuring results, etc.

You see, without testing and experimentation, it can be really hard to learn new things, get better, or improve.

With that said, I have been testing out intermittent fasting out on myself off and on for the past 4 or 5 years.

Well actually, I recently discovered that I had been intermittent fasting by accident since I was a little kid, but I’ll get into that story a bit later on.

INTERMITTENT FASTING is one of the hottest and most discussed topics in health and fitness right now. Much like many of the popular diets that came before it (Atkins, Paleo, Keto, etc) it seems to be gaining in popularity every month as more and more people decide to test the waters. However, unlike many of the other popular diets, intermittent fasting is actually more of a lifestyle, and it is growing rapidly despite going against just about everything we thought we knew about nutrition. It essentially challenges every assumption and forces you to eat in a completely opposite way than we have been taught. Despite the contradictions, many people have had a lot of success practicing intermittent fasting – and due to the large number of success stories, countless other have decide to take the plunge into the unknown and see what the buzz is all about.

So What is Intermittent Fasting Exactly?

Intermittent Fasting is an umbrella term for a method of eating that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting.

The easiest way to explain what intermittent fasting actually is, is to break it down into its most simplest form: using alternating periods of not eating (fasting) with times you are allowed to eat (feeding). In essence, you simply alternate a fasting period with a feeding window.

It is not really a “diet” in the conventional sense, but more of an eating pattern. Some people even describe it as a lifestyle.

To break it down in further: it’s a conscious decision to skip certain meals on purpose. Aka a strategy.

The basic premise: to consume your calories during a specific window of the day, and not eat anything else for for the rest of the day.

There are several different intermittent fasting protocols (discussed later in this text) which will help you determine exactly how long your fasting and feeding periods should be.

The primary difference between each method usually comes down to how long the fasting period will be. Depending on the method, the fasting period could be anywhere from 16 to 36 hours.

I know that may sound a bit long, but keep in mind that we all do some sort of fasting, whether you realize it or not.

The term “fasting” simply means “not eating” and the longest stretch most of us go without eating is when we are asleep at night.

I know fasting while you’re sleeping may sound a little bit like cheating but it’s true: any time you’re not eating, you’re fasting.

So when you’re sleeping, you’re fasting. Yep, that 6-10 hours you’re knocked out counts, and without even actually realizing it, you have actually been on a fairly strict fasting regimen your entire life.

You fast for 6-8 hours every day, until your morning meal aka “breakfast” as you are literally breaking your fast from the night before.

I know it may sound crazy but it’s true!

So I Should Skip Breakfast? Isn’t That The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

Back when I was a kid, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) used to tell you that “breakfast was the most important meal of the day”

…everyone from parents to teachers to coaches… and even doctors.

My parents wouldn’t even let me out the door before school without me “providing my body with the energy it needs to succeed.”

Back then, I always hated eating breakfast. My stomach always felt super acidy in the morning and I was rarely hungry…

…but the group of folks I mentioned earlier put the fear of god in me by telling me that if I missed breakfast I wouldn’t get the nutrition I needed and would do bad in school, suck at sports, and grow up to be short, small, and weak.

intermittent fasting athletic performance jamin thompson

Most of us have all been conditioned in this way to a certain extent growing up… and thanks to clever marketing from cereal companies, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has become an absolute rule of law. Never to be challenged. Until now.

Looking back it now I see how silly it all sounds, but I didn’t have the research and science to back up my serial breakfast skipping habits back then (no pun intended).

Ok maybe a little pun.

But I digress…

Long story short, I used to drop my cereal flakes in the air conditioning vent that was on the floor next to my chair at the kitchen table.

Sorry you had to find out this way, Mom.

And I have been skipping breakfast and eating my first meal of the day between noon and 2pm for just about my entire life.

I never did it to be “cutting edge” or “cool”… none of that stuff ever mattered.

Turns out I had a serious stomach condition and the symptoms are usually the worst in the mornings.

Damn.

Maybe I was just listening to my body, huh guys?

Guys…?

Anyways, enough about me, you’re here for answers. You want to know if breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day or if skipping it can be good for you.

The honest answer is, it depends.

You can read study after study on the topic, crunch all of the numbers, and ultimately you’ll find that breakfast is important, but at the end of the day it’s just another meal in your daily meal schedule.

In terms of insulin sensitivity (aka science), eating breakfast early in the morning when you first wake up probably won’t make a big difference compared to eating breakfast at noon.

Keep in mind that there is no perfect plan, no magic bullet. You can still practice some form of fasting and still eat breakfast. Or, you can skip breakfast if that’s what works for you. The key factor is you.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you are trying to lose weight or fat, and assuming you are fasting to lose the weight, the most important thing for you is the length of your fast, not the timing of your meals. Skipping breakfast is just the easiest way to fast for long periods of time.

Won’t I Lose My Gains If I Don’t Eat Every 3 Hours?

I know that the traditional school of thought says:

-Never go more than 3 hours without eating (protein, carbs, and some fat).

-Use protein supplements to make sure you don’t miss meals (2-4 servings per day; 50-150 grams of protein).

-Eat 6 smaller meals every day to stoke the metabolic fire because 3 big meals will make you fat.

I know you have been led to believe that in order to get cut and jacked you have to:

Eat “6 meals a day”, “no carbs after 7 pm”, “taper calories throughout the day”, “never miss breakfast” etc, but the research indicates that these assumptions are all flat out wrong.

intermittent fasting one meal a day jamin thompson workout

Humans have been around for a very long time, and over the course of human history and evolution, we have learned efficient ways to adapt and survive.

You see, back in the day, famine and malnutrition used to be a really big problem. Due to a lack of food, people were forced to go for weeks without eating, and many ended up dying of starvation or a malnutrition related issue.

To help prevent them from starving, however, nature built in a nifty little mechanism that allows the human body to lower the metabolic rate during any period of starving, which actually increased the probability that our ancestors would survive long stretches without food.

Note: when I say starvation I mean people were actually starving and literally dying from hunger. It isn’t the same type of “starving” as when you haven’t eaten for a few hours and start craving snacks or Taco Bell. 

Starving literally means dying from lack of food. No, I don’t mean you’re dying because you haven’t eaten in a few hours, I mean it actually takes a human about 30-40 days to die without food (aka starve to death in real life).

Missing a meal, fasting for 24 hours, or even fasting for several days will not make you starve. It is ridiculous to even suggest it.

Of course I am well aware that many people are afraid to go for long stretches (over 3 hours) without eating because popular bodybuilding and fitness culture has conditioned us to think that “if you miss meals, you’ll enter starvation mode and lose all your muscle.”

However, there is strong scientific evidence out there that suggests this is not completely true… and recent studies have even shown that metabolic rate is not affected until at least 72-96 hours have passed.

Some studies have even shown that metabolic rate can actually increase during short-term fasting (after 36-48 hours) by up to 10 percent.

So what does this all mean?

It means you’re probably safe to go without eating for several days or so without any negative effects on your metabolism. It means that by fasting, you may even see a slight increase in metabolic rate.

However, after several days of not eating, you’d probably start doing more harm than good.

Bottom line, you’re safe to fast for at least 24 hours.

That’s Great But I Need To See More Evidence

I figured you would ask – say no more fam!

It’s no secret that Intermittent Fasting goes against many commonly accepted “truths” of traditional bodybuilding… but here are some new facts to consider based on the science we know now:

MYTH 1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I don’t think there is one single “most important meal of the day.” Every meal you eat should work together synergistically with the other meals you eat to help you achieve your goals.

MYTH 2: You need to eat 6 meals per day to get cut and jacked. Current science tells us that increased meal frequency (i.e. eating 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours) does not always mean better fat loss or weight loss results – that myth was debunked years ago. In fact, in that study, researchers found that a lower (3 meals per day) and higher (6 meals per day) meal frequency made no difference in regards to weight loss. Remember, the research usually doesn’t lie, marketing firms who are trying to sell you expensive supplements and diet plans do. You can still get cut and jacked eating 1-3 meals per day, plus you will feel a lot healthier/energetic because you will allow your digestive system a chance to rest and recover.

MYTH 3: You have to eat 30 grams of protein every 2-3 hours to make gains or get cut. And it can’t be more than 30 grams because humans can’t digest more than that in one sitting, right bro? Look, there are a ton of silly theories floating around in the health and fitness world, but sometimes you hear stuff that is just so friggin dumb you have to take a step back and wonder if what just happened was even real. This one just happens to be one of those things you hear but you can barely wrap your mind around because just thinking about it makes you dumber for even thinking about it. Not only would it have been impossible for our ancestors to eat every 2-3 hours, but how and why would they even bother to measure 30 grams of protein so they could get the ideal ratio for each meal. Do you think they were worrying about a steady supply of amino acids while they were running from dangerous animals and foraging for food to survive? The answer is clearly no in case you are still crunching the numbers. The human body is a highly intelligent, super efficient machine and it is more than capable of going longer than 3 hours without having a breakdown from not getting enough protein. As an added bonus, the human body can also digest large protein meals that are higher than 30 grams as well. It just takes longer to digest and utilize it. Studies have shown it takes around 5 hours to digest a standard meal, and for larger meals (with varying degrees of macronutrient composition) it may take even longer, up to 10 hours or more.

Now I know what you’re thinking…“Jamin, what you’re saying makes sense, but I’ve seen you in the mags. Don’t you follow the same traditional diet plan as most fitness models and bodybuilders?”

intermittent fasting jamin thompson inside fitness magazine italia

That’s actually a very good question if you’re actually asking that question.

As I have mentioned above, I have experimented with many different types of meal plans over the years.

The traditional plan (6 meals a day, eat every 2-3 hours, macros calculated down to the letter) has been the primary plan I have followed for the most part.

But the more I test new things, and the more I learn, the more I find myself incorporating non-traditional techniques into my meal plan to see what improvements can be made.

Fact is, one of the hardest plans to follow when you’re trying to lose fat and get cut is the traditional plan.

Does the traditional plan work though? Sure, it works great.

In 6-12 weeks, depending how much fat you have to lose, you’ll look pretty ripped if you follow the plan correctly.

The problem is, this plan can a real pain in the ass to follow.

You’re usually weak, miserable, and super irritable when you’re on this sort of diet, and I would be lying if I said it was easy to stick with it.

The constant hunger and crazy cravings aside, you’ll often find that your whole life will start to revolve around the diet and when you’re going to eat your next meal.

You are forced to prepare meals in advance and take them everywhere you go in Tupperware containers.

Your social life suffers… and you feel miserable.

Of course some people will say “you’ve got to suffer now to live like a king later” or something along those lines… and that’s partially true.

Sure, you have to work hard for a killer physique, but you don’t have to ruin your health and halfway kill yourself in order to do it.

In my opinion, any diet plan that leaves you famished, weak, and mentally unstable is just flat out unhealthy – in fact, it’s really nothing more than a professionally designed eating disorder disguised as a meal plan.

Here’s a basic overview of the traditional get shredded/lose fat diet:

  1. Run a caloric deficit each day, cut carbs, eliminate fats, and eat very little.
  2. Eat only dry, tasteless, no-sodium added, bland foods like baked tilapia, boiled chicken, and egg whites – along with a boring green veggie like broccoli or asparagus.
  3. Do morning and evening cardio 4 ot 5 times per week.
  4. Pound 1-2 gallons of water each day & constantly run to the bathroom.
  5. Develop irritability and make your friends and loved ones not want to be around you when you inevitably start to feel sick, tired, miserable, and hungry.
  6. Get tired of it all and give up.
  7. Try a brand new plan several weeks or months later and repeat the entire cycle from step one.

Look, nobody can stay on a tilapia and asparagus diet forever… and once you get sick and tired of it you’ll reach for those cookies or chips and BOOM… you can’t stop binge eating. Before you know it you’re bloated, sick, depressed, and left feeling guilty and ashamed.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there myself quite a few times.

intermittent fasting jamin thompson cheat meal

Here are the main problems with traditional “get ripped” or “get jacked” diet plans:

1. Too difficult to follow. Cooking and eating 6 meals per day is a huge pain in the ass… and it’s the number one reason most people fall off the wagon and quit. Who has the time or the energy? Plus the carb cutting is usually a deal breaker for most folks because it always leaves you tired, hungry, and lethargic. Add 1-2 hours of daily cardio on top of that…

2. You’ll get “ripped” but lose too much muscle. Regardless of what some “gurus” tell you, you’ll typically lose a pound of muscle for every 2-3 pounds of fat you lose while trying to lean out… so you’ll be leaner, but have a lot less muscle. Kind of a waste if you ask me.

3. If you’re trying to build muscle you’ll gain 1-2 pounds of fat for every pound of muscle you gain. So you’re basically just getting fatter. Then you have to do the cardio and “fat loss diet” to get ripped after (see point #2 above)… basically leaving you the same size you started in the first place. Lame.

If you’ve followed traditional ‘bodybuilder’ style diet plans in the past you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

But honestly, there’s more to your meal plan than just getting ripped…

As I said earlier, the traditional way (6 small meals a day, protein shakes, low carb or carb cycle) works very well to get ripped… but it often comes at a price. You’re moody, your energy levels are down, you’re hungry and miserable all the time, and it’s generally a huge pain in the ass.

Did I mention it’s a huge pain in the ass?

In my opinion, if a meal plan is designed in a healthy manner, you shouldn’t have to suffer a whole lot while you’re on it… and you should be relatively happy following it.

It should provide you with nourishment, taste good, give you energy, make you stronger, improve your mood, and make you look and feel better overall. It’s not only about getting ripped, it’s about how you feel and what’s going on inside your body.

One of the big reasons I love the concept of intermittent fasting is because it follows a health first, performance second approach. I’ve found this to be a much more sustainable approach in terms of success in the long run.

What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting?

Before we go any further I just want to point out that intermittent fasting is not some brand new best way to lose fat and get ripped.

There are a bunch of different fat loss methods that also work quite well – all I am doing here today is introducing you to a different perspective.

However, I will say that intermittent fasting may offer some additional benefits that many other nutrition plans do not offer.

A few recent studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can help:

1. Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Live Longer

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase a person’s lifespan by up to 30%

Intermittent fasting may improve markers of longevity that could contribute to a longer lifespan. It may also protect the body from disease, which can delay the aging process.

Studies have also shown that intermittent fasting can boost the body’s resistance to stress, which has been associated with increased longevity in humans.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to promote the detoxification of the liver, reduce gut inflammation, and promote the health-span of the nervous system by impacting biological pathways that regulate lifespan.

2. Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Your Health

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of cancer.

Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease; as well as lower blood pressure, increase HDL cholesterol, and lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown in studies to lower IGF-1 and blood glucose levels, which has been associated with a lower risk of cancer.

The results of this study, for example, suggest that fasting before chemotherapy treatment may reduce the side effects. These findings are also supported by another study which used alternate day fasting with cancer patients before chemotherapy and concluded that fasting may result in better cure rates and fewer deaths.

In my humble opinion, there needs to be more research and testing done to determine a relationship between fasting and cancer, but the early reports do look positive.

3. Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Gut Health

Intermittent fasting can reduce gut inflammation and reduce many symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. 

The process of digestion requires a ton of energy and is quite stressful on the body. Intermittent fasting can give the stomach a much needed break from secreting hydrochloric acid and bicarbonate, which will help maintain a healthy gut pH, replenish enzymes, and improve digestion.

Intermittent fasting also gives the pancreas a chance to rest and recover from secreting digestive enzymes and hormones. This much needed break can help replenish enzymes, as well as break down food.

Ghrelin and Motilin, which regulate the digestive tract, are also released during fasting.

Ghrelin is a “hunger hormone” and appetite booster, which is primarily released in the stomach and believed to signal hunger to the brain. It works to ready the body for the incoming nutrients by stimulating gastrointestinal motility and gastric acid secretions.

Studies have shown that ghrelin may have some therapeutic use in gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

4. Intermittent Fasting Protects Against Diseases

Studies have shown that fasting can help protect against diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity in humans.

Fasting can be an effective way to reduce inflammation, boost cellular protection, and promote a healthy immune response.

Periods of fasting have also been associated with and increased resistance to certain bacterial infections and promoting various responses in the brain that suppress inflammation during an infection.

In a comprehensive analysis of several studies on the relationship between fasting and disease, researchers concluded that fasting appears to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

5. Intermittent Fasting Is Easier Than Traditional Dieting

The main reason most diets fail is because they can be overly restrictive and unsustainable to maintain over the long term.

For example, you may have tried going low-carb to shed fat at some point, and it may seem like a very easy thing to do at first. You were probably super motivated to get started and wanted to get some good results…

So why then, when you got a month or so deep into the diet did you find yourself watching Netflix and pounding snacks on the couch at 11pm one night?

If this has ever happened to you, the problem (in my opinion at least) is a very simple one. You see, diets can be very easy in the contemplation, but extremely difficult in the execution. Maintaining a caloric deficit and going hungry for days or weeks at a time can be extremely difficult… and most people eventually cave in.

One of the biggest reasons I suggest intermittent fasting to folks who have failed using the traditional approach is because it works in an opposite way. Intermittent fasting is actually much more difficult in the contemplation but a whole lot easier in the execution.

Now, you may be looking at what your meal schedule may look like on an intermittent fasting plan and say “there’s no way I could go 16, 20, or even 24 hours without eating any food!”

That is definitely a legitimate concern, but the weird thing is, once you get started it is a lot easier than it looks. Especially once you get into the groove and fasting becomes part of your daily or weekly routine.

At the end of the day, however, most people who try fasting usually experience an improved efficiency of metabolism, increased energy,  boost in mood, fewer cravings, and better fat loss results.

intermittent fasting fat loss jamin thompson

So How Do I Get Started With Intermittent Fasting?

If you have been doing your research on Intermittent Fasting (this article is a good start actually) you’ll quickly find that a simple Google search can result in information overload…

…and info overload can often lead to you to becoming overwhelmed with the numerous approaches and opinions out there regarding Intermittent Fasting.

With that said, there is no perfect method or approach to intermittent fasting. You’ve got to find a method that works for you, and just use that.

What worked well for your girlfriend, brother, cousin, mom, or co-worker, or hero at your gym may not work for you – so keep that in mind if you decide to give intermittent fasting a try and it doesn’t go well at first.

Before we jump into the details it’s worth pointing out that the most popular intermittent fasting methods can be grouped into 3 categories: time-restricted feeding, whole day fasting, and alternate day fasting. Here are the breakdowns of the most popular methods to follow:

16/8 Method (aka Leangains)

Overview: Created by Martin Berkhan, 16/8 incorporates a fixed daily fasting period (16 hours) and a shortened window of eating (8 hours). During the eating window, you are allowed to eat as few meals as you’d like, with most people usually choosing 3-4 meals.

Backed with a ton of solid research and testimonials, 16/8 was created specifically for serious lifters who want to get results. Due to the strict recommendations and sophistication of the program, it is arguably the most advanced form of intermittent fasting.

During the fasting period on this plan you will typically eat nothing from dinner the night before until breaking the fast sometime the following late morning or afternoon.

Once the fast is complete, the feeding phase begins. Depending who you ask, this feeding phase can last anywhere from 4-10 hours, but most people find the sweet spot to be in the 8 hour range.

This strategy of fasting/under eating during the day and overfeeding at night allows leptin levels to remain in check while boosting glycogen stores at the same time. This has been shown in studies to significantly improve the body’s fat burning and muscle building response.

Here’s what a sample day looks like for me using the 16/8 method:

On a regular day using 16/8 I typically eat 5 meals. The post-workout meal is at noon, and I’ll have a large overfeeding meal around 7pm. Here’s what a sample day looks like:

Pre-Workout 8am: Coffee, Ritual, Greens Powder, BCAA
Workout 10am: You can download all of my workout routines here.
Meal 1 12pm – 30g protein shake, 1 serving Greens Powder, 6g Omega 3 Fish Oil
Meal 2 2pm – 25g egg white omelette w/ spinach, peppers, onions, 1 serving raw cashews
Meal 3 4:30pm – 8oz bison steak, 2 cups jasmine rice, 2 cups steamed bok choy
Meal 4 7pm – 8oz grilled chicken breast, rosemary roasted potatoes, unlimited green veggies, apple cider vinegar
Meal 5 8pm – 1 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
Bedtime 12am – Bedtime can vary but it is usually between 11pm and 2am
Fast – After meal 5 there is a 16 hour fast until around noon the next day.

Sometimes I will also throw in a homemade protein bar or healthy snack if I get hungry between meals.

Note: I will outline the supplements I use when I fast later in this article. 

Overall, the 16/8 method is a great plan to use if you are a serious lifter, I use it myself (with a few of my own mods) and have had pretty good success with it.

The only main drawback with the 16/8 plan comes from scheduling. Based on my understanding of the method, users typically get the best results if their workouts are performed in a fasted state, and the meal that breaks the fast is eaten immediately after the workout.

For this reason, it may be hard for many folks to stick with this plan, especially during the work week if you have a 9 to 5 job. If you’re at work from 9am to 5pm, for example, the best times for you to train are usually early in the morning before work (6am) or in the early evening (6pm) after work.

Since the 16/8 plan has a 16 hour fasting window that ends with a post workout meal (kicking off an 8 hour feeding window) you may have some issues sticking to the program if you can only hit the gym early morning or early evening.

If you’re a gym early bird your last meal of the day is going to be sometime around 4pm, which for many folks is a dealbreaker.

Not only will it be difficult to get all of your meals in since the feeding window will be your entire work day, but a hard 4pm cutoff time and then 5 or 6 more hours until bedtime could end up turning into a snacking disaster (ask me how I know).

The early evening lifter may find it to be even more challenging.

With that said, there are plenty of folks who have a 9 to 5 job, who workout in the early morning, and are using 16/8 plan with success. I just wanted to let you know what you would have to deal with before you jump in headfirst.

It’s also worth noting that you can start your 8 hour eating period whenever you want, there is no hard science that says one time is better than another.

For example, you can start at 9am and end at 5pm. Or you can start at 2pm and end at 10pm. Just do whatever works for you. Personally, I usually eat my first meal between 12pm-2pm because this works best for me and my schedule.

Also, I don’t always use intermittent fasting every day. Usually I’ll use it later on during the week and on weekends, where it is a bit easier to stick to the plan.

I’ll typically workout anywhere between 10am and 3pm, but sometimes I can’t get to the gym until 10pm or 11pm. My schedule can be a little weird sometimes. For this reason, it really comes down to the day for me.

You may have to make a few mods in order to make whatever style you choose work for you, but as long as you stay within the rules of the particular method that you choose you should be fine.

Pro Tip: experiment with a few different breakfast times to see which one works best for you, your schedule, and your goals. 

Alternate Day Fasting (aka Eat Stop Eat)

Overview: this is essentially a 24 hour fasting period followed by a 24 hour non-fasting period. Using this method you would fast for a full 24 hours, and then eat whatever you want (within reason) the next day.

For example, if your last meal was at 9pm on Sunday, then you would not eat again until Monday at 9pm.

This method is somewhat easier to stick to than the 16/8 method where you have daily restrictions, so if you’re just starting out you may want to try this method first.

The primary benefit of alternate day fasting is that it allows you to reduce overall calorie intake without limiting what you’re allowed to eat – the only restriction is just how often you can eat.

Most people who choose this method generally refer to it as “a lifestyle, not a diet” and incorporate 24 hour fasts into their schedule 1 to 3 times per week.

It’s worth noting that many folks who use this method have had pretty good weight loss results, and most of them all claim that their success is based on the simplicity of the plan.

Instead of following a “diet” with meal prepping, meal scheduling, complicated macro breakdowns and calorie counting, you basically just abstain from food for a full 24 hours.

Case Study: you are a user who usually eats 2,000 calories every day (which amounts to 14,000 calories per week). If you practice alternate day fasting for just two days per week, you would be eating 4,000 less calories that week. Assuming everything else held constant, you would be able to lose approximately 1 pound of fat per week. If you don’t completely blow it on the regular feeding days, you should easily be able to create a fairly large caloric deficit. Add in some weight training and cardio and you should have no problem leaning out.

Now, 24 hours may sound like an awfully long time to go without eating anything, but I have done it before and it isn’t so bad once you get into the swing of it.

On the flip side, if you have any sort of medical problem where not eating for a long stretch can be harmful (i.e. people with low blood sugar) you may want to avoid the 24 hour fast approach.

To learn more about alternate day fasting, be sure to check out Brad Pilon’s incredibly well-researched book “Eat Stop Eat

The 5:2 Ratio

Overview: a modified version of alternate day fasting which allows for you to eat roughly 20-25% of your energy requirements (roughly 500-600 calories) on fasting days.

Whole day fasting plans (i.e. ratio plans) basically consists various ratios of fasting to non-fasting days, with one of the most popular being the 5:2 ratio, where you’re allowed to eat roughly 20-25% of your energy requirements (roughly 400-600 calories) on fasting days. Studies have shown this to be just as effective as doing full fasts, and a lot more sustainable.

While there are many different versions of intermittent fasting, researchers have found that the 5:2 method may be the most sustainable and effective for regular dieters and beginners.

That said, if you think alternate day fasting may work well for you, but you don’t want to fast for a full 24 hours, the 5:2 variation may be exactly what you’re looking for.

The 20 Hour Fast (aka Warrior Diet)

Overview: using this style of intermittent fasting, warriors in training can expect to fast for 20 hours every day and eat one large meal at night within a 4 hour eating window.

As the name suggests, this diet was inspired by the warriors of old – who I might add were total badasses and most certainty did not eat 6 meals a day.

These warriors, ranging from Spartan Warriors to Roman Centurions, typically ate one or two meals each day: a small meal in the morning and a very large meal at night.

To be honest, the fasting phase on this plan isn’t actually a true fast because during that 20 hour period you are allowed to eat a few servings of protein, raw fruit or veggies, or have some fresh juice if you want it.

This approach is more about “undereating” than fasting, but the primary philosophy here is being a nocturnal eater. According to the program creator: humans are inherently programmed for night eating, and eating this way can maximize the fight or flight response to boost energy, alertness, and the fat burning response.

However, despite the fact that this may not be a true fast, it does make “fasting” very simple and this program is very easy to follow and stick with.

Also, much like the fasts outline above (16, 24 hour fasts), you will still be able to get the same hormonal benefits using this method as well. Plus, you will generally eat fewer calories, which should result in weight loss.

The one problem I ran into when following this method (other than being hungry) was that it was difficult to fit all of my daily calories into a single meal.

In order to get all of my calories, this meal had to be HUGE, and it wasn’t easy eating 3,000-4,000 calories of chicken, veggies and rice. It’s a lot easier with a greasy burger and fries.

Of course, some people may like the fact that they can “cheat” and still lose fat but I prefer to keep my diet as clean as possible due to the fact that long term health and longevity are also on my checklist.

Despite a few minor limitations, however, I think this is a fairly solid approach overall so if you’re interested in learning more about The Warrior Diet check it out here.

Note: There is a modified version of The Warrior Diet that recently broke onto the fitness scene. You may have heard this style of fasting called “1 meal a day” as it has been rapidly growing in popularity across social media recently. It is essentially just a modified form of The Warrior Diet with a few modifications to the eating window. 

Feast/Fast

Overview: this practical approach to intermittent fasting broke onto the scene around 2010 (made popular by John Romaniello) and is currently used by many top fitness models to (1) stay lean year round while still enjoying their favorite foods; and (2) to quickly lean out before last minute photo shoots. As the name suggests, this plan alternates between feast days (cheat day) and fast days.

As I’m sure you already know, the digestive aftermath from cheat day can be pretty awful. If you cheat on a Saturday, you could be paying for it all day on Sunday and spend half of the day feeling bloated, gassy, and frequently running to the bathroom.

I’ve been there myself and trust me… it isn’t pretty.

Referring back to the “traditional bodybuilding rules” we discussed earlier, even if you had a cheat day on Saturday and feel like crap on Sunday, the “rules” say you should still go back to your regularly scheduled meals on Sunday morning.

You don’t want to fall off the wagon and lose all your gains, right broski?

So even though your stomach is killing you and you aren’t hungry you “battle through it” because if you don’t you’d be soft, weak and not really a true lifter.

You then painfully swallow a full bowl of oatmeal sludge along with some egg whites, only to make yourself feel worse.

Now, you’re even more bloated, gassy, and miserable than you were before. But gotta get these gains, right babe?

Ask yourself bro… why are you like this?

At some point, you have to start listening to logic (and your body) and throw the ancient rules out the window.

One of the reasons I like the feast/fast method is because it allows for cheat days (what’s not to love), but also because the next day your body is forced to use the caloric overload from the previous cheat day a lot more efficiently due to the fast.

Also, it gives your digestive system a much needed break, and the bathroom aftermath post-cheat day is a lot less intense.

As someone who has stomach issues of my own, I can personally attest that fasting after a big cheat day has saved me a ton of unnecessary intestinal distress.

But I’m sure you’re probably wondering if full cheat days can actually work to your benefit.

In short, yes. They work very well.

Here are a few of the benefits to having a cheat day (according to current science):

1. Increase in 24 Hour Energy Expenditure. Studies have shown that a caloric surplus from a cheat day can cause your body to increase basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 9% above baseline. Some experts have also suggested that an even larger increase is possible.

2. Increase in Leptin Levels. Arguably the most important benefit of them all. Leptin (aka the hormone that controls the rate at which you lose fat) levels drop while you’re in a caloric deficit, and the temporary leptin boost that’s caused by having a cheat day has been shown to create an increased energy expenditure, BMR, and thermogenesis. In layman’s terms, when leptin levels are high, you can lose fat faster. When leptin levels are low, fat loss slows down.

3. Increase in Thyroid Output. When you fast and restrict calories (i.e. create a caloric deficit), the body produces fewer T3 and T4, which are thyroid hormones that help regulate metabolic rate. Strategic cheat days can be used to help increase these hormones.

You see, cheat days aren’t just about taking a “break” from your super serious fat loss plan; they’re actually a useful tool for helping you lose fat.

Remember, a big factor in leptin levels is your energy intake, and having a cheat day (also known as a strategic overfeed) allows you to drastically increase the number of calories you consume, allowing for increased leptin levels.

Bottom line, adding in strategic “overfeeding days” and then following them up with fasting days can create great fat loss results.

With that said, if you’re already using cheat days as part of your fat loss strategy, you can take things a step further by adding in fast days to make all those burgers, fries and chicken wings you eat on cheat day count even more.

Sure, the extended fast will be a challenge at first, but like I pointed out earlier, once you get into the swing of fasting it really isn’t all that bad. I’ve found that the first 3 hours of any fast are usually the hardest but after that you’ll usually start to feel pretty good.

Also, as I have mentioned probably 20 times already (because it is so important): by fasting, you’re giving your digestive system a much needed break, allowing your liver to detoxify, and helping your liver produce more fat burning enzymes.

As an added bonus, you’ll be able to cruise through the fast without losing any muscle because of your elevated leptin levels, thus helping you lose fat while keeping your hard earned gains.

Remember, fasting for an extended period of time (i.e. lowering caloric intake) can result in fat loss, but the feast/fast method takes it a step further by strategically using overfeeding days to boost leptin levels and increase the rate of fat loss.

Also, by fasting the day after the cheat day you can lower the risk of fat gain from any caloric spillover, which means you can stay lean (or get lean) while still enjoying your favorite foods each week.

Pro Tip: I’ve found the feast/fast method to work best on the weekends, especially during football season when I like to eat pizza, burgers, wings, nachos (and just about everything) on game days. Saturday could work well, but I’ve found Sunday’s to be better because (1) it really sucks to fast on Sunday, especially during football season when you’re sitting around smelling food all day; and (2) Monday just seems like a perfect day to start a fast. On Monday’s you usually have a bit more energy, you’re motivated to take on the week, and you’re usually busier than you would be on a Friday, for example, which may take your mind off of the fact that you’re fasting. 

Joel Marion has created a great feast/fast program called The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet that is very easy to follow and also includes intermittent fasting specific workouts designed to help you burn more fat. You can check out Joel’s program here.

So Which Method Should I Use?

Before you decide which system may work best for you, keep in mind that there are specific guidelines regarding nutrition (especially pre- and post-workout nutrition) with each of these, ranging from non-specific (Alternate Day Fasting) to very strict (Leangains).

Since you are a serious lifter (I am assuming you are since you’re still reading), you’ll probably want to choose a method that is tailored around serious strength training – that way you’ll have a good plan for how to properly time your meals, how to cycle your calories, and how to break down your macros to get as strong and as ripped as you possibly can.

intermittent fasting photo shoot jamin thompson

That said, if you’re a serious lifter you’ll probably want to jump right into the Leangains method and skip the others.

However, if you are just getting started lifting/dieting or are on the intermediate level, you may want to start with the 5:2 method or a more customized feast/fast program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Intermittent Fasting

What Fasting Method Should I Use?

There is no simple answer to this question because there are so many different variations included with every style of intermittent fasting. However, I will share the two variations that I have used, and continue to use with success.

On a regular day using 16/8 I typically eat 5 meals. The post-workout meal is at noon, and I’ll have a large overfeeding meal around 7pm. Here’s what a sample day looks like:

Pre-Workout 8am: Coffee, Ritual, Greens Powder, BCAA
Workout 10am: You can download all of my workout routines here.
Meal 1 12pm – 30g protein shake, 1 serving Greens Powder, 6g Omega 3 Fish Oil
Meal 2 2pm – 25g egg white omelette w/ spinach, peppers, onions, 1 serving raw cashews
Meal 3 4:30pm – 8oz bison steak, 2 cups jasmine rice, 2 cups steamed bok choy
Meal 4 7pm – 8oz grilled chicken breast, rosemary roasted potatoes, unlimited green veggies, apple cider vinegar
Meal 5 8pm – 1 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
Bedtime 12am – Bedtime can vary but it is usually between 11pm and 2am
Fast – After meal 5 there is a 16 hour fast until around noon the next day.

Alternatively, let’s say you decide to use the alternate day fast, a typical day using that plan could look like this:

Pre-Workout 5am: Coffee, Ritual, Greens Powder, BCAA
Workout 6am: You can download all of my workout routines here.
Breakfast 8am – 25g egg white omelette w/ spinach, peppers, onions, 1 cup oatmeal
Lunch 12pm – 8oz grilled salmon, 2 cups jasmine rice, 2 cups steamed asparagus
Dinner 4pm – 8oz steak filet, rosemary roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach
Fast – After dinner, you will fast until 4pm the next day.

Using the alternate day fasting method, you will take a full 24 hours off from eating after eating dinner. You can set your fasting schedule however you want, you don’t have to use 4pm as suggested here.

You may want to push your final meal back to 8pm, which may work better for you. Either way, you would skip two meals one day, and take a full 24 hours off from eating.

To simplify it even further, each week you would eat 3 normal meals per day, and then pick 1 or 2 days that week to skip breakfast and lunch. If you can only do an 18 hour fast, or even a 20-22 hour fast, that’s perfectly fine.

Just adjust the fasting windows to suit your needs and see how your body responds. You may have to work your way up to a full 24 hours.

Don’t You Have To Eat Every 3 Hours?

As I mentioned earlier, many studies have shown that increased meal frequency (i.e. eating every 3 hours) does not always mean you will get better fat loss results. In fact, in one study, researchers found that eating 6 meals per day didn’t provide better weight loss results than eating 3 meals per day. Bottom line: eating on a 3 hour schedule can work, but it isn’t a requirement in order to get results.

If I Skip Breakfast I Would Starve. How Do You Do It?

For the record, you don’t technically skip breakfast when you fast. If you are using the popular methods (i.e. 16/8), you just simply push your “breakfast” back later in the day. Instead of looking at breakfast as that meal you eat first thing in the morning, think of it as breaking your fast, or “break fast” to put in simple terms.

Also, instead of eating the traditional “light dinner” that most people have when on a fat loss diet, you will most likely be eating a huge dinner the night before, which will give you a ton of energy to use the next day during the fast.

There Is No Way I Could Fast For A Full 24 Hours. I Would Die!

If you’re thinking this, I just have one word for you: NAH.

To be 100% honest, half of the battle when you’re fasting is mental, and the thing that holds many people back from even trying fasting is that they think it will be too hard.

Is fasting hard? Sure, it can be a little challenging at times, but it isn’t any harder than traditional weight loss diets, in fact, I think it is a whole lot easier.

In my humble opinion, fasting is a lot harder in theory than it is in practice.

Look at it this way, you have already fasted many times, you probably just didn’t realize it. Think about all of those days you slept in on the weekends and ate around noon or 1pm.

Perhaps you ate dinner around 9 or 10 pm, stayed up late and then crashed around 2am. That’s a 13 or 14 hour fast right there, you’d only need to fast for 2 more hours and you’d be good to go on the 16/8 plan. See how easy that was?

To get yourself mentally going though, I’d suggest doing one fast for a long as you can just so you can prove to yourself that you can do it.

Whether it’s a 12, 14, 16, or even a 24 hour fast… just test it out and see how it goes. Either way you’ll learn a lot about yourself and if you’re successful you’ll gain a ton of confidence about what you’re actually capable of.

Do I Have To Fast Every Day For It To Work?

You do not need to fast every day for intermittent fasting to work for you. As mentioned above, there are several different methods of intermittent fating that you can follow, and within each method are several different variations as well. That said, depending on the method/variation you choose, you can fast for 1 day or 7 days. It is completely up to you.

I Have A Chronic Illness Will Intermittent Fasting Help Me?

Like I always say, the first rule of Chronic Illness Club is to always check with your doctor before trying anything crazy.

With that said, if you have a medical issue where not eating for a long stretch can be harmful (i.e. people with low blood sugar) you may want to avoid fasting for long periods of time. At the very least, be sure to check with your doctor… and if you are at risk for adverse effects, try fasting under the supervision of your doctor instead.

I am not a doctor so please don’t take this as legit medical advice, but I have had stomach issues for years and intermittent fasting has helped me a great deal. The reduced stress on your digestive system from just not eating food can provide your body with the energy it needs to battle back against just about any illness, so when I get sick, fasting is usually my go-to strategy to start the healing process.

Where Can I Go To Learn More About Intermittent Fasting?

You can learn a lot about intermittent fasting by reading articles like this one, but the absolute best way to learn about what works best for you is to just experiment and see what happens.

Also, you can take your intermittent fasting education to the next level by using the following highly recommended resources:

Martin Berkhan (the creator of Leangains) has a very comprehensive site that explains his 16/8 method of intermittent fasting. You can check it out here. There is also a pretty hardcore Reddit forum where people ask questions and post their results using the Leangains style of intermittent fasting. You can check out that forum here.

Brad Pilon wrote a great book on intermittent (alternate day) fasting called Eat Stop Eat. This book is incredibly well-researched, and the testimonials on the site speak for themselves. You can check out Eat Stop Eat here.

Joel Marion created a very successful feast/fast program called The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet that is very easy to follow and also includes intermittent fasting specific workouts designed to help you burn more fat. You can check out Joel’s program here.

Ari Hofmekler, creator of The Warrior Diet, created a very simple program that mimics the classical warrior mode of cycling – training and undereating during the day, then eating a large meal at night. You can check out The Warrior Diet here.

Jason Ferruggia, creator of The Renegade Diet, uses a modified form of the 16/8 approach and includes over 10 different meal plan breakdowns and workouts to ensure you find a split that works best for you. You can check out The Renegade Diet here.

What Supplements Should I Take When I Fast?

It doesn’t matter what the topic is, “what supplements should I take” always seems to be the top question every time.

That said, I will outline some of the supplements I have used while fasting that you may find helpful.

Remember, supplements are not essential for your success, but you may find some useful depending on your goals. The ones I have listed are the ones I have used personally or are backed by solid science.

BCAA – I like to use BCAA’s pre-workout and intra-workout whenever I train fasted, or whenever I’m fasting in general. My product of choice is BYLT by Gifted Nutrition. It contains several key ingredients that help with muscle endurance, recovery, and muscle breakdown prevention. Recommended: BYLT

Greens Powder – I have written about the benefits of using greens powders quite a few times, and you can check out one of those articles here. That said, adding a greens powder is a must in my opinion regardless if you’re fasting or not. It’s a great “insurance policy” to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need in order to stay healthy, strong, and keep your fat loss (or muscle gaining) progress on track. Recommended: Superfood Alpha Blend

Fish Oil – The human body cannot produce Omega-3 on its own and the typical diet does not provide the sufficient amount… so it really helps to add in a good Fish Oil supplement and use it daily. Recommended: Omega-3 Concentrated EPA/DHA

Whey Protein – Generally recommended to use before and after you workout. I prefer 1316 Whey by Gifted Nutrition. The Peanut Butter Banana flavor is actually very good. Recommended: 1316 Whey

Caffeine – Many folks drink coffee regularly, but for those of you who don’t, just know that caffeine is a very inexpensive supplement that has thermogenic properties, and is has also been shown in studies to help suppress appetite. Recommended: Mt. Hagen Organic Coffee

Ritual – I like to mix this stuff into my morning coffee for added flavor and to help me get through those rough morning fasts. I’ve found that the blend of ingredients in this unique supplement give my brain a nice “morning boost” to help wake me up, improve performance through the day, and help reduce protein catabolism. In my opinion this product is definitely worth a look if you’re a coffee drinker who is serious about fasting. Recommended: Ritual Morning Biohacking Theorem

Nektar – This is another unique product that I recently started using but have had pretty good results with. It contains 12 ingredients (with studied dosages) that were formulated keep several key internal organs that are important for fat loss and overall health (liver, lungs, heart, and kidneys) working properly. Recommended: Nektar Complete Human Health

Overtraining Solution – Training hard and pushing yourself to the limit is almost essential if you want to maximize results, but in doing this you also suppress your immune system and recovery capacity. This often causes you to recover very slowly after workouts and also increases your chances of getting sick (or feeling blah). I like to take this product after I train and have noticed a big difference in my recovery ability. Recommended: Overtraining Solution

Final Thoughts

There is a bunch of evidence out there that suggests intermittent fasting may be a simpler, much more efficient approach to losing fat than traditional dieting, especially long term.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, however, there is no perfect nutrition plan out there, and intermittent fasting probably won’t be for everyone. You just may not be ready to skip breakfast or not eat for long stretches and that’s perfectly fine.

However, if you have tried the traditional route and that didn’t work for you, perhaps you may want to test out one of the fasting methods outlined in this article and see how well it works for you.

Just choose one you think may work best based on your goals/schedule/etc and test it out for a week or so and see how it goes – just be sure to track everything with a journal.

Things to track: what you ate, what time you ate it, daily fasting schedule, cheat days, supplements used, macros, calories, how x, y, or z made you feel, etc.

After you feel like you have enough data, sit down and go over your results. Then plan your next move and execute.

If the plan you choose works out for you, great. If not, try making a few adjustments and see if they can help improve things – and if intermittent fasting ends up not being for you, at least you can say you gave it your best shot.

Remember, a few days of fasting isn’t going to wipe out all of your gains, nor will it work a miracle to get rid of all your fat.

Your body’s fuel reserves (stored liver glycogen + additional body fat) will be burning throughout the fasting process regardless of whether you are lean or fat.

I know the whole skipping breakfast thing is new and scary, but don’t panic. Just think of it as a personal lab experiment that’s going to help you improve. Think of it as a new strategy that is going to help you burn more fat.

Trust me, if you’re trying to burn more fat, skipping breakfast 1, 2, or even 5 times per week will only help keep you in control of your calories so you can get your body fat down.

At the end of the day, the main goal of health and fitness is actually about “health and fitness” which to me means living a long, healthy life, while also being as naturally strong and jacked as possible. It’s time we stop focusing on short-term gains (fat loss or muscle increases) that are wiped out by long-term losses and medical expenses.

In this new era of health and fitness, we need to start thinking about and prioritizing long term health and crafting our training and nutrition plans to meet those goals.

Remember, food is fuel. Don’t sacrifice it, or abuse it; use it to your advantage. Never partake in unsafe diet practices (severe caloric deficits/surpluses, drugs, extended hours of cardio, lack of rest) just to get ripped for a brief moment. You love yourself more than that. Health and fitness is supposed to be fun, so be sure to enjoy the journey and love the process.

Intermittent fasting may be a lot different that what you’re used to and it probably won’t be easy at first, but give it a shot and you may be pleased with the results.

Thanks for reading – I truly hope these tips work as well for you as well as they have for me over the years. Here’s to your health, and future gains in the gym.

Now it’s your turn: What are you currently doing to improve your health and nutrition right now? Do you know of any great tips I may have missed? If you’ve been using intermittent fasting for a while, what hacks or mods have you used that have worked well for you? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

Jamin Thompson
Over the past 10 years, Jamin Thompson – actor, sport & fitness model, and former world ranked tennis player – has appeared in or on publications such as Men's Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Inside Fitness, Bodybuilding.com; as well as worked as a sponsored athlete for and/or been featured in commercials and print ads for Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, ESPN, Wilson Sporting Goods, Powertec Fitness, Gifted Nutrition and more. Using his real world, in the trenches experience, writes to help others dominate in the gym, on the field, and in life. His book, The 6 Pack Secret, has been sold in over 50 countries and has helped thousands of folks from all walks of life get cut and jacked the healthy way.
Jamin Thompson

@jaminthompson

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2 Responses to The Beginners Guide To Intermittent Fasting: Learn How The Pros Get Ripped Eating 1 Meal A Day

  1. Thomas Jackson October 2, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    Great read, very helpful 🙏🏼

  2. Chris P October 3, 2017 at 12:54 am #

    The broscience part had me dying haha 😂 great write up👌🏼

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