To lose weight, improve your health, and increase your lifespan, you need to reduce your calorie intake, right? “Eat less food” to be healthy. But you already know what happens when you go on a diet (mood swings, irritability, hostility, even depression). Research proves that intermittent fasting has ALL the benefits of dieting—but you still get to eat.
When I first heard about “intermittent fasting” I said “Yeah, right—”
“—just another diet without the ‘diet!’”
But then I saw the research, the studies, what doctors are saying and the experience people have had with fasting and my opinion started to change.
If you’re struggling to stick to a diet, if you want to lose some extra weight, or if you want to live longer, healthier, and with more feel-good hormones and energy—intermittent fasting is worth a try.
The idea is simple enough to understand:
- You only eat for a few hours a day.
- The rest of the day, you “fast” and avoid calories.
- And this creates an entire host of beneficial metabolic responses that speed up your metabolism and trigger fat burning.
Beyond fat loss there are other benefits.
Proponents of intermittent fasting, researchers, doctors, and scientists say that when you stick to a without food during certain, extended hours schedule, your body does much more than melt away fat faster.
There’s plenty of proof to demonstrate:
- Fasting triggers a detoxification process within your body…
- Fasting increases endorphin levels (“feel-good” hormones)…
- Fasting boosts your immune system…
- Fasting improves longevity, increasing life span…
- And much more!
Recent research, published studies, and the experiences of everyone from Silicon Valley Tech Billionaires to everyday people like you and me prove that intermittent fasting is worth considering.
What I’d like to share with you is what it is, how to do it, and the specific benefits intermittent fasting may be able to bring you.
As a quick disclaimer, I am technically a “doctor” (a chiropractic doctor), I’m technically a scientist (with a degree in Biochemistry), and I’m also a personal trainer and coach to MAX Workout Members and subscribers—but, I am not your doctor. So, as always, talk to your doctor before starting a new diet.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk intermittent fasting.
What is “Intermittent Fasting?”
Not so fast.
Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule. It’s a pattern. It’s a way of “gaming” or “hacking” your metabolism to plan meals around the way your body will most favorably process the food you eat.
We’ll talk more about the different strategies, but at the end of the day it’s as simple as this:
It’s about scheduling your meals to make the most of them.
It’s not about what you eat either.
It’s all about when you eat it.
Again, the idea is to “game” your metabolism.
Because scientists have a good understanding of how your metabolism works, how your body makes use of the food you eat, what it does with it, and how it chooses to burn stored fat vs. immediately available glycogen, you can essentially schedule your food intake to put your body’s natural metabolic processes “on your side.”
I’ve heard a lot of who’s who tech gurus call it “biohacking.”
I think that’s a good term for it because you’re basically using your food intake to program HOW you want your body to use that food.
Based on when you eat (not what you eat) you can tell your body:
A. “I Want You to Store This Food As FAT for Later.”
B. “I Want You to Melt the Fat I’ve Stored Right Now.”
If you had a choice, which message would you send your body?
Intermittent fasting allows you to make that choice.
Why Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Let’s talk “mechanism of action” or how it works.
Here are the basic ideas behind why fasting works:
- Your Body ALWAYS Needs Energy (Calories) – To support body function (the energy to move, to keep blood pumping, to keep your liver working, to fuel workouts, walking around, going to work, or just sitting around watching TV), your body needs energy. Calories = Energy.
- Food is One Place to Get Energy – Food contains calories. Calories are energy. When you eat food, insulin levels go up and your body uses energy from the food you are eating.
- Stored Calories (Fat or Glycogen) is Another – When insulin levels fall (when you are not eating) your body uses glycogen (calories stored in your liver) and fat (calories stored in adipose tissue) as energy sources.
- You Can’t Get Energy (Calories) from Both at the Same Time! – Here’s the kicker: Your body can’t simultaneously get energy from food you are eating and stored calories (fat or glycogen).
Most people think that weight loss or fat loss is a “one container” in and out situation.
As in, you have a big “container” that all the calories you eat go into and, later on, you pull those calories back out of that container.
The reality of your energy metabolism is that there are TWO containers you can draw from: Food or Stored Energy.
The “Fed” vs. “Fasted State”
Your Body Can’t be In Both at the Same Time.
These two sources of energy for your body (stored energy vs. energy from food) “pay the energy bill” for your body during two different stages:
- The “Fed State” (Right After You Eat) – For somewhere between 3-5 hours after you eat, your body burns up and uses the calories you consumed to pay your “energy bill,” giving your body the energy it needs to function. During this state, your body is absorbing the food you just ate.
- The “Fasted State” – You enter this state about 8-12 hours after the last food you eat. During the fasted state, your body burns stored energy (fat, glycogen in your liver) to pay your “energy bill.”
The trick is (and the reason fasting works) is that you cannot be in both of these states at the same time.
Are You Ever Naturally in a “Fasted State?”
For people who want to lose weight and melt away stubborn fat, getting to a fasted state is absolutely vital.
Exercise can accelerate your path to a fasted state by burning up your short-term stores of fuel (calories) you take in from food. You’ll hear trainers and fitness gurus talk about “insulin response” from exercise. When you hear them say this, they’ll say “helps get to fat-burning stage faster.” What they are talking about is getting to a fasted state where your body is burning stored energy.
But changing when you eat can get you to a fasted state as well.
Think about this:
If it takes 8-12 hours after eating to enter a fasted state, are you ever in a fasted state yourself?
For most of us, the answer is “no.”
We get 3 meals a day starting with breakfast. Many of us add snacks or eat 4-6 small meals and keep a relatively balanced insulin response, keeping our bodies out of the fasted state.
Because you can only be in ONE STATE at a time – burning either immediately available calories to “pay the energy bill for your body” or burning stored calories, never being in a fasted state means you’ll always have that stubborn fat.
Silicon Valley “Biohackers” are Fasting to Live Longer (They Don’t Even Call it a Diet)
One trend I find fascinating is that many Silicon Valley software engineers and developers working on smart technology to improve lifespan and human health have turned to intermittent fasting as a type of “biohack” to increase longevity.
You might be considering fasting as a way to lose weight.
What these “biohackers” believe (and plenty of research supports this idea) is that intermittent fasting (even just skipping breakfast!) can have an impact on how well you age.
As I get older, this is something I think more and more about.
For me, it’s not about the weight loss. I’m already at a healthy weight. I’m already fit.
Intermittent fasting fascinates me because it also appears to reduce cancer risk, boost your immune system, support cell repair, and much more.
Beyond Weight Loss – “Live Longer” Advantages of a Fasting State
Intermittent fasting studies didn’t begin with “weight loss benefits” as a test topic.
Scientists first started looking at fasting as a way to increase lifespan and understand the biological process of aging.
Up until a few years ago, the majority of studies were conducted on animals—specifically mice and Rhesus monkeys.
Now, scientists have begun more human-based studies and from the results of both types of study believe that with intermittent fasting:
- Your Body Stops Producing Cancer-Linked Hormones and Proteins
- Your Body Takes time to “Repair Cells”
- Your Risk of Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease Decrease
- And Your Immune System Gets Stronger
These are all in addition to all of the health and longevity benefits associated with fat burning and lower weight.
Fasting Works for MAX Workout Members Too (People Like You and Me)
“For me, intermittent fasting was the key that opened the final door to weight loss.”
“I recently lost 40lbs using intermittent fasting and avoiding sugar and processed carbs”
“Easier than a Diet?” And Just as Effective (if Not MORE Effective)?
Why do you think most diets fail?
I think it’s because no one really sticks to a diet—at least not long enough to see results.
Diets are often unrealistic, impossible, filled with foods we hate or difficult to maintain in the long term.
Fasting, on the other hand, is simple.
I’ll explain a few fasting strategies in a moment. But, for the most part, it’s easy to implement.
All you need to do is switch the times you eat and create a period of time where your body can enter a fasted state.
How Do You Do It? What Does a Fasting Schedule Look Like?
There are a TON of books out there and plenty of websites on the subject.
What I see from research studies and publications are 4 basic techniques for implementing intermittent fasting:
Daily Time Restricted Eating:
With this method, you choose 6-8 hours a day to eat. The other hours, you don’t eat or you sleep.
Here’s an example:
- Sleeping from 12 AM to 8 AM (Not Eating)
- Fasting from 8 AM to 1 PM
- You Can Eat from 1 PM to 7 PM
- Fasting from 7 PM to 12 AM
- Repeat Every Day
There are no special calorie considerations. You should pay attention to what you eat (as always), but the primary consideration is WHEN you eat.
Alternating Fast Days
Several research studies support the effectiveness of this approach, using longer periods of not eating (fasting) on alternate days.
The idea is to maximize your fast every other day.
Here is an example:
- Monday – Eat as normal
- Tuesday – Only Eat from 8PM to 12AM
- Wednesday – Eat as normal
- Thursday - Only Eat from 8PM to 12AM
- Friday – Eat as normal
- Saturday - Only Eat from 8PM to 12AM
- Sunday – Eat as normal
Notice how the fasting state is prolonged as long as possible by keeping the eating hours late in the day.
Once a Week Fasting
- This technique uses either the same principle as above OR a complete calorie restriction (no eating) once a week.
The “Daniel Fast”
- Because fasting is rooted in many religious practices, some intermittent fasting techniques use religious texts as fasting guides. One diet in particular, called the “Daniel Fast” is based on eating patterns from the biblical Book of Daniel.
There are many other techniques, but these basics should get you started.
The idea is simple. If you need a book or a guide, there are plenty of researched examples out there.
Just keep mind that there are drawbacks to fasting and it's not for everyone. But it can be a good arsenal to have if you've stalled on your weight loss journey.