Intermittent fasting is an appealing feeding pattern for human health and longevity; in fact, "IF" is very much the "primal" way of dieting, as opposed to the graze-all-day approach many people take.
Be wary though, there is a point where you can take the intermittent fasting approach a bit too far. Per example, for building muscle and staying lean, it appears that the "alternate-day" form of intermittent fasting is not the way to go.
However, short phases of fasting (generally from 12-16 hours of no calorie intake) do have therapeutic advantages, such as enhancing insulin sensitivity, balancing blood sugar levels, increasing growth hormone secretion, and more.
However, research suggests that extended periods of food abstinence (such as fasting for 24+ hours) may do the inverse. It's necessary to keep in mind that alternate-day fasting diet plans "work" for weight loss generally because they greatly lower total calorie intake over time.
Let’s be honest, making up two days worth of eating in one day, repeatedly over time, is tough to do.
So what exactly does intermittent fasting (IF) entail, then? Why is it a great way of eating for business professionals and people who are generally busy during the day?
Read on as this article details everything you need to know about IF and how to use it to get lean and be more productive!
When we talk about IF, we are referring to short/“intermittent” periods of time where you consume no calorie-containing nutrients (with few exceptions we will touch on later).
Physiologically, true fasting doesn’t take place until you’ve gone about 12 hours without consuming any energy/calories, and the benefits of fasting appear to reach their endpoint once you have gone 20-22 hours without eating.
While many people think that fasting is inherently detrimental to their health and well-being, research findings show that it’s actually quite beneficial for healthy aging and metabolic rate in the long-term.
In short: No, you will not lose much muscle (if any at all) while intermittent fasting. Remember, even if you’re not grazing on protein around the clock, like many nutrition “gurus” advise, you will not enter “catabolic mode” in such a short timeframe.
In fact, only extensive fasting periods (i.e. 24 or more hours) appear to cause significant reductions in metabolic rate (and break down of muscle tissue for energy), which is only natural for survival purposes.
Muscle catabolism in shorter fasting phases is minimal. This is why it’s best to keep your fasting periods short but frequent (e.g. daily for no more than 20 hours per day).
At its core, intermittent fasting is simply a pattern of eating where a person just eats in a specific timeframe and spends the remainder of the day abstaining from food (and anything consisting of calories). For example, if you follow an 18:6 IF schedule, your day might look like this:
*Begin eating phase
*End eating phase
Thus, your feeding window is approximately six hours, meaning the other 18 hours of the day are spent avoiding calorie-containing foods/drinks. Keep in mind you will be asleep for a majority of the fasting period, making the process quite a bit easier than it seems.
Also, note that you may consume small amounts of low-calorie liquids while you are fasting; this includes things like sugar-free flavored water, black coffee, tea, etc.
Step 1: Set Your Fasting and Feeding Timeframes
As mentioned earlier in this post, the fasting window should ideally be around 16 hours. Some individuals may need to change it a couple of hours shorter or longer depending upon their objective and lifestyle/schedule.
Here is an intermittent fasting structure recommendation for freeing up time and helping you get lean:
Step 2: Split Up Your Macronutrient Intake Accordingly
There are no hard guidelines for how you portion out your macronutrients, but it is ideal to consume most of your carbs after training and/or in the first meal of your day.
For example, if you hit the gym towards the end of your fasting phase, then your first meal of the day should be a bit higher in carbs and a little lower in fat while consisting of a generous quantity of protein. Aside from that, IF is pretty straightforward. Simply consume complete meals and do not skimp on your protein intake.
Step 3: Stay Hydrated During Your Fasting Period!
IF is not meant to dehydrate you and consuming ample liquid is key for supporting your focus and cognitive function throughout the day. Water and coffee or tea are the best options during the fasting phase, but be careful - caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic.
Step 4: Use Nootropics to Boost Productivity and Mood During the Fasting Phase
Nootropics can be a great way to keep your mind on-task and off of food during the fasting period. An effective combo to keep you going through the day is one serving (each) of CAFFEINE L-THEANINE and AMBITION™, taken shortly after you wake up and begin your fasting phase.
Intermittent fasting is a great lifestyle for getting lean and freeing up your time. This way of eating is perfect for busy folks and business professionals who simply don’t have time during the day to sit down and eat.
The initial hunger pangs while fasting can be easily dealt with by using nootropics that keep your mind focused and dialed-in. Before you know it, you’ll be melting off fat and getting more done throughout the day!
 Horne, B. D., Muhlestein, J. B., & Anderson, J. L. (2015). Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 102(2), 464-470.
 Harvie, M., & Howell, A. (2017). Potential benefits and harms of intermittent energy restriction and intermittent fasting amongst obese, overweight and normal weight subjects—a narrative review of human and animal evidence. Behavioral Sciences, 7(1), 4.
 de Azevedo, F. R., Ikeoka, D., & Caramelli, B. (2013). Effects of intermittent fasting on metabolism in men. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira (English Edition), 59(2), 167-173.
 Wassner, S. J., Orloff, S. H. E. L. D. O. N., & Holliday, M. A. (1977). Protein degradation in muscle: response to feeding and fasting in growing rats. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 233(2), E119.