Let's start by saying that intermittent fasting is not for everyone. We get that. This said, some of the people who have decided not to give this fat-blasting eating paradigm a try have done so because they've bought into the many myths about intermittent fasting.
We can't blame them for having these misconceptions. Intermittent fasting is a very simple concept but the basic tenets of fasting can be muddled by conflicting information about what constitutes a "good diet."
And the word "diet" is behind one of the most common myths about intermittent fasting, so let’s get into them now.
Here is one of our main Trainers, the incredible Sean Light, before and after intermittent fasting:
5 Myths About Intermittent Fasting, Debunked
1. Intermittent Fasting is a Diet.
Nope. Intermittent fasting is not a diet. The term diet as used today refers to food restrictions: no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, no meat, no FODMAPS—and so on.
Diets also often limit the amounts you eat, with a strong focus on points or calories. The thing about intermittent fasting is that there are no food restrictions. None whatsoever. You can eat carbs and sugar and steak and cheese and whatever you want, if you want.
Without a doubt, you should do your best to eat a balanced diet and have some general idea of how many macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein) you should eat every day to support a strong, thriving body and brain, but you can eat the typically "forbidden" food groups too.
Learn more: Macro-Measuring Made Easy.
This lack of restriction on what you can eat makes intermittent fasting perfect for people who want to have their cake and eat it too.
2. You Have to Fast 16/8.
Yes, most intermittent fasting does follow a 16/8 schedule, meaning you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours. While this fasting and feeding schedule is popular, it is not the only one. Many people do 14-hour fasts and 10 hour feeds with great success. Other people do 16/8 or 14/10 most of the time but do 18/6 or even 20/4 once a week or two.
The key is finding what works for you.
We generally recommend 16/8, but you can see benefits with as little as 14 hours of fasting. It takes 8-12 hours from when you finished swallowing the last mouthful of your last meal for your body to enter a fasted state. At this point, your insulin is at its lowest point and will start torching fat. So, you want to give your body a few hours of prime fat-burning time before you enter your fed state again. Whether that's 14 or 16 or more is up to you and what feels right for your body and brain.
3. You Will Be Starving.
Remember what we said: intermittent fasting isn't about restricting your food. The only thing you are restricting is when you eat that food. Within your feeding window, you need to be eating everything you should eat in a day to support a healthy body.
One of the most common pieces of feedback we get from people who have downloaded Fast & Furiously Fit ebook and started fasting is that they feel like they never stop eating during their feeding window—and if you're doing it right, prioritizing healthy, nourishing foods over processed foods, that's exactly what it will feel like. After all, you can eat way more whole food than junk food to reach the same calorie level.
For instance, 20 jelly beans or one apple and have the same amount of calories, but the jelly beans won't keep you full as long and will cause your insulin to spike, making you crave more sweets. The apple, on the other hand, is full of nutrients and fibre and slower releasing natural sugar so you won't have cravings and will stay satiated for longer.
Again, this doesn't mean you can't eat the jelly beans—you can—it only means that you should be opting for the apple more often.
You’ll Have No Energy for Your Workouts.
If you have no energy for your workouts—fasting or not—you’re not fueling your body correctly. You need to make your nutrition a priority. Grab our Fast & Furiously Fit ebook to ensure you have your nutrition nailed down before you start smashing out workouts.
This said, one of the best workouts for intermittent fasting has been shown to be shorter sessions of high-intensity interval training. 20-30 minutes is enough—great news for people who don’t want to spend hours at the gym.
5. You Have to Fast Every Day.
Many of our BodyRock Trainers intermittent fast and will attest to the fact that you do not have to fast every single day to see results. While being consistent is always key to seeing results, if you don’t fast once a week or so, it’s not going to derail your success. If, however, you only fast a day or two a week, you’ll see slow, almost negligible results.
Who Should NOT Intermittent Fast
Despite all the incredible benefits brought on by intermittent fasting, there are some people who should abstain from the practice as a lifestyle choice due to their more complex energy requirements. These people include:
- Pregnant women
- Nursing women
- Women in early postpartum
While everyone should consult with their healthcare provider before beginning intermittent fasting (or any change to diet or exercise), there are some people who absolutely need to be cleared. These people include:
- Those with gout
- Those taking medications
- Those with GERD
Granted, intermittent fasting may actually help alleviate some of these conditions mentioned, but you should still seek the opinion of a medical professional before you take on intermittent fasting.
Myths About Fasting Playlist
Are you a subscriber to BR+ already? Press PLAY and jump into this playlist we've developed for anyone who's ready to give intermittent fasting a shot.