In my last article about intermittent fasting (IF), I gave you a brief primer on the practice. I provided a definition as well as some of the general aspects of practice that are consistent along various types of IF.
To briefly summarize, let's look at what IF is — essentially, abstaining from food for a predetermined period of time, ranging from as little as 16 hours to as long as 36 hours (sometimes longer, but not generally in the fitness industry).
The benefits of IF vary from hormonal management to caloric reduction and decreased hunger (the benefits prioritized will be dependent on what "type" of IF you use).
In this article, I'll give you a complete analysis of the most popular IF styles in the fitness world.
The most obvious difference between each of these methods is the length of the fasting period, and that is how I've organized them.
Great. Let's get going.
Feast/FastThe feast/fast model, which I've been using consistently for close to eight years, is my own small contribution to the fasting community, although its inception had nothing to do with the benefits of fasting.
Some time around 2004, I noticed that while I was getting a ton of benefit from cheat days in terms of fat loss and mental reprieve, the "digestive aftermath" wasn't pleasant. If I cheated on a Sunday, I would pay for it Monday in terms of intestinal distress. Not only would I be in the bathroom more than I wanted, but my stomach would hurt, and eating was a huge chore.
I had come from the old school bodybuilding mentality of, if you fall off the wagon, get right back on, immediately. The old way of thinking essentially stated that even if you had a cheat meal/cheat day and you didn't go back to your regularly scheduled meals, then you'd do more harm than good. In my case, this meant a bowl of oatmeal and several eggs first thing in the morning. After a night of eating pasta, ice cream, brownies, and steak (yes, all at once), the last thing I wanted to do first thing in the morning was eat.
After some time, I discarded the bodybuilding "rules" and started pushing my first meal of the day back by a few hours and then a few more. Eventually, I stopped eating altogether.
And my results got even better.
The BenefitsWhen I started looking into fasting (mainly to justify my not-eating), I came across a few different reasons why the feast/fast worked so well. Some had to do with fasting, obviously, but there is some stuff that has to do specifically with the cheat day as well.
Like any style of fasting, removing food for an extended period of time can lead to fat loss, because it often leads to lower caloric intake. Pretty simple.