It Might Be for You!
As a fitness trainer who is aging, I am constantly looking for hacks to keep my body as healthy and young as possible. I recommend Intermittent Fasting (IF) to shake up your routine.
IF is not new. The practice has been around for years but has gained popularity recently. IF offers multiple benefits to fitness enthusiasts. It’s not complicated, can improve your metabolism, reduce sugar and snack cravings, and enhance the fat-burning process.
History shows that eating frequently was often not an option for hunters and gatherers. In modern times, we keep eating throughout the day without giving the body enough time to burn the fat. During IF, you focus on consuming healthy (nutrient-dense) calories with an emphasis on proteins.
There are many popular ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most popular is the 16:8 method. This method encourages fasting for 16 hours of the day with an eating period of eight hours. Taylor Domann, a registered dietitian at Rise Fitness + Adventure, suggests starting with a schedule that is realistic for you. “Everybody is different and to achieve success with IF you must work within your schedule.” Taylor also recommends that you stay well hydrated during your fasting hours with non-caloric fluids. This includes water, coffee, herbal teas, bone broth, and non-caloric energy drinks.
During your eight-hour eating window it is recommend you eat slowly and frequently. Domann suggests eating every two to three hours so you can get your calories in. She also reminds us: this eating plan is not for everyone—especially those with pre-existing health conditions—and you should always talk to your primary healthcare provider before starting a new diet.
There are several evidence-based benefits of IF:
Can help you lose weight. IF results in eating fewer meals, most likely eating fewer calories. Additionally, IF enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss. As a result, short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn even more calories.1
Changes the function of cells, hormones, and genes. When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body:
→ Blood levels of insulin lower significantly, which helps to burn fat.2
→ Blood levels of human growth hormone (HGH) may increase. Higher levels of HGH encourage fat burning and muscle gain..3
→ The body promotes cellular repair, such as removing waste material from cells.4
→ There are beneficial changes in certain genes related to longevity and protection against disease.4
Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Several studies show that IF may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress which is one of the steps toward aging and other chronic diseases. Other studies show that IF helps fight inflammation.5
Promotes various cellular repair processes. When we fast, the cells in the body begin a “waste removal” process called autophagy (breaking down dysfunctional proteins that build up in the cells over time). Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.6
Improves brain health. IF improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health. Several studies in rats and mice show that IF increases the growth of new nerve cells, which benefits brain function.7
May extend your lifespan. One of the most exciting things coming out of research is the ability to extend our lives. In some of the studies, the effects were dramatic. In one study, rats that fasted every other day lived 83 percent longer than rats which didn’t fast.
Given the known benefits for metabolism and other health markers, it shows promise that IF could help you live a longer and healthier life.8
The bottom line—IF has been demonstrated to increase muscle mass and burn body fat. It activates systems in your body to help the production of HGH to aid in bone and muscle growth. Not only does it help reshape your body, but it may also protect against certain diseases and increase your lifespan.
Before trying IF, be sure to consult with your physician to see if it might be right for you. If you decide to give it a try, I would love to hear from you! ▼
Jon Adler Kaplan is a Health Coach and Fitness Trainer both virtually and at Rise Fitness and Adventure. Email Jon with any fitness questions at email@example.com.
1 Varady, Krista A et al. “Clinical application of intermittent fasting for weight loss: progress and future directions.” Nature reviews. Endocrinology vol. 18,5 (2022): 309-321. doi:10.1038/s41574-022-00638-x
2 Park, Sunmin et al. “Intermittent fasting reduces body fat but exacerbates hepatic insulin resistance in young rats regardless of high protein and fat diets.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry vol. 40 (2017): 14-22. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.10.003
3 Nakajima, M. Nihon Naibunpi Gakkai zasshi vol. 47,8 (1971): 550-60. doi:10.1507/endocrine1927.47.8_550
4 Mattson, Mark P et al. “Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes.” Ageing research reviews vol. 39 (2017): 46-58. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2016.10.005
5 Dong, Tiffany A et al. “Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern?.” The American journal of medicine vol. 133,8 (2020): 901-907. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030
6 Antunes, Fernanda et al. “Autophagy and intermittent fasting: the connection for cancer therapy?.” Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil) vol. 73, suppl 1 e814s. 10 Dec. 2018, doi:10.6061/clinics/2018/e814s
7 Gudden, Jip et al. “The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function.” Nutrients vol. 13,9 3166. 10 Sep. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13093166
8 Mehta, Linda Hotchkiss, and George S Roth. “Caloric restriction and longevity: the science and the ascetic experience.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences vol. 1172 (2009): 28-33. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04409.x