What is Intermittent Fasting?

Plate with food on it and clock hands.

What is intermittent fasting? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. But that answer isn’t helpful. Intermittent fasting, or the active practice of avoiding calories at specific times of the day, has gained popularity in recent years, but what all goes into it, and does it really do anything? The answers to those questions are a little more in-depth and we will provide them below.

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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Many diets will tell you what to eat. The method of intermittent fasting tells you when to eat. The act of fasting, or avoiding all calories for a period of time, is an effective way for your body to burn fat. So, how does it work? Many intermittent fasters designate eight waking hours per day in which they will not eat. Others might simply eat just one meal per day a couple of times each week. After several hours without food, your body exhausts its sugar supply and starts to burn fat instead. This is a normal part of your metabolism. This combined with regular exercise is a great way to expedite weight loss. However, first-timers should be careful and make sure they are still getting a healthy amount of calories and energy each day. Eating too little can be just as bad for your health as being too gluttonous. You should consult your doctor before making any huge changes to your dietary habits.

Intermittent Fasting Plans

The following two plans are among the most common ways to intermittently fast, but there are countless ways you can do it. Chat with one of our personal trainers next time you’re at the gym and they might have their own personal guidelines!

  • Daily approach: eat during one 6-8 hour period every day
  • 5:2 approach: eat normally for five days a week, then restrict yourself to one 500-600 calorie meal the other two days of the week

If you fast for longer periods, say 24, 36, or even 48 hours, you may actually be doing more damage to your body than good. Going too long without eating may train your body to store more fat in response to starvation. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, we recommend one of the two approaches listed above. If you become accustomed to those, then you can consider some other methods.

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