I first started Intermittent Fasting (IF) completely unintentionally 4 years ago when I was travelling through South America. I was essentially only eating one massive meal per day, at the same time as training hard and going on 6-8 hour hikes up mountains at least once per week.
When I got back from travelling I weighed myself:
- 6% Body Fat
- 72.8kg Muscle Mass
I couldn’t believe how much weight I had lost (I didn’t weigh myself in the same way before I left, but I had always been around 87kg), but at the same time I was more muscular than I ever had been.
Once home and back into my normal eating routine of eating 3 big (low carb) meals per day I quickly put weight back on. I have never had any problems building, or maintaining muscle but I just wasn’t as lean as I was when traveling.
Without planning it and because of the circumstances of traveling through South America I was naturally following a type of IF protocol. After further research I decided to experiment with a daily IF, consisting of at least 16 hour fasts per day.
I thought this may be a struggle, I am someone who has always “needed” to eat breakfast in the mornings. I used to think my whole world would collapse if I didn’t have my eggs in the morning. However, it was surprisingly easy and I got into the swing of it within a few days.
I very quickly started to become leaner and I was visibly losing body fat without losing any muscle mass. To my surprise I was actually less hungry than before. No longer was I constantly thinking about my next meal or worrying if I wasn’t going to have time to have breakfast or lunch.
Added bonus – as well as time, I was saving money! I stopped having to pay to have a substandard, unsatisfying lunch grabbed from whatever was near me in London. When following IF I eat meals at home, where I know I have sourced foods locally and I have the time to prepare and enjoy them.
The most useful benefit I found from IF (aside from fat loss) was the stabilisation of my energy levels. Digestion actually takes up a lot of energy and once you free up that energy, fasting can give you a “buzz””. Before IF I, like most people would start crashing in between breakfast and lunch (even with a low carb diet). Now I am on a constant energy level all day and that’s without any caffeine. I wake up full of energy and that lasts until I go to bed.
This is crucial for me because as a Personal Trainer I have to constantly motivate end energise my clients throughout the day. I regularly have back to back clients from 7am- 4pm. My trainer colleagues think I am crazy when they find out I don’t even have breakfast beforehand and they think there must be something wrong with me. I simply would not be able to do this without IF and not once do I think about food or feel tired throughout the sessions.
After 4 years of constant IF I am, stronger, leaner, faster, healthier, richer, and more time efficient than I’ve ever been. IF is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle that has become a crucial part of my health and fitness journey.