Welcome to Intermittent Fasting 101. This is a primer, or guide for the setup that I personally use for Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss.
Here is the extremely basic summary of how it works:
* On training days, eat 9 hours of the day and fast the remaining 15.
* On off or cardio days, eat 6 hours of the day and fast the remaining 18.
* Weight training 3 days per week
* Cardio 2-4 times per week
* Eat maintenance + 500 calories on weight training days
* Eat 50% of maintenance on other days
* Majority of carbohydrate intake is on weight training days
Again, this plan is specific to fat loss. Plans for mass gain (bulking) and maintenance will be coming soon. Now for the detailed explanation of:
How to set up an Intermittent Fasting Diet for Fat Loss
Establishing Eating / Fasting Times
The time of day in which you eat depends on if you are lifting weights that day, or not. On lifting days, your eating window is 9 hours and on off or cardio days, its 6 hours. You will need to be able to weight train and do cardio at the same time of day, as this will throw off the schedule.
Eating schedule for weight training days
The fast is broken by a pre-workout shake, 15-30 minutes before you being your workout and lasts for 9 hours. For example, since I workout at 1pm, my eating window begins at 12:30 pm and lasts until 9:30 pm. This can be inconvenient if you workout at say, 8pm, so I feel weightlifting at lunchtime or in the morning works best.
Next, we will look at setting up a schedule for off days or cardio days.
Eating schedule for off or cardio days
The fast is broken an hour after cardio is complete and lasts for 6 hours. In my case, I do cardio at 1pm, so my fast is broken at 3pm. It remains 3pm on off days.
Since I train Monday/Wednesday/Friday, the big picture looks like this:
Monday: Fast ends at 12:30pm and begins at 9:30pm
Tuesday: Fast ends at 3:00pm and begins at 9:00pm
Wednesday: Fast ends at 12:30pm and begins at 9:30pm
Thursday: Fast ends at 3:00pm and begins at 9:00pm
Friday: Fast ends at 12:30pm and begins at 9:30pm
Saturday: Fast ends at 3:00pm and begins at 9:00pm
Sunday: Fast ends at 3:00pm and begins at 9:00pm
Determining Calories / Macronutrient Amounts:
Now that you have set up your eating / fasting schedule, it’s time to figure out how many calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein you will be eating. I realize that this might seem overwhelming at first, with all the math, but once you initially establish your requirements, it’s really quite easy and routine.
Calories needed for Fat Loss
Caloric requirements depend if it is a weight training day or an off/cardio only day.
To determine calories needed for fat loss, you must first determine the calories needed for maintenance. The easiest way to get an estimate is to multiply your weight in pounds by 15. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, the total calories needed for maintenance would be 3000 calories per day.
Calorie requirements for weight training days:
To determine calories on weight training days, take the amount of maintenance calories and add 500 to it. So for our 200 lb person, they would be eating 3500 calories on days that they lift.
Calorie requirements for off or cardio days:
To determine calories needed for off or cardio days, simply divide your maintenance calories in half. So for off or cardio days, our 200 lb person would be eating 1500 calories per day.
Now that your calorie requirements for fat loss have been determined, it’s time to figure out how much of each macronutrient you will be needing. The amounts will vary on if you are weight training that day or not.The macronutrients we will be using, will be the big three:
(Be sure to remember that fat has 9 calories per gram and protein and carbs each have 4 calories per gram.)
Macronutrient breakdown for weight training days:
The maximum amount of fat eaten per day is 30 Grams. It doesn’t matter where the fat comes from, as long as 10 of these grams are in the form of Omega-3 Fish Oil.
To determine the minimum amount of protein per day, you multiply your weight by 1.25. Our 200 lb person will need a minimum of 250g of protein to preserve muscle. Sources don’t really matter, just be sure to be mindful that you don’t exceed the fat limit. Chicken, very lean red meat, fat free cheese and protein powder (whey or casein) are excellent choices.
Carbohydrates make up the remaining calories in your diet. Once again, sources don’t matter, just be sure not to exceed the 30g fat limit and be you want to keep sugar below 100 grams. So in our sample person, he is getting 270 calories from fat and 1000 calories from protein. With the caloric goal on lifting days being 3500, that leaves him with 2230 calories left for carbs. Divide 2230 by 4 and you come up with a maximum carbohydrate amount of ~558 grams.
Macronutrient breakdown for non-lifting or cardio days:
As I mentioned earlier, calories needed for days that you don’t weight train or do cardio are 1/2 of what your maintenance calories are. Here is the macronutrient breakdown:
Again, the amount of fat is unchanged from training days. The maximum amount of fat eaten per day is 30 Grams. It doesn’t matter where the fat comes from, as long as 10 of these grams are in the form of Omega-3 Fish Oil.
On rest days or cardio only days, carbohydrate sources should only come from fibrous green vegetables and the trace amounts found in your protein sources, such as whey and cheese. The maximum amount per day should not exceed 20 grams.
The minimum amount of protein is your weight in pounds x 1.25. For our sample person requiring 1500 calories per day, he would be getting 270 calories from fat, 80 calories from carbohydrates and the remaining 1150 calories from protein. That would equal to ~287.5 grams.
Diet for Weight Training Days
Weight training will be a 3 day a week, full body routine. I personally use Monday-Wednesday-Friday, but the days are up to you, as long as there is a day off between workouts. Keep reading for my workout recommendation.
On training days, the fast is broken with a whey protein/carb shake, 15-30 minutes before your workout begins.
I suggest a mix of simple carbs and whey protein.
Protein =.25g/lb x weight Carbs =.25g/lb x weight
Gatorade powder (not the pre-made liquid form) or a maltodextrine/dextrose blend is my pre-workout carb of choice. Keep fat to a minimum here.
Within 30 minutes of your workout, you have another shake, but this time, use a whey + casein/dextrose mix.
Protein =.25g/lb x weight Carbs =.50g/lb x weight
The Rest of the day
Your first solid food meal of the day is 1 hour after your PWO shake. This will be the biggest meal of the day. Remaining meal times are up to you, but I recommend tapering your calories down until your last meal. Remember, with Intermittent Fasting, you don’t need to eat every 2-3 hours. Just make sure that you meet your caloric/macronutrient goals. I do however, recommend a casein shake right before the eating period is over. Since it’s a slow digesting protein, it will help keep you full longer.
Diet for Off or Cardio Days
Since calories are greatly reduced on off or cardio days, the eating window is shorter. It works best to have 2-3 good size meals, rather than the 6-7 you read about in muscle mags.
On cardio days, the fast is broken with a 50g protein shake, 1 hour after cardio is complete. Two hours after the shake, have your first “real” meal and continue until the 6 hours are up. As I mentioned earlier, carbs are limited to 20 per day and should consist of fibrous green vegetables and the trace amounts in food.
Intermittent Fasting Diet Weight Training Routine
Weight training is a full body 3 day routine. Again, exact days don’t really matter, but make sure you have a day off in between workouts.You will be working the large muscles only (legs, back, chest) on days 1 and 2 and will add in the smaller muscles arms/calves) on day 3. You will do 4 sets of 6-8 reps for each large muscle and 2-3 sets of 8-12 for the smaller ones.
Here is a sample workout routine:
Day 1: Push
Flat Bench Press / Shoulder Press / Leg Press / Weighted Crunches
Day 2: Pull
Rows / Chinups / Hamstring Curl
Day 3: Push/Pull
Incline Bench Press / Rows / Squats / Calf Raises / Lateral Raise / Barbell Curl / Tricep Pushdown / Lateral Raise / Back Extensions / Weighted Crunches
For maximum fat loss, cardio should be down 2-3 times per week. Start with a 5 minute warm up and then begin 10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. This works best on an elliptical or a spin bike, instead of a treadmill. You will do this in 1 minute intervals. Max intensity for 1 minute, followed by a moderate pace for 1 minute. Repeat until 10 minutes are up. After the HIIT session is over, drink some water and rest for 5 minutes. After your rest, do 30 minutes of Low to Moderate Intensity, Steady State Cardio. A treadmill works great for this. Don’t forget to wait an hour and have your 50g of protein.