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Intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting

Do not fear catabolic hunger. Hunger is not your enemy. Fitness model Jeremy Scott talks about the three basic mistakes that beginners often make with intermittent fasting.

Since I started practicing Intermittent Fasting, I no longer eat a traditional breakfast or anything else before 11am.

Over the past few years, I have worked with numerous people who wanted to try Intermittent Fasting. They practiced this diet in different ways. Some have shared their stories with me, while others have inquired about the basics to see if Intermittent Fasting might be for them. When I first started Intermittent Fasting I wanted to get as slim as possible. A year later, my goal was to gain more muscle mass while maintaining the definition I had...and I achieved my goal of increasing my weight from 83 kilos to 90 kilos with the help of Intermittent Fasting.

You read that right. Getting really defined with the help of intermittent fasting was quite easy. But you can also build quality lean muscle mass with the help of this nutritional approach. I am living proof of this.

How did I achieve this? By avoiding making the 3 most common mistakes that I see numerous other people make when they dive into the world of Intermittent Fasting.

Don't get me wrong, as with everything else, this is a learning process. The biggest benefit of Intermittent Fasting for me was that I was able to live my life more freely and with fewer restrictions compared to my previous "Tupperware meal every 5 hours".

Here are the 3 most common basic mistakes you should avoid if you want to be successful with Intermittent Fasting.

Mistake #1 - You're afraid of being even slightly hungry

We all get hungry. It's just part of life. Whether you're practicing Intermittent Fasting or eating out of a Tupperware bowl every 2 hours, you're going to be hungry from time to time.

I remember hearing this phrase years ago when I was trying to build muscle: "If you're hungry, it's already too late." This idea is based on the concept that your body goes into some crazy catabolic state when you start to feel intense hunger pangs.

However, I can assure you from personal experience that it's perfectly fine to be hungry for a few hours. Your muscles will not disappear immediately. I am living proof of this - as are hundreds of others out there who are practicing intermittent fasting and carrying around a reasonable amount of muscle mass.

I'm 188 centimeters tall and weigh an average of 90 kilos (or more) all year round. I have been eating this way for years and have been steadily building quality muscle mass during that time. I usually fast once a week for a full 24 hours to completely cleanse my body. And guess what - my muscles are still fully intact.

Trust me, all the gains from your hard work won't just disappear if you don't eat for a few hours. The truth is, your digestive system also needs a break from digesting food every second of the day.

You can go 16-18-20-22 or even 24 hours without food. Your body is an amazing machine that can and will adapt to different situations. Short-term fasting for say 16 hours will not cause any significant muscle loss. There are numerous scientific studies that clearly prove this.

I also typically train in a fasted state - no food before training, depending on the day and the type of training session. Sometimes I even allow a few hours after training before my first meal.

However, I usually eat something within an hour of training. What I'm getting at is that being hungry is something normal that is perfectly fine. Don't be afraid of hunger. Think of your body as a fat-burning blast furnace. This blast furnace burns until you start shoveling food into it. This could help you to overcome this fear.

Mistake #2 - You eat junk food most of the time

No diet plan - whether it's intermittent fasting or a standard bodybuilding diet plan with 6 to 8 meals a day - will be successful in the long run if you're eating processed junk. They say you can't build a million dollar body with one dollar meals and that statement is 100% true. If you're struggling to lose fat while following an Intermittent Fasting eating plan, chances are you're having some issues with the quality of your macronutrients or the quantities of those macronutrients you're eating. You can't eat 2 packs of Oreos during your first meal after the fasting phase and think that's okay just because you've been fasting for 16 hours and are now starving.... That's not how it works.

With any eating plan, the best thing you can do is just start. If it runs, swims, flies, grows in the ground, eat it. If it's in a cardboard box or plastic wrapper, don't eat it. This works with virtually any diet plan and Intermittent Fasting is no exception. I'm not saying you have to jump head over heels on the Paleo bandwagon right now, but eating meat, vegetables and healthy fats typically works quite well for me and my clients. Intermittent Fasting is not a free pass to eat junk all day long just because you eat that junk within a shorter window of time. As with anything, what you eat is important - eat clean, quality whole foods and you'll look like Rambo, eat massive amounts of sugar-laden junk and you'll look like the typical everyman. I'll reiterate at this point: there is NO diet plan where you can eat mostly junk food and still look good - eating fresh, clean, whole foods will help you reach your full potential. At this point, however, it should also be mentioned that a couple of cookies or a slice of pizza won't kill you - as long as you eat these things in moderation.

Mistake #3 - Watching the clock - and waiting for the next binge

Let's say you start with the standard 16-8 Intermittent Fasting approach. Fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining 8 hours. If you sleep 8 hours a day and stop eating 4 hours before going to bed and wait 4 hours after getting up until your first meal, then you will only be awake for 8 hours of your fasting phase. In reality, this is not such a long time without food and fasting is, in a sense, all about learning to go without food.

I don't want to get too philosophical here, but there are a lot of things you can learn about yourself, your commitment and your drive when it comes to regular fasting or fasting as a lifestyle. However, many beginners become people who are constantly watching the clock, just waiting for their next opportunity to eat again because they are worried about "starving". You will not starve. Your body can go for days without food.

In reality, you are either bored or fixated on a meal. If you focus less on the 16 hour window and more on your job, your training, your family and your life, then you will have an easier time with intermittent fasting from the start. If you just sit there watching the clock, waiting and thinking about food, you will only drive yourself crazy and increase the feeling of wanting to give up. In the beginning, it will be a hard transition to go from eating every 2 hours from getting up to going to bed to an intermittent fasting approach where you don't eat for hours at a time. Trust me, after a week you will get used to it. Just live your life.

Schedule your time for things that really matter - life is about more than food preparation, washing Tupperware bowls and eating every 12 minutes. You will probably quickly find that you will be much more productive with intermittent fasting than with your previous eating plan.

At this point it should be mentioned that you don't necessarily have to fast for a full 16 hours every day. If it is only 14 hours one day, this is still a good start. Maybe you are busy at work or traveling with your family and don't eat for 18 hours...Intermittent Fasting is designed to make your life easier and more efficient and transform you into a lean, defined being with a sexy body.

Intermittent Fasting is not meant to hold you hostage to the clock or a dietary regimen. That's the beauty of it - don't keep looking at the clock - plan your fast. Eat when the fasting phase is over. It's about making intermittent fasting something that fits your life and not the other way around. You now have the flexibility to make these choices and not become someone who is constantly watching the clock for fear of losing muscle, going into a catabolic state, or whatever fear you associate with a skipped meal. I hope that those of you who decide to dive into the world of Intermittent Fasting do so wholeheartedly. Intermittent Fasting has taken my body to a whole new level, which has also been the case from a health perspective.

I feel like a rock star and I am stronger, healthier and happier than I have ever been in my entire life. Having the flexibility to travel, attend events, work out or do whatever I want to do without having to worry about my meal prep or getting into a catabolic state is worth more to me than anything else.

Intermittent Fasting is not for everyone. Try it out and remember to start simple and gradually go deeper as you become more familiar with the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle.


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