Intermittent Fasting is rapidly rising in popularity for its purported benefits such as fat loss, muscle growth, anti-aging, and focus; it’s only natural such claims would pique your interest. So, if you’re seeking answers as to whether or not intermittent fasting is as powerful as people say it is, and where to start, then you’re in luck.
This article is the enchiridion of Intermittent Fasting. Within its sacred (for gainz) text, you shall find the answers you seek. I will bestow upon you ancient wisdoms such as:
- The benefits of intermittent fasting
- How to start your fast
- How long to fast
- What to consume during a fast
- How to break your fast
- And what supplements will maximize your results
But before we get into all that, I’ll explain what Intermittent Fasting is and what it is not.
What is Intermittent Fasting:
Intermittent Fasting (IF) isn’t a diet. It’s a meal timing protocol. Are there foods that can potentially increase the benefits gained from adhering to IF? Absolutely. But IF in itself is not a diet.
What it really comes down to is periods of fasting (not eating) followed by shortened periods of eating. It’s seriously that straightforward. Any yet, one of the biggest problems I’ve found is that people make Intermittent Fasting complicated. It’s why I’ve adopted the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Sure, the devil likes hiding in some of the details (to impale your gains with a pitch-fork), but if you follow my two step process, you will almost surely reap the rewards. Here it is. Drum roll…
- When fasting, don’t eat
- When eating, well…you know…eat.
Crazy. Epic. Even mind-blowing. It’s as simple as that. Or is it? Read on to find out. Like I said, the devil is in the details, or in this case, the decimals.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Won’t spend a lot of time on these. If you’re reading this, chances are you already have an idea what they are, or know someone who has experienced massive gainz (or fat loss). In other words, you’re already interested.
Fat Loss/Muscle Gain: Intermittent fasting has been shown to powerfully increase fat burning, especially when training fasted. What’s even better about that is it also preserves muscle mass, which sounds like heresy, but a lot of facts were once considered heresy so that’s fine. The reason IF preserves muscle mass is due to its effects on a particular hormone (that Legal won’t let me name, but you probably already know which one I’m referring to). This hormone is considered a master hormone when it comes to muscle building, and when you’re fasting, its levels ramp up as high as 2000%.
Mental Focus: When you go into fasting mode, your brain switches into survival mode. When your brain goes into survival mode, it has to preserve energy for what really matters — the task at hand. As a result, you get hyper focused. This intense focus automatically forces all the distractions (Instagram, Facebook, whether that cutie matched with you or not, etc) to fade away into the ether — where they belong. Additionally, when we fast our bodies produce ketone bodies (also known as beta-hydroxybutyrate). These ketones are super effective forms of brain fuel.
Cellular Rejuvenation: Some of you reading might be primarily interested in intermittent fasting, because you’ve heard about the uncanny health and anti-aging benefits. Those benefits are all true. They’re a result of what’s known as autophagy. Autophagy is a process where healthy cells devour old and damaged cells, making themcellves stronger and healthier. This leads to gloriously graceful aging.
How To Start Your Fast
What you really want when starting a fast is to stop eating…
But, before that, what you want is a meal that’s nutrient rich, and delivers a healthy ratio of protein, fiber, and fat.
Protein, because why would you not boost your protein synthesis and continue your muscle recovery? Fiber is great because it’s satiating, making you feel fuller longer. Fats are another good option; they digest slower, and they’ll help release fatty acids into the system, which encourages your body to produce more ketones during your fast.
Pre-Fast Meal example: you might want to try avocados, since they’re packed with fiber as well as healthy fats. If you’re eating carbs, throw in a cup of quinoa. Top it off with some grass-fed, humane certified steak from a farm as close to you as possible (you’re already looking to optimize the environment of self, might as well do what you can to help the environment where you exist).
What to avoid: Sugar. We’ve all had a sugar crash. When it comes to fasting, that sugar crash can either make the fast miserable, or cause you to end your fast several hours short, and consequently, rob you of precious, precious gainz.
How Long Should I Fast?
This is a question I get asked all the time. The answer really depends on the benefits you seek. If you’re doing a shorter fast, you’ll experience a lot of the body composition benefits like muscle growth and fat loss. For the cellular benefits (autophagy) to take place, longer fasts are typically required.
What I recommend to anyone beginning is to go for a 16:8 protocol. The 16:8 stands for:
- 16 hour fasting window
- 8 hour eating window
16 hours without eating might sound like a lot to some people, but it’s really nothing crazy. Ideally (but not likely) you’re getting 8 hours of sleep a night. More likely than not, you don’t eat when snoring, so that’s half of your fasting window out of the way already. The other 8 can be allocated however works best for you. I typically suggest starting a fast at 10:00pm, then eating your first meal around 2:00pm the following day.
You can play with the schedule and tweak it to fit your lifestyle. What really matters is that you get your 16 hours. Here’s the thing; after 16 hours is when you’ll earn exponential benefits, every hour. It’s like playing the video game Diablo 3. Each time you increase the level of gameplay difficulty you subsequently increase experience points per kill as well as quality of acquired loot. Some of you didn’t catch that reference, and I’m deeply sorry for your loss. Anyway, 16 hours is really the bare minimum, since that’s where all the cellular Darwinian magic really begins.
It can be very challenging to jump right into an 18 or 20 hour fast, so I recommend starting with a 16 hour fast and working your way up.
What Can I Intake?
This nectar of love, liberty, and life can speed up autophagy. This is because coffee is rich in polyphenols. One study (Journal Cell Cycle) found that these polyphenols encouraged cells to undergo autophagy. Basically, if your strong cells are Spartans, then polyphenols are kind of like their significant others whispering, “Don’t come back until you’ve conquered those weaklings.”
Furthermore, the caffeine found in coffee can both boost fat loss and further encourage autophagy. This way you’re achieving more of those abdominal aesthetics benefits as well as the cellular rejuvenation ones. Double win.
The coffee does need to be black, though. No creamer, and no sweeteners. Most sweeteners will cause an insulin spike, which kicks you out of the fasting state. There are a few that won’t, but anything like acesulfame potassium, or aspartame will.
A lot of people interested in intermittent fasting have probably experimented with bulletproof style coffees. Hate to break it to you, but as delicious as that creamy, fatty goodness is, it will break a fast. Best to keep those to your non-fasting days.
Teas are also solid options. Again, no sweeteners or creamers.
Drink as much water as you wish. In fact, drink about as much water as you can. Water is honestly one of the most important factors in achieving those autophagy benefits. If you aren’t hydrated, it’s possible that your noble attempts for cellular rejuvenation could be hindered. So, yeah. Drink lots of water; you should be doing that anyway. If you can’t stand the taste of water, try drinking better water (yes, that’s a thing), or just suck it up. But don’t worry, if you really can’t bring yourself to guzzle the liquid needed to optimally function due to its bland flavor, add in Bucked Up Drink Mix. Bucked Up Drink Mix is permissible because it’s sweetened with Stevia, which is one of the only sweeteners that won’t break a fast.
For those of you stim-junkies, BCAA lovers, or fellow Exogenous Ketones fankids, I’ve got some good news and some (speculative) bad news.
If you’re reading this, then you probably already use Bucked Up Pre-Workout. That’s great, because otherwise you’d likely have to cut your House Brand crap out of the equation (even if you’re not fasting you shouldn’t submit yourself to sub-par pre-workouts, because self-love is important and you’re better than that torment).
We don’t put sugar in any of our pre-workouts, and even better, none of them will spike your blood sugar or elicit and insulin response.* But that’s not the best part. No matter which one you choose, our pre-workouts can further improve your goals.
- Bucked Up Non-Stim: sweetened with stevia, delivers everything you need for pump,* focus,* endurance,* hydration,* and thanks to its B-Vitamin content, can even help your body produce more energy.*
- Bucked Up Pre-Workout: Same benefits as our Non-Stim (pump,* focus,* endurance,* hydration*) and although it’s not sweetened with stevia, it still won’t break a fast. The biggest difference is our Bucked Up Pre-Workout has 200mg of caffeine.
- BAMF: Remember what I said about how fasting improves mental focus? Amplify that. Like, by a lot. BAMF is a nootropic pre-workout, which means it’s specially formulated to deliver Professor Xavier level focus.* It accomplishes this feat with powerful ingredients like AlphaSize GPC, Huperzine A, and Hordenine, which have all been shown to elevate brain gainz.* Furthermore, Hordenine has been shown to promote healthy metabolic function, thus helping you burn even more fat when combined with exercise.* BAMF also hits you with pump,* energy (333mg caffeine),* hydration,* and endurance.* You might not be able to read minds or detect omega level mutants, but with BAMF fueling your workouts, you might become an omega level mutant yourself.
- WOKE AF: Formulated with three different stimulants — 333mg of caffeine, Dendrobium, and Synephrine — that work synergistically to drive your energy levels to such divine heights you might invoke a wrath similar to what the Babylon tower builders (might have) experienced. Unlike the aforementioned builders, however, WOKE AF will have you so energized,* pumped,* focused,* hydrated,* and fueled with endurance that not even a deity can strike you down — let alone stand in the way of your goals.*
- BLACK SERIES: And, if you’re anywhere near as blasphemous and impure-of-thought as my previous description, it would be in your best interest to utilize one of our BLACK Series pre-workouts. We added a powerful mineral blend of Humic+Fulvic Acid, which can help strip the body of heavy metals,* improve nutrient absorption,* and it promotes healthy detoxification.* While it might not help cleanse you of your sins, it can help cleanse your body of toxic metals,* further enhancing your cellular rejuvenation goals.
The verdict isn’t quite in on BCAAs yet. Some say they will break a fast, while others say they won’t. Because we’re all about full transparency, some studies have shown that BCAAs can break a fast. That being said, we have performed tests on ourselves and several of our athletes, and there hasn’t been a single time when blood sugar spiked. Sadly, although we are a credible source, we’re not an accredited source, so you’ll really have to decide for yourself.
My advice is this: if your primary reason for practicing intermittent fasting is for the autophagy benefits, then it might be wise to steer clear. However, if your main goal is to build muscle and burn fat, then sip away.
For those of you who will be drinking BCAAs on fasting days, how and when differs based on your goals.
- FAT LOSS: Drink RACKED BCAAs. As stated before, none of us have ever seen a spike in blood sugar or insulin. Even if that wasn’t the case, though, I’d still recommend RACKED for anyone implementing intermittent fasting for fat loss when combined with exercise.* It’s the classic case of risk vs. reward. Because RACKED is formulated to increase thermogenesis,* boost metabolism,* as well as accelerate fat loss when combined with exercise,* (courtesy of Carnitine, Acetyl-L Carnitine, and GBB, which have been shown to shuttle fatty acids into the cells to be burned for energy),* drinking it during your workout is a no brainer.
- Muscle Growth: Go with our Original BCAAs. They have the tried and tested 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine. This combination has repeatedly been proven to increase protein synthesis,* delay muscle fatigue,* and accelerate muscle recovery.* Our Original BCAAs also come loaded with electrolytes for optimal hydration.* If you are worried about BCAAs breaking your fast but still want their powerful benefits, try drinking them 30 minutes prior to your first meal as this can maximize the absorption and muscle building benefits already associated with the first meal of a fast.*
There’s some controversy around the subject of whether Exogenous Ketones will break a fast or not, as well as if they can amplify the benefits from fasting. However, this controversy is akin to telling a flat earther the world is in fact not flat. Sure, the flat earther thinks you’re being controversial, but anyone in their right mind wouldn’t think twice about agreeing with you.
As you know by now, when you go into a fasting state, your body produces ketones. These are called endogenous ketones. Exogenous ketones simply mean that you are getting ketones from an external source; they can deepen ketosis, work as a feedback loop to help your body produce more ketones,* deliver carb and stim free focus,* and yes, they may even accelerate fat loss when combined with exercise.*
When To Workout
This is a big one, and there’s really no wrong way to go about it, since, you know, working out is always beneficial. The ideal time to workout really comes down to your goals, and more importantly, your schedule. I can’t predict your schedule so I’ll break down the different benefits of each time period.
Note: I’ll be basing the examples off a 16:8 fasting protocol from 10pm-2:00pm.
Training after breaking a fast. Some of you might need to train after you break your fast. This is fine, although kind of suboptimal, since you’ll miss out on some of the fat loss benefits that come from training fasted, as well as the GH spike and added glycogen uptake (that occurs post-workout) which are powerful tools for enhancing the efficacy of your first meal.
No matter what time you train, if it’s done before breaking your fast you will make greater strides toward fat loss than if training post-breakfast. In fact, one study performed by the Journal of Physiology found that when your workout fasted you burn significantly more fat because you have little bits of fat found within the muscle. These are called intramyocellular lipids. These particular lipids get evacuated out of the muscle when you workout in a fasted state. After fleeing the muscle, they travel into the bloodstream where the body can use them for energy (i.e. burn those hidden assholes). This process is put on repeat throughout your workout. Burn fat, burn!
Training in the morning, we’ll say 8 hours into your fast at 6:00am, has the benefit of still having all the nutrients from your last meal in your system, providing you with ample amounts of fuel. You will also gain some extra fat burning effects throughout the day. The drawback is that you will be going a prolonged time post-workout without any food, which can lead to tiredness throughout the day, and you’ll miss your anabolic window.
You can also train around 11:00am, so about mid-way through your fast. This is sort of the sweet spot, as you still have the majority of your nutrients in your system from the night before, but also are deep enough into the fast to reap more fat loss benefits during your workout than the morning crew. Plus, you’ll get some increased fat burning potential for the hour or two post-workout without waiting that long before getting in the much needed nutrients for muscle recovery.
My personal favorite is either late afternoon or evening, near the end of my fast (I do 18-24 hour fasting more often than not). I’ve found that training at the tail end is optimal for me since I like feasting & relaxing after my workouts. It started out as a mindset thing, as in my younger years I fancied myself a warrior or hunter, and over-dramatized my regimen by telling myself I didn’t get to reward myself with quality food until after I’d made my kill (i.e. killed my workout). This slightly zealous mindset proved incredibly beneficial when it came to staying absurdly lean. That being said, my strength and athletic performance took a serious hit. I was relying on 2-3 scoops of pre-workout to get me through each training session (for the record, this was years before Bucked Up changed my life and relied on a subpar supplement I won’t name but it rhymes with sea floor).
Little did I know then, but as it turns out, my intuition as well as my results align with science. Training at the end of your fast is incredibly beneficial but very challenging. The reason it’s so beneficial for fat loss is because you’re at the exhausted portion of your fast, and therefore your body is already burning fat at an astonishing rate. That fat loss is more often than not in exchange for a performance decline.
Your training schedule likely won’t look like mine if you’re breaking your fast between 2:00pm and 3:00pm, but the same benefits/drawbacks still apply if you train at the end of your fast.
How To Break A Fast
There are a lot of different methodologies. A few of the most common are; bone broth and apple cider vinegar, whey protein and mct oil, or even a mix of carbs and protein. These are all fine options. In particular, bone broth+apple cider vinegar has several purported health benefits, and anyone who’s specifically interested in aspects related to graceful aging and wellness would be wise to use the combo beverage. However, before drinking apple cider vinegar+bone broth, and definitely before eating any food, there is one supplement that reigns king supreme for optimizing “breakfast”.
Don’t let the name fool you. Although All Bulk No Bloat (ABNB) does pack everything necessary to maximize muscle growth,* it accomplishes far more than that. Unlike most “bulk” or “mass gainer” products on the market, ABNB is scientifically formulated to help you reach your goals (as opposed to brolifically thrown together). This zero calorie Magnum Opus boasts so many benefits it’s borderline ridiculous.
- Accelerated muscle recovery*
- Increased strength and power output*
- Hormone maximization and utilization*
- Enhanced muscle preservation*
- Increased glucose uptake and protein synthesis*
- Can promote healthy fat loss when combined with exercise*
- Overtraining prevention
These benefits are a byproduct of ABNB’s uncanny ingredient profile. Just to name a few:
- Glutamine: increase athletic performance,* boost metabolism,* improve muscle recovery and build muscle*
- Creatine Monohydrate: Increase strength and power output*
- HMB: Prevents overtraining and muscle waste*
- Betaine Anhydrous: Shown to improve body composition,* and help with muscle growth+fat loss when combined with exercise.*
- Taurine: Helps to regulate hydration,* directing hydrating nutrients to wherever they’re most needed at any given time,* while also regulating fat molecules for improved energy production.*
- Glycine: The “anti-aging” amino acid, Glycine helps enhance “g” hormone secretion.*
- Alanine: A vital player in the body’s protein biosynthesis, L-Alanine is a powerful nutrient for those seeking muscle growth.*
- HICA: Also known as leucic acid, HICA is an anti catabolic and anabolic agent. Reduce catabolism,* increase anabolism,* make gains
- Alpha Ketoisocaproic Acid: Mitigate muscle fatigue onset and the force attenuation experienced during high-intensity training.*
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Shown to increase glucose uptake in the cells,* therefore improving muscle performance,* and insulin utilization.*
- Mediator® Phosphatidic Acid: mTOR or the human tested, clinically proven trademark, “MEDIATOR” has been shown to be a key regulator for muscle mass in the human body.*
I know. That was a lot to take in. If you need to go over it all again, I totally understand. In fact, I recommend you do. Then just let it all sink in. ABNB can play several roles for improving body composition,* and every person I’ve ever gotten to integrate it into their supplement stack has thanked me. Not just bodybuilders, powerlifters, or anything either. For example…
It is beyond awesome for anyone doing Intermittent Fasting, though. It amplifies all the benefits in breaking a fast minimally ten fold. The reason is that many of the ingredients in ABNB maximize the key hormone to muscle growth and fat loss when combined with exercise,* and others work to maximize your nutrient uptake,* which are benefits already prevalent in fasting. As a result, you get a compound effect,* leading to ultimate GAINZ.
Take ABNB post-workout, ideally 30-60 minutes before breaking your fast. If doing a ketogenic diet, stick to quality meat and healthy fats. If adhering to a diet that allows carbohydrates, I suggest having some faster acting carbs followed by a meal of complex carbohydrates and lean protein.
Now that you have the know-how, there’s only one last thing you need to do to get started. Eat your last meal (for 16 hours). Okay, there’s actually a few more things you could do first.
Head on over to the grocery store to ensure you’re eating the perfect pre-fast meal. And, more importantly, speed through the internet via this magic link to stock up on some fasting maximization supplements. Read about foods for building muscle.