Intermittent fasting, or IF, has become a popular way to time your meals so that you boost your weight-loss progress. During IF, you time your meals within a feeding window and don’t consume any calories during what is called your fasting window. This way of eating is supposed to help regulate blood sugar and increase your human growth hormone, both of which can help you torch fat and reach your goals.
But what is the best way to do intermittent fasting for weight loss? Although there are several ways to do IF, the most popular way is 16:8, or leangains, where you eat during an eight-hour window and fast for the other 16 hours. This may seem simple enough, but there are still logistics to figure out about when to time your workouts, what you are allowed to drink during your fasting window, and how much you should actually eat within the eight hours.
Personal trainer Max Weber, NASM, explained how intermittent fasting works and how you should implement it into your diet for best results. In an Instagram post, he used the example of a fasting window from before 12 noon and after eight p.m. Before your fasting window, you should only do light activity, eat no calories, and drink lots of water and other unsweetened beverages if you need them, such as black coffee. After the fasting window ends at eight p.m., you should continue to have no food or calories, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep.
During the eating window, you should still stick within your daily calorie and macronutrient target. You can eat as many or as few meals as you want during this window as long as you are sticking to your daily macros and calories. Max also suggested to exercise as close to your eating window as possible, so timing your workouts and when you can eat will have to be based on a schedule that works for you.
However, he notes that intermittent fasting is not mandatory for fat loss. It’s just a program some people like to implement to regulate their insulin levels, boost weight loss, and stay on track with their meals. “You still need to be consuming fewer calories than you are burning each day to lose fat. IF might make this easier when dieting, so give it a shot and see!” Max wrote in his caption.
If you’re considering trying intermittent fasting for weight loss, make sure you pick an eating window that works for your schedule and you continue to count calories or macros.