Intermittent Fasting Carb Cycling Diet
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a quick primer: Intermittent Fasting (IF) involves periods of fasting alternated with eating “windows.” One of the most popular and effective IF schemes (not to mention the method I prefer) is a 16/8 plan where you fast for 16 consecutive hours and then consume all of your calories for the day in the following 8 hours. When you fast is up to you – you can fast from 10pm to 2pm the next day, 8pm to noon, midnight to 4pm, whatever you want. This method allows for maximal fat loss while still giving you the ability to build muscle. A 16/8 IF plan is intended to be done every day, indefinitely.
Another popular version of IF has you fasting a full 24 hours on any two days of the week. You’re allowed to eat at any time on the other five days, and fairly loosely, depending on your goals. This is called the 5/2 method. Personally, I don’t prefer this method because of the extended length of the fast – a full 24 hours. I also don’t like the concept of doing IF part-time. As I said, IF is a lifestyle.
On my 16/8 IFCC plan, I personally fast from midnight to 4pm EVERY day. Then I eat from 4pm until 12:00am and repeat the cycle. The nice thing is, you can be fairly loose with what you eat during the feeding period – as long as you hit your macros for the day. But you MUST stick close within your macros.
This may seem like an obvious point, but I’ll mention it anyway just to be perfectly clear: Fasting means consuming zero calories. No food or calorie-containing beverages. In fact, I generally recommend avoiding artificially-sweetened drinks as well, since the sweetness in them could raise blood insulin levels (the science is still inconclusive on this). While fasting, you can drink water, black coffee, and plain green tea. That’s pretty much it.