Over the last few weeks, I took a deep dive into the most recent research on intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding to prepare for my Livestream this past weekend. I must have read a couple of dozen studies, and I discussed seven of the studies in the Livestream video below. I wanted to figure out what is the best intermittent fasting schedule.
Based on all this new research and listening to this recent video podcast by Andrew Huberman (Effects of Fasting & Time Restricted Eating on Fat Loss & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast)
I will make some changes to my fasting fasting schedule in a few ways.
My wife and I have been intermittent fasting for over 12 years and have experimented with different strategies and protocols, from 16:8, 18:6, 20:4, 22:2, 23:1, 24-hour, and 36-hour fasting. We’ve done it both intermittently (IF) and daily (Time-Restricted Feeding), but generally, we would always break our fast later in the day. It just fits better into our lifestyle. However, the new research indicates that it probably makes more sense to take in calories, particularly protein, earlier in the day.
This week, I’m experimenting with some early time-restricted eating, but I’m writing this post around 5 pm, and I’m already having a hard time with it. My last meal today was at 4 pm. I know I’m going to miss not eating dinner later tonight.
What I think I’m going to do going forward is follow a few rules:
1- No food three hours before bedtime
It’s essential to be in a fasted state when you’re sleeping. Even if you only give yourself a six or eight-hour eating window, but your last meal is at 9 pm, and you’re going to sleep at 10:30, it’s going to take you a few hours to digest that meal, interrupting your sleeping fast.
Autophagy (cell repair) and brain cleaning (glymphatic system) happen when you’re in a fasted state while sleeping and you don’t want food to disrupt that.
2- Maintaining muscle mass is essential to me. The new research indicates that taking protein in earlier in the day is better for hypertrophy. Therefore, I am going to break my fast earlier in the day than I typically would. I’m going to break my fast around 11 or 12 o’clock going forward. I’m also going to try to work out earlier and break my fast with a post-workout meal.
I typically would do my resistance training and HIIT cardio around noon every day, but I’m going to move that up to 10:00, or 10:30 am (as long as training clients don’t get in the way). Plus, I will still be doing my long easy walks either first thing in the morning or late in the day.
3- For most people, I always felt that constantly changing the intermittent fasting strategy is a great way to cycle calories and take you in and out of a calorie deficit without necessarily counting calories. But, an opposing point of view says you should get your body used to a consistent time-restricted eating schedule so your circadian rhythm can adapt. I’m very good at keeping track of my calories and taking diet breaks, so in the future, I will stick to a consistent time-restricted eating schedule for a couple of months and then adjust and make changes.
4- I’m going to fast for 6 to 8 hours every day for the next two months starting next week. I will break my fast every day at 11 or 12 o’clock and be done eating my last meal before 7 pm. I generally go to bed around 10 or 11, so I will have plenty of time to digest my last meal. To cycle my calories, I will eat two meals some days and three meals the other days.
5- I will stick with my typical low-carb, whole food, natural diet, prioritizing protein. I’ll keep my carbs at 100 g or less per day and taking in about 150 g of protein.
Learning and experimenting with intermittent fasting is a never-ending process so let’s see how the next couple of months goes.
Best – Mike Cola Health Coach