4 Caveats To Intermittent Fasting and LeanGains
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
LeanGains approach to Intermittent Fasting is a pretty amazing approach to eating, so amazing I can honestly say it changed my life. I have been following a 18/6 LeanGains approach (18 hours fasted / 6 hours fed) for over a year now and ALL THE WEIGHT I LOST HAS STAYED OFF…while EATING EVERYTHING I WANT plus NO CALORIE COUNTING.
Now, this may sound too good to be true, but it’s not!
The LeanGains approach to Intermittent Fasting really works!
But this doesn’t mean it’s easy or that it could possibly backfire. I mean there are caveats.
1. YOU MUST BE AT YOUR TARGET WEIGHT!
To not have to calorie count while on LeanGains or Intermittent Fasting you must be at your target weight. In other words, you must not be trying to gain or lose weight.
Well, because if you are trying to either gain mass or lose weight you will need to be reaching a predetermined total caloric intake per week and, to be sure you are reaching your goal, you will have to calorie count.
But, again, if you are at your desired weight, and you are maintaining your current weight and you continue to maintain your current level of activity, YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO CALORIE COUNT.
2. YOU MUST MAINTAIN YOUR CURRENT ACTIVITY LEVEL!
This is crucial!
If you are at your goal weight and you wish to not count calories via living the LeanGains lifestyle, you MUST continue your current activity level (specifically your cardio and, more importantly, your strength training).
Well, simply put, maintaining muscle mass requires more energy/calories, so the more muscles you have the more calories your body will need to maintain that muscle. And, the only way to maintain, develop, or create new muscle IS TO CONTINUE TO WORKOUT!
So, assuming that you continue to workout (specifically continuing strenght training), and are following LeanGains you should be able to maintain your target weight without calorie counting.
How Does It Work?
LeanGains utilizes calorie (and macronutrients) cycling in relation to workout and rest days. This means you will be eating less calories on rest days and more on workout days.
For example, I need anywhere from 2,800 – 3,200 calories on rest days and 3,700 – 4,200 calories on workout days. But I personally can only eat about 3,200 calories before I get really really full. AND, BECAUSE IT IS REALLY REALLY HARD TO EAT MY MINIMUM 3,200 CALORIES, I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CALORIE COUNTING because by the time I am around 3,200 calories I am naturally feeling extremely full for the day.
But the days I do eat my required calorie count per workout day, around 4,000 calories, something happens the next day that could be the downfall of many people.
3. YOU MUST STAY COMMITTED AND DO NOT GIVE IN TO CRAVINGS!
It is important to note that when first starting Intermittent Fasting or LeanGains YOU WILL EXPERIENCE CRAVINGS and HUNGER PAINS. As I have noted before on this site, these pains and cravings, and headaches, happen because of your brain and body’s need for simple and complex carbs which are completely depleted after about a 12 hour fasted period.
So, the first few days (or if you’re like me, the first few months) will be tough but your body WILL eventually adjust and the cravings and hunger pains will go away…but not forever!
And, as noted in one of my previous posts, the hunger pains and cravings can be worse on certain days than others.
SO, WHAT BRINGS ON MORE CRAVINGS AND HUNGER PAINS?!
Well, what I have noticed, and this is a huge tip specifically for those of us just starting out, is that the cravings and hunger pains have everything to do with what you eat!!!!
For example, every time I have a very high carb/high calorie day, the next day I get very hungry at around 1 pm. But, on the other hand, if I have a bit more fat or a balanced fat to carb day the next day is completely okay and I really can go the entire day without eating.
Needless to say, the day following the completion of the 1st Wolverine Diet Challenge via Costco Pizza + Chips Ahoy and the 2nd Challenge via Steak ‘n Shake, I was starving by NOON and actually starting to get hungry around 10am…but I still didn’t eat until 3pm.
Yeah, a lot of people tell me all the time, “Come on, you can eat now and nothing will happen.” To be honest, they are right – I could afford breaking my fast a few days a week before 3pm…BUT IS IT WORTH IT?
IS IT WORTH BREAKING YOUR FAST EARLY?
NO! IT IS NOT!
Why isn’t it okay to break your fast just because you’re a bit or very hungry one day?
Well, because if it’s okay one day why wouldn’t it be the next day or the day after that, or…you get the point.
Changing your life and lifestyle IS NOT EASY, SO DON’T LET YOURSELF SLIP!
I do not mean having breakfast one Sunday a month with the family…or every Sunday for that matter. The point is planned days are okay, but don’t “just” break your commitment “just” because it’s tough!
4. IF YOU DO GIVE IN DO NOT OVEREAT!
I know we are all only human…and that many people are not as anal retentive as I am…so we will slip.
We will break our fast an hour earlier than planned because…”What’s an hour anyways?”
Well, put simply, it was the goal you set for yourself! An hour was the difference between meeting your goal or failing that day’s short-term objective.
So, you didn’t make it to your goal!
That’s cool, but once you decide to break the fast early, do it and don’t worry about it. Just make sure you get back on track the very next day and that, no matter how hungry you are DO NOT OVEREAT!
If you are overeating once every two weeks and you’re working out regularly, you’ll most likely be fine BUT DO NOT OVEREAT ON A REGULAR BASIS!
LeanGains and Intermittent Fasting WORK ONLY IF YOU DO NOT OVEREAT when breaking your fast.
INTERMITTENT FASTING AND OVEREATING
This point, not overeating is especially important for people following Intermittent Fasting and NOT working out.
If you are trying to lose weight via Intermittent Fasting only (meaning you are just fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week and not doing nothing else to help spur on weight loss) then MAKE SURE TO NEVER OVEREAT!
I will elaborate more on this on a later post but make sure you start abiding by this tip now if you are currently Intermittent Fasting.
LEANGAINS AND OVEREATING
On the other hand, if you are following LeanGains, which is tailored for people who exercise (specifically people who weight lift) regularly it will be EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO OVEREAT because of the required weekly caloric intake.
It is so hard to reach your daily caloric goals that I have not had to calorie count to maintain my weight for over a year now.
WHAT IF YOU LIKE TO OVEREAT?
The X-GAINS APPROACH – A Modified LeanGains + Intermittent Fasting
I will elaborate a bit more on this at a later date but I wanted to leave you guys with some food for thought.
I actually follow the LeanGains 18/6 approach 5 days a week and then do a standard Intermittent Fasting approach (i.e., 24 hour fast) 2 days a week.
Not only to kick the fat burning into overdrive a couple of times a week but also because I LOVE TO EAT…AND I LOVE TO EAT A LOT WHEN I DO EAT. So, specifically when I know I am going out to eat or am planning on indulging a bit more than usual, I will fast until dinner. This means I will break the fast at 7-8 pm rather than 3 pm.
Yeah, Some people think I am a bit crazy, but being hungry a bit longer is a small price to pay when it comes to feasting like a King…and not having to worry about my waist line!