Intermittent Fasting Schedule
September 21, 2013 2:13 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations or suggestions on how to continue intermittent fasting with my schedule and my desire to keep going to the gym 5 times a week. Also looking for help with doing intermittent fasting properly.

Recently, I tried intermittent fasting and I found it easier than I anticipated. My work schedule is such that not eating before/during work is very convenient to me. (I get up at 5:15 am, leave for work at 6 am, and work from 7 am until 1:30 or 2:45 pm without more than a 5 or 10 minute break.)

I know a lot of studies show that eating several small meals a day works for healthy weight loss, but eating several small meals a day is really difficult for me because of my schedule. Also, I find when I eat several small meals a day I am hungry all the time. When I fast, I find it much easier to deal with the hunger and I love not having to think about meals and snacks all the time. (I absolutely loathe meal planning, carrying around apples and little bags of almonds and trying to keep granola bars in my bag, etc.)

So, I want to figure out a schedule for fasting 5 days a week that will also allow me to go to the gym. I need to eat about an hour before I go to the gym, otherwise I am too fidgety and I lose my focus too soon into my workout. Ideally, I like to go to the gym pretty soon after I get home from work (the gym in my building) so I can do my workout, shower, and be freed up for the rest of the day/evening.

Three days a week, I finish work at 1:30 pm and I am home by 2:15 pm. Two days a week, I finish work at 2:45 pm and I am home by 3:30 pm.

If I plan on eating twice a day on fasting days, should I be eating around 2:30 pm (meaning I'll eat in the car on my "late finish" days) so I can work out around 3:30 pm, and then eat again at around 8:30 pm? When is the best time of day for me to eat my two meals? I strongly prefer to be finished my workout and shower by about 5 pm, as my partner finishes work around then and we like to have some downtime together before doing whatever we need to do in the evening, and also because the gym is less busy before 5 pm.

What kind of schedule makes sense? What else do I need to know before diving in to fasting 5 times per week? So far, I've done intermittent fasting 2-3 times per week and it's worked out really well, except for the timing issue of leaving work late. I think having a firm schedule of meals and workouts will really help me do this right.

Thank you.
posted by gursky to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I know a lot of studies show that eating several small meals a day works for healthy weight loss

That actually isn't what the research shows at all, although this is definitely the popular myth. The thermic effect of food is the same whether you eat 7 small meals or one large meal. See, e.g., Bellisle F et. al. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. (1997) 77 (Suppl 1):S57-70. It doesn't "feed the fire". And, you hit on a key point - if you are eating many small meals and trying to lose weight, those are teeny tiny meals of scarcely any content, so no wonder you're always hungry.

My intermittent fasting schedule is to obtain from food on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. On these days, I only drink water or beverages with no calories. This schedule is not carved in stone, but I keep to it unless something comes up like a social event.

Some people do that sort of IF, but others just give themselves a small window each day for eating i.e. they only eat from noon to 4 pm each day.A window of 2:30 to 8:30 is a six-hour window, and many people have a window of 6-8 hours, so I suppose you could do that. There is no magical time of day for eating - make your eating window what works best for your schedule.

What I would say is that fasting is something you have to build to. So, try a week or two of fasting two days a week, then a few weeks at three, then a four, and so on. That will help you from getting discouraged. I should point out that most people who do the "window" style of IF do it seven days a week, so you may wish to consider that as well.

By the way, what are you doing at the gym for five days a week? If it's resistance training/weights, that strikes me as not the most efficient. I would go for three days a week of compound movements.
posted by Tanizaki at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I promise not to threadsit, but just to answer the question about the gym: I usually do 3 days/week of weights and 2 days/week of cardio. This is the routine that works best for me (after months of trying different routines and schedules, anyway).

Thanks for the feedback, Tanizaki!
posted by gursky at 7:16 AM on September 21, 2013

Best answer: You seem not to be getting any more replies (and I don't have one for you either), but I think you might benefit from being directed to other forums. I know that MarksDailyApple is one such forum where the members talk about IF a lot. I've linked you to part 1 of a seven part article about fasting. Here's a few more about IF specifically. Mark has written tons about it so search the site (I use Google site search) and I encourage you to also search through the user forums on that site.
posted by CathyG at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2013

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