In my last two posts about fasting (HERE 1 and HERE 2) I mentioned you how this method helped me achieve the best shape of my life and I shared with you 6 mistakes I made while fasting and what I intend on changing this time. I mentioned you about the different fating protocols and I promised you that I will give a more detailed explanation about each one of them. That’s why with this post I will explain the essence of every protocol, the advantages and disadvantages, as well as what I am doing now.
What is it?
24 hours fasting is exactly what you think – you do not eat for 24 hours. If your last meals is on Saturday, at 8 p.m., this means that your next meal will be on Sunday at 8 p.m. It is recommended 1-3 times a week. Some people combine a daily fast (16 hours fasting with an 8 hours feeding window) with 24 hours fasting once a week.
Everybody who is interested in 24 hours fasting, has heard about Brad Pilon and his book – Eat Stop Eat.
What are the benefits of 24 hours fasting?
Actually it is easy – you just decide that you won’t eat for 24 hours and you do it. There isn’t any rules to follow or overburden you.
Another benefit is that 24 hours without food, definitely decreases the amount of calories eaten in a week. If you eat 2,000 calories on a daily basis, this adds up to 14,000 calories a week. If you fast for 24 hours, twice a week, this will subtract 4,000 calories and even if there are days when you try to compensate, you will be still in a calorie deficit. This, combined with more movement, will definitely lead to reaults.
In his book, Brad Pilon, shares about a research, which states that the most benefits from fasting come after 18 hours fasting. On the scheme you can see the graphic and how the duration of fasting (between 18-24 hours) has a proportional dependence with the calories you burn.
In reality, the biggest benefits of this protocol are that it is flexible, it can be easily adjustable to your lifestyle and it is appropriate for people who could not fast on a daily basis, but people who want to get the benefits of a short term fast.
This protocol is great for people who have cheat days (here is my opinion about cheat days). If you have a cheat day, you would get a lot of benefits from fasting for 24 hours after the feast.
Cons of the protocol:
As I said, 24 hours is a lot of time. Most people endure the 16 hours fast, without any problems, and then fasting becomes a torture. Personally, I consider 24 hours to be a little bit over what feels good and I think that the benefits I get from a shorter fasting window, satisfy me. I would endure a longer fast, just because this is “what I am supposed to do” and it will be something that wouldn’t make me feel good. I still think that nutrition should be a lifestyle and it should come naturally, and not as a result of too much will and a sense of deprivation.
Besides that I think that one of the main problems is to work out when you fast for 24 hours. Even if you train at the end of the fasting window, I think that the workout won’t be good, neither the way it feels.
Still, I do not want to impose my opinion on you. There are a lot of people that love 24 hours fasting, so you should try it before making a conclusion.
Try it and if you do not like it, you could always break the fasting earlier.
I think that this protocol is appropriate as an exception – when you have a long flight or a long car/ plane ride or another emergency.
This protocol is 20 hours fasting, followed by 4 hours feeding window. The name of this diet comes from the habits of warriors, who couldn’t have 5-6 smaller meals a day.
On one hand, this protocol is not true fasting, because it allows you to eat some food throughout the day – fruits, veggies and some protein. You should eat in smaller quantities, but you still get to eat something.
This is the theory, but in reality people who do this protocol don’t eat throughout the day and have one meal at night.
What are the benefits of this protocol?
The 20 hour fasting, embraces all hormonal benefits, described in Eat Stop Eat. The fasting goes beyond 18 hours, yet it is easier to follow, because it is in the middle between 16 and 24 hours fasting. It I neither too much, nor too little. It is once again easy for integration. It leads to a decrease in the calorie consumption.
What are the cons?
Here the problem comes from the fact that 20 hours are quite a time and some people find it hard to go without food for so long, while being focused and energized to work all day. The main problem, in my opinion, come from the fact that you have one meal that should be quite big. A lot of people don’t feel good to eat such a quantity in one sitting. Personally, I am one of those people. I do not feel good when I eat a huge quantity. I love feeling energetic and being active all day long and such a meal, wouldn’t allow me to do my favorite handstands after dinner. 😉
I recommend you read the book Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat from the same author. It is a bit scientific, but it is a great read!
What is it?
This protocol is about 16 hours fating with a 8 hour feeding window. During the feeding window, you can eat 2-3 meals.
What are the benefits of it?
The biggest benefit is that it is really acceptable and it is not that hard to follow, yet you still get the benefits of the fast. Besides that it fits our daily life.
This protocol allows you to build a daily routine. You do not go through severe hunger pangs and it allows you 2-3 meals, that allow you to distribute your food evenly. This leads to the feeling of lightness and energy.
What are the cons?
I can’t think of a con. Probably, unlike other protocols, there are more “rules”, like the recommendation to train during the fasting window or having your first meal after your workout.
The cons appear, if you build a plan that follows a strict schedule that is not suitable with the common social behavior. What do I mean? If you do the fating and your last meal is at 4 p.m., then it will be harder. Most people go out for dinner with friends. Most social occasions have to do with eating. Besides that if you go to bed at 11 p.m., your last meal would have been 7 hours ago and you are most likely to be hungry. Personally, I can’t fall asleep if I am hungry. That is why it matters how you distribute your fasting and feeding windows.