🚀 New Knowledge Episode - Intermittent Fasting: Does it work for athletes like you? 🚀

Mac and Jinger look at the science behind intermittent fasting, uncovering what works and what doesn’t for endurance athletes.

Intermittent Fasting has become one of the most popular nutrition topics in endurance sports over the last few years. Our Sports Science team dives deep into the research to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what questions you should answer before determining whether to incorporate fasting into your training.

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Although I can see the point in fasted rides for athletes - intermittent fasting looks very much like a weight loss activity only.

Am I missing something, is there a point in doing this when you’re not overweight?

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That’s all I do it for. :arrow_down:Mass = :arrow_up:PWR.

Lord knows I’d love to eat breakfast again!

:wink:

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I’ve been IM’ing since February and my primary motivation was to drop my A1c. I lost weight but also dropped from a high of 6.2% last summer to 5.0% last week.

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Fasting is a dirty word. Would never work for me.

The key that made it easy for me to do 16 hours fasting was recognizing that I fast for nearly 12 hours (dinner → breakfast) anyways. Slowing moving that from 12 hours to 16 wasn’t very hard. This mostly just meant skipping breakfast.

The other trick was to make sure I got all my nutrition & calories in those 8 hours (so basically lunch & dinner).

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@CPT_A Why skip breakfast and not dinner?

Exactly.

Two reasons, mainly. First, as @yodakramer mentioned, it’s easy to stretch 12 hours to 16 hours since you’re sleeping for most of them overnight. And second is just lifestyle-driven. My mornings are usually stretching, tend to the farm, and head into work early anyway, while dinner is the rare time I get to spend with my family.

So my IF is basically dinner by 1800, no food after 2000, coffee in the AM, first real calories around 1000. = 14-16 hours “fasting”.

That said, I’m not at all rigid about it (or ideally anything, really). I tend to do my long rides early on the weekend days, so absolutely will fuel up prior to those. But my midweek SUFF rides I usually do when I get home from work, so have plenty in the tank by then.

Also technically I cheat with a coffee or espresso heading out the door - probably not ideal for blood chemistry, but is what it is.

:coffee::coffee::coffee:

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And just to pile on to what @CPT_A says about not being rigid -

I took the viewpoint that intermittent fasting can be intermittent. So there are certainly times when I skip fasting. I am more aware of my food intake (calories & macro nutrients) and adjust.

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Same.

semper-gumby

…also helped me drop close to 14kg over the past two years.

Like coach used to say: "You can spend $1000 to drop 1kg off your bike, or $0 to drop 1kg off your @ss!"

:upside_down_face:

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@CPT_A I ask because circadian rhythms favor eating early versus late but can completely understand your own situation where you want to connect with family.

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Oh, same. I adjusted to basically be done with eating such that I have at least two hours or so between my last mean and bedtime.

Though sometimes this means I’m just with the family at dinnertime but not eating but those are more exceptions (I think they also adjusted to my routine).

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Hey all! I tuned into this podcast just the other day and I did want to raise a question about intermittent fasting. I hope to be able to get some insights from you all over here as well as some input from both Sir @Coach.Mac.C and @coach.jinger.g as I would like to give this intermittent fasting a go to shed some weight. Not that I am that heavy (weighing at 61.2kg this morning after completing the 4DP) with a height of 165cm, but I really want to bring my weight back down to about 57kg if possible.

Question 1: Does intermittent fasting really work for those who wants to shed weight?

Question 2: As I have some gastric problems, would it be advisable to do intermittent fasting? (i.e. skipping breakfast and go straight into lunch)

Question 3: During the 16 hours long fasting period, I know that I am allowed to ingest liquids but to be specific what kinds of liquids are allow and not allowed? Can I drink chocolate malt drinks in the morning minus the food like bread and the likes for breakfast?

Question 4: During the 8 hour window to eat, what kind of food is recommended to be eaten especially for the first meal of the day (that should be lunch). Would it be high protein food or slow acting carbohydrates like oats?

Question 5: How long should a person do intermittent fasting for? Is there like a maximum duration to do intermittent fasting (i.e. one straight week or one can do for two weeks and break for a week and then repeat the regime)?

Hope to get some insights for everyone here. Many thanks!

  1. Yes, IF does work, just like any other form of eating style that makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit. You get used to not having breakfast pretty quickly (at least hunger wise, I do miss it on the weekdays when I do IF). The 8pm cutoff I use for food also helps me control my evening snacking, which was 80% of my simple carb addiction problem!

  2. I don’t see why it would affect your GI tract but I guess you’d find out quickly enough.

  3. You basically don’t want to consume anything with calories (I.e. break the fast). So black coffee, tea without milk or sugar, water (+/- lemon juice). Chocolate malt drinks would break the fast.

  4. I tend to stick to a Mediterranean type diet, aiming for very high fibre, lowish carbs depending on how much training I’m doing (and minimal processed carbs at all times), plenty of protein and moderate amount of fats. Works for me.

  5. I do it intermittently. I do it most weekdays, and have a break on the weekend while still trying to adhere to the basic dietary principles above (and still stop eating at 8pm!)

For me it works because it gives me rules about eating windows (routine and structure works for me, which may be the long term effect of growing up at boarding school). I also combined it with a diet overhaul, which has been important too.

There’s actually very little science that any particular type of diet is any more effective than any other for weight loss.

Soapbox: Don’t diet, change your lifestyle instead, as “diets” tend to be time-limited and not sustainable.

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Gee thanks for the insights @Zbyszek!

Judging from what you have described, 8pm is the cut-off time of the eating window and by 12:00pm the following day is ending time of the fasting window. Sounds achieveable especially since we spend up to about 8 hours of sleeping so no need to worry about the feeling hungry but that’s of course if we don’t have a spell of insomnia at any given night.

As for my gastric issues, you’re right, I won’t know until I give this intermittent fasting a go and see how it actually goes. The only thing I am really worried about is getting a bloated tummy and worse still, gastric pain.

Whilst we are on the topic of eating, OK, I get it now, as long it’s not anything sweet then it’s fine. Just a silly question, would consuming fruits be considered as breakin the fast? Fruits like guava as they are hardly even sweet to begin with.
I was thinking of going with oats and/or bread with eggs of even chicken especially for dinner as I am actually planning on cutting down on rice. Sometimes, rice (and its derivatives such as rice vermicelli, flat noodles and the rest) is kind of inevitable since it’s a staple food here in Malaysia. But will give a try with other kinds of food rich in protein, fibre as well as iron too.

I think at the end of the day, I shouldn’t really affect the quality of my training rides I do in the evening after work since I would be fueled during the eating window. But I have got to nail it right down to the minute I am going to make it work. Thus, my latest cut off time for eating would probably be 8:30pm. I am guessing I won’t do intermittent fasting on the weekends where I normally do the workouts early in the morning since I rarely do fasted rides. The last time I did that, I bonked and wouldn’t want to experience that ever again.

Thanks again for your input! Really appreciate it very much!

Zbyszek
June 18
  1. Yes, IF does work, just like any other form of eating style that makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit. You get used to not having breakfast pretty quickly (at least hunger wise, I do miss it on the weekdays when I do IF). The 8pm cutoff I use for food also helps me control my evening snacking, which was 80% of my simple carb addiction problem!

  2. I don’t see why it would affect your GI tract but I guess you’d find out quickly enough.

  3. You basically don’t want to consume anything with calories (I.e. break the fast). So black coffee, tea without milk or sugar, water (+/- lemon juice). Chocolate malt drinks would break the fast.

  4. I tend to stick to a Mediterranean type diet, aiming for very high fibre, lowish carbs depending on how much training I’m doing (and minimal processed carbs at all times), plenty of protein and moderate amount of fats. Works for me.

  5. I do it intermittently. I do it most weekdays, and have a break on the weekend while still trying to adhere to the basic dietary principles above (and still stop eating at 8pm!)

For me it works because it gives me rules about eating windows (routine and structure works for me, which may be the long term effect of growing up at boarding school). I also combined it with a diet overhaul, which has been important too.

There’s actually very little science that any particular type of diet is any more effective than any other for weight loss.

Soapbox: Don’t diet, change your lifestyle instead, as “diets” tend to be time-limited and not sustainable.

Yes. Eating food—any food—is breaking the fast. Of course, if you don’t want to fast, don’t. If you want to try your own variation where you eat only a little before noon, go ahead. But if if you want to fast, then don’t eat and don’t drink anything other than zero calorie clear liquids.

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Alright thanks for tips @AkaPete!
Clear zero calorie it is then. :wink:

If choosing to move forward with Intermittent Fasting, be sure to consult with a qualified nutritionist to come up with the best plan for you personally. Nutrition strategies are very individual. Happy Training!

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