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Intermittent Fasting | Your IF Questions Answered

After this blog post about how I do Intermittent Fasting (IF), I decided to do a Q&A and asked you guys to submit your questions on my Instagram (@amandalouisefit) I got some really great questions that I decided to answer in this week’s blog!

Without further ado, let’s dive right into the questions!

Question 1:

I train a lot myself and I consider IF after reading so much about it! Therefore, I was quite happy when you wrote a post about it.
I have to admit I’m very nervous about starting since I’m constantly hungry, mostly eating every 3 hours right now and I just don’t feel like I can go without my breakfast! (would like to fast 8pm-12pm). Is it just a habit?

Answer:
I had exactly the same doubts as you before starting IF the first time. I was constantly hungry even though I ate every 2/3. hour.
When I did 16:8 many years ago was pretty hungry for the first few weeks. It got better, but I did have some days that were pretty bad with hunger and dizziness. However, I also had many very early days at school and trained AT LOT back then. So maybe that’s why it didn’t really work for me.
When I fast from 10pm-10pm as I do now, I don’t usually have any problems with hunger in the morning and I feel like I can push my breakfast to even later in the day if I’m busy around 10 am. I like having that flexibility. It suits me much better than having to eat right when I wake up and again every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

Question 2:

Is it possible to train cardio in the morning WITHOUT breakfast? It seems completely hopeless when I think about having to exercise on an empty stomach.

Answer:
If I’m training fasted in the mornings I drink a cup of black coffee before and then sip on water with 10 g. BCAA and 3 g. L-Glutamine during my workout. Technically BCAA’s break your fast but I feel better taking them to preserve and build muscle if I work out in a fasted state. The science isn’t really supporting the need for BCAA’s when working out fasted, but it’s become a habit and I feel best doing it. It works great for me and I have good energy for both cardio and weights (though I usually don’t lift super heavy if I train in the mornings)

Question 3:

I have been on doing IF 16:8 for 10 days now. Eating between 1pm-9pm since that’s what works best for me.
I’m doing IF to lose weight and get better health. I read in a magazine that I would be able to lose up to 5 kg. per week, but I’m now on day 10 and have only lost 2.5 kg. so far.
I drink a lot of coffee and only some water (about 500 ml./day. I struggle with drinking enough water.) and cannot train so much because of back pain but I try to walk a lot. My question is: Do you have any advice on how I can drink more fluids and lose more weight?

Answer:
Great job on losing 2,5 kg. so far! Unless you’re very overweight, I really don’t recommend losing more than 1 kg. per week consistently. And even with a lot of weight to lose, a slower approach is often better and your results will be more likely to last in the long term. I suggest continuing with what you’re doing now if you feel IF works for you, 2,5 kg. in 10 days is a great achievement! 

Try to incorporate more water as it’s so important to be well hydrated when trying to lose weight. Drinking enough water helps you avoid water retention and curbs your appetite, as sometimes we feel hungry but it’s really just because we’re thirsty. To get in more water, in the beginning, you can try making it easier to drink by adding some flavor! I recommend either using a sugarfree lemonade mix (Fun Light etc.), flavor drops or fresh lemon juice. You can also try sparkling water. Is flavored water or sparkling water the best? No, pure water is probably better. But taking baby steps towards increasing your water intake by making the water tastier is so much better than taking no action at all. Slowly increase your water intake over the next days and weeks and aim for 2 liters per day eventually.

Question 4:

What does your carbs consist of?

Answer:
I get most of my carbs from veggies and starches. My favorite veggies are green peas, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and my favorite starchy carbs are oatmeal, rice, rice cakes, and sweet potatoes. If I’m craving something sweet I’ll have berries, apples or banana.

Question 5:

Are you using BCAA?

Answer:
I like to sip on BCAA’s if I’m training fasted, but otherwise I don’t use BCAA very often. My favorite BCAA’s are these from Bodylab.

Question 5:

I would really like to try IF because I want to lose a lot of weight (about 50 kg). I’ve read a lot about it, also in relation to the BCAA. Do you take BCAA in the morning, even if you first train in the afternoon? I just want to make sure I will not break down muscle mass during my workouts (will mostly  train in the morning, ie. during the fasting period)
I work out approx. 4 times a week, both strength and cardio.

Answer:
I only drink BCAA’s in the morning if I’m training hard before breakfast at 10 am. Drinking BCAA’s technically break the fast, so if you’re not training, I don’t recommend taking in anything but water, (unsweetened) black coffee and tea in the fasting period. You won’t break down muscle while fasting, as fasting is actually muscle preserving. I recommend experimenting with trying to train completely fasted (maybe have a coffee before and drink water during the workout) for at least a week and then trying to train whilst drinking BCAA’s for at least a week and seeing what works best for you.

Questions 6:

After I have fasted for 16 hours can I eat whatever I want for 8 hours?

Answer:
It depends on your goals. If you’re fasting for weight loss or to maintain muscle and reduce body fat, you still have to stay in a caloric deficit during the 8-hour feeding window. Intermittent fasting is a tool to consume fewer calories and be less focused on food for a big chunk of the day, but you will still have to stick to a good nutrition program to see the benefits.

Question 7:

Can you have coffee while fasting?

Answer:
Yes, you can have unsweetened black coffee or tea during fasting.

Question 8:

Do you fast on specific days?

Answer:
I prefer doing a 12-hour fast followed by a 12-hour feeding window on a daily basis (originally 16:8 but as I described in this blog I prefer doing 12:12 instead). I don’t enjoy fasting for a full day as I’m very active and experience dizziness and feel lightheaded if I fast for a full day. If you’re less active or do more light exercise such as gentle yoga or walks, fasting (having maximum 500 calories over the course of the day) for 1-2 non-consecutive days every week might work for you.

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A and if you have any more questions regarding IF feel free to comment below. I’ll do my best to give you an answer, too.

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