Fasting is one of the most popular ways to shed fat for many people. But how does intermittent fasting affect men, particularly when it comes to losing weight without sacrificing muscle?
The key lies in choosing the right fasting plan, exercising properly, and eating the right foods, which we will help you understand in greater detail, including:
- The most effective intermittent fasting types for men.
- 6 health benefits that men experience from intermittent fasting.
- How to start intermittent fasting for men?
- How long to fast to see weight loss results?
- Working out while fasting.
- What to drink during fasting time?
- What can you eat during intermittent fasting?
- Who should avoid doing intermittent fasting?
The Most Effective Intermittent Fasting Types for Men
Intermittent fasting is proven as one of the best methods for pursuing weight loss effectively and painlessly, as well as for future weight maintenance, while dieters can experience a variety of other health benefits, too.
In particular, while intermittent fasting men can experience some great results, depending on the strictness of the intermittent fasting program that they embark upon, including 16:8, 5:2, and other effective models.
As a brief explanation for its success, the intermittent fasting diet is a lifestyle change that involves fasting periods with a low-calorie intake to push the body into a metabolic switch to ketosis.
This is the state where your metabolism can burn as much body fat as possible, instead of using sugar as fuel, and you can really see the pounds dropping away.
As the windows for fasting differ, some intermittent fasting diet types are more effective for men, based on the amount of time the body can stay in ketosis and burn maximum fat.
These fasting types include 16:8, 5:2, the Warrior Diet, and Eat-Stop-Eat or 24-hour fast.
However, it is absolutely crucial not to jump right into an intense form of intermittent fasting as a beginner. This can shock the entire system and makes it harder for you to succeed during fasting.
Instead, start with a smaller hour window for the intermittent fast and work your way up to a longer fasting period.
Arguably the most effective intermittent fasting diet for men, 16:8 involves fasting for most of the day (16 hours) and then an eating window of 8 hours.
Fasting for this long kick-starts your metabolism into high gear, particularly for men, who experience fat loss, reduced inflammation, and lower cardiovascular risks after 16:8 fasting.
This is because science suggests that longer fasting for men creates better growth hormone levels and significantly increased metabolic processes, both of which work together to burn fat cells in the body and boost organ potential.
Essentially a type of alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 method is very popular for its flexibility. This involves eating normally for five days and restricting calorie intake for two non-consecutive days.
During the two alternate day fasts, men need to reduce daily calories below 600, spread out between meals as they choose. This is to keep your calorie intake low to encourage weight loss, while still being flexible with weight loss.
Also known as the 20:4 method, the Warrior Diet is particularly effective for maximum weight loss, including in men. It involves eating within 4 hours, followed by a fasting period of 20 hours.
These 20 hours are essential for the most effective weight loss, as studies show such periods of fasting are ideal for men to lower cholesterol, reduce body weight, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Eat-Stop-Eat (24-Hour Fast)
One of the most strict extended periods of fasting, the Eat-Stop-Eat plan involves not eating for a full 24 hours.
For men’s metabolic processes, in particular, this plan helps the body target the most fat cells, as you can switch to ketosis after 12 hours of fasting.
Because of this, a 24-hour fast gives you about 12 extra hours during which you can burn maximum fat level!
6 Health Benefits That Men Experience From Intermittent Fasting
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting for men, from those you expect like weight loss to others such as better cardiovascular health and lower blood sugar levels— so it’s one of the best changes men can make.
Intermittent Fasting Helps To Lose Weight
One of the key intermittent fasting results men gain is the ability to lose weight— and not just water weight, but body fat, which is the key issue for many people who struggle with weight loss.
Losing even 5% to 10% of your body weight has a myriad of benefits: not only does this relieve pressure on your joints and give you a boost of energy, but it might improve your life span!
It Also Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is responsible for many ailments in the body.
However, by intermittent fasting, you can successfully reduce inflammation and change inflammatory responses, shown by changes in serum adipokine levels.
This is important for men, as studies show inflammation is linked to illnesses such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, and reducing it lowers associated risk factors.
Fasting Helps To Improve Brain Health
Intermittent fasting has been proven to boost memory, stall cognitive decline, and even reduce brain damage after a stroke.
Not to mention the extra energy and lowered stress levels from fasting helps with mental health and clarity!
Also Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Blood sugar is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, as the damage can lead to cardiovascular illness over time.
This is particularly true for men, as heart attacks and disease are twice as common in males than in females.
However, intermittent fasting helps reduce this risk, as it not only manages and prevents weight gain, leading to cardiovascular strain, but also helps with male testosterone levels to prevent anemia.
Intermittent Fasting Improves Blood Pressure
Blood pressure and strokes go hand in hand, but fasting intermittently can help get that under control.
Those with high-pressure levels are four times more likely to suffer a stroke, and even marginally elevated levels put you at great risk. So, managing your pressure at normal levels through fasting is essential for your health.
Reduces Insulin Resistance
Insulin levels play a key role in diabetes, something which can affect men more than women.
Reducing these risk factors is nearly mindless during intermittent fasting, as the plan itself pushes your body into fat-burning instead of using glycogen in the blood, and can actually limit the need for medical insulin over time!
How To Start Intermittent Fasting for Men?
With intermittent fasting, men find it a great option to lose weight and gain a variety of health benefits— and starting is quite simple!
Read on for our top tips on how to begin and get the intermittent fasting results men look for.
Identify Your Goals via S.M.A.R.T. Framework
Having goals based on the S.M.A.R.T. theory is a great way to make sure they are achievable and keep yourself on track. The acronym stands for:
- Specific— Make your goals detailed instead of vague.
- Measurable— Set out a way to track your progress.
- Attainable— Assess how realistic your goals are.
- Relevant— Ask why you want to accomplish these goals.
- Time-bound— Set a time limit for extra motivation.
Adopt a Long-term Mindset
It’s important to view weight loss with intermittent fasting as a long-term change.
Instead of skipping breakfast occasionally or going a few hours without eating, accomplishing weight loss is easier if you view it as a full lifestyle change for the better.
Pick the Right Fasting Method
There are many types of fasting, and it’s important to choose the right intermittent fasting schedule for men.
Additionally, beginners should start small and gradually increase fasting times to succeed.
For example, start with alternate-day fasting or a shorter fasting period where you skip breakfast but eat lunch and dinner during an 8-hour eating window. Don’t jump right into a 24-hour fast— it will likely be too much for your body to handle comfortably!
Calculate Your Daily Caloric Intake
While daily calorie restriction does help you lose weight, it’s important not to lower your calories so much that you fall into the spectrum of malnutrition and subsequent overeating to compensate, likely leading to mood swings.
Instead, try balancing out your daily eating window intake with the DoFasting app— this helps determine how many calories you should be consuming, based on physical activity and type of fasting plan.
Create a Healthy Meal Plan
As previously mentioned, intermittent fasting involves eating healthy foods as well as calorie restriction. And the best way to approach this is by creating a meal plan in advance to help you schedule food and track calorie intake.
Make sure you have a well-balanced, healthy eating plan with plenty of lean protein, fiber-rich vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
You can even prepare some meals ahead— if you eat breakfast with your plan, try making it the night before to save some time. Plus, if you plan and prep meals, it saves money on grocery store trips and random food purchases.
How Long To See Weight Loss Results?
When you are on a journey to lose weight, it’s only natural to want results as soon as possible. In the beginning, you can expect to see rapid changes as you lose water weight, but the real fat loss comes later.
Losing weight healthily results in one or two pounds shed every week, so you can expect to see the full results within about four to eight weeks. By that time, you likely lost about ten pounds, which is an entire pant size!
Working Out While Fasting
Intermittent fasting and working out go great together.
Instead of finding yourself without the energy to pursue exercise habits on a diet with traditional calorie restriction alone, intermittent fasting gives the boost you need for physical activity.
However, you should strategically plan exercise and fasting schedules, including the type, frequency, and intensity of activity.
For example, high-intensity workouts are great during feeding periods, while low-intensity ones are good while fasting.
Plus, with intermittent fasting, the risk to lose muscle is much lower than other diets, and you can actually gain lean muscle mass and change your entire body composition healthily and naturally while fasting!
Does Intermittent Fasting Interfere With Bodybuilding?
If you want to lose fat while building muscle, intermittent fasting is still an option for bodybuilding.
In particular, men who want to gain muscle strength during a fast can still opt for resistance training to enhance muscle mass and quality.
Because the body needs carbohydrates as one of the macronutrients for building lots of muscle, intense weight lifting during fasting periods is likely not going to have the same effects, and you might find yourself running out of energy.
Time bodybuilding workouts for feeding windows and get plenty of protein in before exercising.
What To Drink During Fasting Time?
Though you cannot eat solid foods during a fast, there are several beverage options to keep you hydrated and quell the hunger pangs.
It’s important to drink water, either plain or with fresh lemon juice, of course.
But you can also have low or zero-calorie things like unsweetened tea, green tea, black coffee, and even bone broth, without breaking your fast.
What Can You Eat During Intermittent Fasting?
An intermittent fasting diet plan also includes time-restricted feeding, involving eating healthy meals and a well-balanced diet, which is important to remember— the right food consumption is as important as calorie restriction!
Sure, you do stop eating during fasting diets, but only during the fasting-hour window for a set time.
Outside of that, and during your time-restricted eating periods, skipping meals is not advised— but you still should follow a healthy eating plan.
A diet with the best results when not fasting is a ketogenic diet, as these foods are great to supplement your weight loss.
For example, eating protein-rich foods helps support muscle mass and aid in fat loss, while the fiber in vegetables helps keep you full and in good digestive health.
Other great foods to have are fruits and berries, whole grains like Kamut, healthy fats like avocado, and many more.
Above all, avoid processed and fast foods, refined sugar and sugary drinks, simple carbohydrates, and trans-fats during your diet.
They don’t give you a lot of substance for your day, and have actually been linked to increased risk of cerebrovascular disorders, heart disease, and diabetes, among other illnesses.
Who Should Avoid Doing Intermittent Fasting?
While intermittent fasting can be a great option for many individuals, some groups of people should not start an intermittent fast diet without the advice of a healthcare professional.
Those men who fall under this category include:
- Below the age of 18.
- Eating disorders or a history of disordered eating.
- GI tract issues.
- Sleep problems or insomnia.
- Taking certain prescription medications
- Underlying health conditions.
The benefits of intermittent fasting for men abound, from lowered glucose to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and of course, weight loss.
However, the key lies in choosing the right intermittent fasting schedule for men, with some being more effective than others.
This includes the 16:8 method, 5:2, Warrior Diet, and even a 24-hour fast for maximum fat burning and health benefits.
With intermittent fasting, men can get started fairly easily— you just need a long-term mindset, the right diet, and a readiness to change your life for the better!