Can intermittent fasting actually help you lose weight? A new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago has approved at least one type of such a diet. The Leangains Method, also known as the 16:8 Fasting Diet, is effective at losing weight and lowering blood pressure.
The Leangains method, popularized by trainer Martin Berkhan, is one of the more popular styles of intermittent fasting. It basically restricts your eating time to eight hours a day, while you have to fast for the other 16 hours. Water is allowed during fasting times. The diet is even used by celebrities, with Hugh Jackman crediting it for his Wolverine physique.
Plus, the Leangains diet isn’t only a guide to lose weight. It can even be used to bulk up your body and is also recommended for those looking to chisel their physique.
Note: Intermittent fasting experts don’t recommend trying these diets for pregnant ladies, anyone with heart disorders, diabetes patients, or anyone under 18 years.
Leangains (Web): The Original Leangains Guide and Site
Martin Berkhan is widely acknowledged as the creator of the 16:8 style of intermittent fasting, which he dubbed Leangains. So if you want to go on this type of diet, naturally you should head to his site first.
But the site can be overwhelming, so start with Berkhan’s extensive Leangains Guide. It’s a comprehensive look at what the Leangains diet is all about, the philosophy behind it, the science that establishes it, and what you can and can’t do on it. For anyone looking at the 16:8 diet, this is the gospel.
Apart from the guide, Berkhan’s site has plenty of good information about the diet and the workouts around the diet. While he recommends specific gym-based exercises, there are also several no-equipment bodyweight training workouts you can try.
The biggest selling point of the 16:8 diet is that it doesn’t impose restrictions on what you can eat. It only restricts the time you can eat it at. But well, while that’s true, best results demand a little bit more discipline.
Damn Ripped made a calculator specifically for the 16:8 intermittent fast. Key in the time you start your fast, the number of meals you’ll have in those eight hours, any pre-workout meals you plan, and your rest/workout split. The IF Calculator will spit out how many calories you should eat, divided into proteins, fats, and carbs. It also tells you when to have recommended supplements like fish oil, Vitamin D, and calcium.
One of the aspects of the calculator is TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It’s an important metric to understand your health and fitness. How much and what you eat on the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet is directly influenced by your daily activity. In fact, IF diets help avoid the health issues of sitting too long. Don’t worry, it’s easy to figure out your TDEE because Damn Ripped has a calculator for that too.
BodyFast (Android, iOS): Automatic Schedule With Reminders
BodyFast is an app that automates your intermittent fasting schedule. While it can be used for other fasting diets, it excels at how it works for Leangains. It will take about five minutes to set up the app and start your 16:8 plan in it.
You can choose between the classic 16:8 technique (skipping breakfast) or the other popular method (skipping dinner). You can also move the hour marker so that your intervals start exactly at the time you want. Once that’s set, BodyFast kicks in with a timer that shows your current state (fasting or feeding) and how far the next state is.
As you might expect, BodyFast will send notifications based on periods. There is plenty of customization in the notifications, so make sure you check out that tab. And the app also tracks your progress, making it an effective health tracking app.
Zero is a perfect beginner’s app for intermittent fasting. It also has a nice take on the 16:8 diet where it tries to eliminate night-time eating. You are free to choose other fasting diets too and skip the night-time eating idea.
The Circadian Rhythm diet assesses sunset time based on your location, and counts how much time you are eating at night. The idea is to cut this out as much as you can, and start your fasting period as night falls. Since that will overlap with your sleep hours, it’s not only easier to do but also healthier, according to Dr. Satchin Panda who propagates the 12-hour diet. Getting in sync with your circadian clock is part of better understanding health and fitness.
With Zero, you can take that a little further to constitute the Leangains diet. Remember, in Leangains, you can still wake up and have your morning tea or coffee during your fasting period.
Apart from that, Zero is a wonderful app in itself that notifies you of feeding and fasting times, tracks your weight and goals, and so on.
The r/Leangains community on Reddit is the best resource to ask questions from those who practice this lifestyle. Some of the members have been using Leangains for over six years, so they’ve seen it all.
As with most fitness and weight loss subreddits, the community is welcoming and encouraging of newcomers. Just make sure you have read Berkhan’s Leangains guide linked above, as that is prerequisite knowledge before asking any question.
Keep in mind that this community adheres to the 16:8 philosophy (especially Berkhan’s version) rigorously. If you want to experiment or know a bit more, check the r/intermittent fasting subreddit.
Try a Different Fasting Diet
The 16:8 diet is only one of several types of intermittent fasting diets. The others too have some scientific backing in their weight loss credentials. If the 16:8 regimen seems tough for you, one of the other popular fasts you can try is the 5:2 Fast Diet.