Personal Trainer

The Truth About Fasting

So, what’s a fast?

Simply put, it means you stop eating completely, or almost completely, for a certain stretch of time. A fast usually lasts from 12 to 24 hours, but some types continue for days at a time. In some cases, you may be allowed water, tea, and coffee, or even a small amount of food during the “fasting period.”

Turns out, we’ve been doing this for a while.

Fasting is common to just about every major religious tradition, like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates believed it helped the body heal itself. During Ramadan, many Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, every day for a month. This has provided scientists with quite a bit of information about what happens to your body when you fast, and the news is mostly good.

What motivates people to fast?

Besides religious practice, there are several health reasons. First, as you might guess, is weight loss. There’s also research showing that certain types of fasting may help improve your cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and other health issues.

Yes, You’ll feel like you’re starving.

Well, at least in the beginning. After a few days, however, the hunger usually gets better. Fasting is different from dieting in that it’s not about trimming calories or a certain type of food — it’s not eating at all, or severely cutting back, for a certain amount of time.

How safe is it to fast?

Brief fasting isn’t likely to hurt you if you’re a healthy adult, whether your weight is normal or you’re heavier. Still, your body needs good nutrition and fuel to thrive. So make sure to talk to your doctor first, especially if you have health problems or take any kind of medication. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or you have a history of eating disorders, you should avoid fasting of any kind. Kids and teens shouldn’t fast either.

What am I allowed to eat then?

When you’re not fasting, you can eat the food you normally would. Of course, you shouldn’t load up on lots of french fries and doughnuts. But studies seem to show that your health changes for the better when you fast, even if your diet does not. You should still add more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, too, if you don’t already eat enough of them.

“I’m likely to just eat more later”, you might reason.

You might. Still, you should try to eat a healthy amount of food and not stuff yourself after a fast. Quality still counts. But even among people who eat the same number of calories, those who fast tend to have lower blood pressure, higher insulin sensitivity, more appetite control, and easier weight loss.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

This is an off-and-on type of fasting. There are three main types that doctors have studied and people have used for weight loss and improved health:

  1. Time-restricted feeding
  2. Alternate-day fasting
  3. Modified fasting

Time-Restricted Feeding

This means you do all your eating in a certain stretch of the day, often around 8-12 hours. One easy way to do this is to skip one meal. If you finish dinner by 8 p.m., you’ve already achieved 12 hours of your fast by 8 a.m. Make it to noon for lunch, and you’ve fasted for 16 hours. You could also stop eating after lunch until breakfast the next morning.

Alternate-Day Fasting

It’s sometimes called “complete” alternate day fasting because the time when you don’t eat lasts a full 24 hours. You follow that with one or more “feast” days when you can eat as much as you want. Even though the studies are very limited, the results suggest that alternate-day fasting can lead to weight loss and improve health. But it may be pretty hard to stick to it over the long term.

Modified Fasting

This type allows you to eat around 20% to 25% of your normal daily energy needs on scheduled fast days — just enough to remind you what you’re missing! One popular version, the 5:2 diet, requires 2 days a week (not in a row) of 24-hour “fasting” except for a very light meal. On the other 5 days of the week, you can eat whatever you want.

Too Tough?

Complete, alternate-day fasting could be very hard to stick with over the long term. But other versions of fasting seem to get easier over time. You and your doctor may want to look into the specific plans to see what might be best for you.

Diabetes

Some studies show that fasting might help people with diabetes or prediabetes control blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and lose weight. Other recent research looking at time-restricted fasting disputes some of these claims. If you have either of these conditions, it’s very important to talk to your doctor before you make any changes to your medication, insulin use, or eating habits.

Athletes

Weight training may help you shed more body fat — but not muscle — when added to any weight loss program. Aerobic exercise like running, swimming or biking while on a time-restricted eating plan might help your cholesterol levels as well as cut down on belly fat. Still, you need good fuel. Make sure you cover your nutritional needs.

Strength & Conditioning

We offer a personalized, 1 on 1 10-week exercise and nutrition program with a certified personal trainer, in our private, purpose-built gym. Sessions would be three times per week, at 30 minutes per session. Participants perform three to six different strength exercises in a typical session, doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (each set lasting 25 to 35 seconds) for each exercise. The exercises change from session to session, progressing in intensity from week to week. Your personal trainer will gradually increase your weight load, roughly doubling in 10 weeks.

This is an intensive program and participants are carefully supervised by a Certified Personal Trainer. As your personal trainer, I highly recommend that before you embark on a similar program you book a consult with me, an exercise specialist who can help design a program for your needs and make sure that you’re doing the exercises correctly.

I also cannot stress the importance of consulting with your doctor or healthcare provider before you embark on a new exercise regimen. As your personal trainer all programs I offer require you to undergo a physical activity readiness questioner as your health and safety needs precede all aesthetic goals.

Tiger Athletic is a modern, private, appointment-only gym in Sandton, Johannesburg using a rigorous, results-focused methodology we are passionate about helping you be the healthiest version of yourself, so you can lead a more fulfilling personal and professional life.

Our sessions are strictly 1 on 1 just you and your trainer. There is nobody else in the gym and all equipment used is sanitized at the end of each session for the safety of all my clients.

Let’s Workout.