Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – unless you’re following intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity throughout pretty much every diet clan – especially the ketogenic diet community. Fasting may not sound attractive for snacking enthusiasts or fans of many small meals a day. Some fasting protocols are more extreme than others, but research suggests that it’s more sustainable and filling than you may think. If you’re opposed skipping out on meals – some research may make you think otherwise.
What is intermittent fasting?
Although there are several variations, the premise of them all is all the same: spend less time eating and more time not eating. For weight loss, research has shown that intermittent fasting can be a long-term, effective way of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The typical fast lasts arounds 14-16 hours with an eating window of 8-10 hours. This version seems to be a fan favorite. There are other versions that have been slower to fame – like the ‘every-other-day’ fast and the ‘25/115’ fast. The ‘every-other-day’ fast is self-explanatory, while the ‘25/115’ consists of eating 25 percent of your calorie needs one day, and eating 115 of your calorie needs the next. Using either means, you significantly reduce the total amount of calories during the week.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Many weight loss success stories have accredited intermittent fasting. However, research suggests that intermittent fasting can help you do more than lose weight. Here’s a sample of benefits you may experience while fasting:
- It’s easy. Little meals means little cooking. Its simple structure is easy to follow and is applicable to every diet preference. Intermittent fasting is also sustainable; The Atlantic reports that 80-90 people are able to stick with the plan long-term.
- Weight loss. Intermittent fasting has obvious benefits for weight loss, since you’re consuming significantly less calories in the long run. Besides reducing calories, this eating pattern works for weight loss because it boosts your metabolic rate, according to Healthline.
- Disease prevention. Intermittent fasting isn’t a cure for anything, but has showed promising results in prevention. By reducing blood sugar levels, intermittent fasting has protected people against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has also been linked to preventing/delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
Brain function. Studies show that intermittent fasting can gradually improve cognitive function. This includes improved learning and memory and decreased oxidative stress. That’s why fasting has been growing in popularity as a treatment for the obesity epidemic.
- Prolonged lifespan. This research is fairly recent and still in progress – but so far, the results have are positive among several species, Business Insider reported. The fresh research on humans so far has also been successful. The results are most likely because of the dips in bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Increased endurance. Intermittent fasting shifts your body’s fuel source from carbohydrates to stored fats – so basically ketosis. The fuel preference reduced their respiratory exchange ratio, or “the ratio of CO2 produced to O2 consumed,” according to Medical News Today. In other words, intermittent fasting makes for more efficient exercise.
Should I try intermittent fasting?
This tactic works for many, but it may not be your best choice. When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, they key factor is building sustainable habits. At Thrive Fitness, we believe that a well-balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle along with an active lifestyle. Any diet change should be made under a nutrition expert’s guidance. That’s why we have Holistic Health and Nutrition Coaches at your disposal. Contact Thrive Fitness Atlanta to talk about which diet suits your lifestyle today at email@example.com.
Cardio is oftentimes either drastically overlooked or underlooked. Many lifting enthusiasts forget to make time for cardio, while many athletes looking for weight loss resort to heavy amounts of cardio daily.
However, there’s no need to neither avoid it entirely nor run dozens of miles a week. The solution is either High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS). With the two differing programs, you could incorporate either of them to meet your cardiovascular needs.
What’s the difference between HIIT and LISS cardio?
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is typically more challenging than LISS. Only lasting about 20-30 minutes, HIIT consists of short spurts of maximum effort with even shorter spurts of rest. These 30-60 second intervals are sure to elevate your heart rate and burn more calories in less time.
- Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS): LISS is an excellent stepping stone into fitness because it’s not as challenging as HIIT. Activities like jogging, walking, and light biking are all examples of LISS cardio. Usually lasting longer than HIIT, LISS activities place less strain on your body – but it takes much longer to burn the same amount of calories.
The Pros of HIIT and LISS Cardio:
- You burn more calories. After an effective HIIT session, your body continues to burn fat hours afterward. This is because HIIT yields higher Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) than LISS. EPOC is your body’s way of cooling down after a workout – and the more intense your workout, the more your EPOC is stimulated. This is why HIIT is well-known for boosting metabolism.
- It takes less time. As long as you keep your breaks to a minimum, all you need is 15-20 minutes for a killer HIIT session. This makes HIIT ideal for busy individuals who don’t have much time for exercise.
- It builds muscle. In the matter of 20 short minutes, you can burn fat and build muscle. HIIT often incorporates strength exercises, which prevent you from losing muscle mass. Therefore, all the calories you burn are fat.
- It’s sustainable. Because LISS isn’t as challenging, you can keep it in your routine for however long you want. LISS should be something relatively easy and enjoyable.
- It’s safer. Since LISS doesn’t require bursts of muscle action, this makes it easier on your body. While HIIT can consist of plyometrics and other high-stress exercises – LISS doesn’t. You’re less likely to pull or injure yourself while doing LISS.
- It takes less recovery time. After you’ve established a level of endurance and muscle tone, your muscles are less likely to feel sore or exhausted after LISS. That means you can bounce back and repeat LISS workouts 5-6 days a week (be sure to take rest days).
The Cons of HIIT and LISS Cardio:
- It’s hard on your body. During HIIT, you’re constantly moving and doing exercises. It’s easy to get tired during HIIT and your movements may get sloppy – which may increase your chance for strain or injury. Staple HIIT movements like jumping and rowing can be taxing on your joints, as well.
- It takes more recovery time. Unlike LISS, you’ll likely have muscle soreness after HIIT since your muscles are growing by repairing themselves. Because of this, it’s best to do HIIT only 2-3 times a week.
- It can affect your nutrition. You may be taking advantage of how many calories you’re burning. Although it’s easy to shed 600 calories an hour (post-HIIT) – that doesn’t mean you should go splurge on fatty “comfort” foods.
- It can shed muscle mass. Because you’re not actively gaining muscle during LISS, the calories you burn can and do include muscle. If you’re looking to settle muscular imbalances or disproportions, LISS can help. If you’re trying to bulk however, HIIT may be best.
- It’s less convenient. LISS can take up to an hour, even more – so LISS doesn’t have the attractive convenience of HIIT. In order for LISS to be effective and burn a decent amount of calories, an hour is recommended.
- It burns less calories. If quick weight loss is your goal, LISS may not be for you. There’s no EPOC effect after LISS because it’s purely aerobic exercise.
So whether you like short bursts of intense activity, or lengthy runs of predictable exercise – there’s no excuse not to get some form of cardio in. HIIT may be more suited for athletes and individuals on the tenacious side. Whatever kind of athlete you are, you need cardio for the benefits it brings to your brain, blood, muscles, weight, mood, and more.
At Thrive Fitness Atlanta, our personal trainers can help you find out which kind of cardio and workout program is best suited for your goals and lifestyle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to inch one step closer toward your goal.