What you eat and when you eat are equally as important when it comes to weight loss and maintaining overall health. And I talk about the ‘what you eat’ part in this video.
This post is all about ‘when you eat’. That’s where intermittent fasting comes in. If you’ve been watching my videos, you’ll know how powerful it is when it comes to fat loss and all its other therapeutic benefits.
And there are many different intermittent fasting schedules that you can follow. The question is, what is the best intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss?
Before i answer that question, let’s quickly go through the different intermittent fasting schedules and then I’m gonna give you my personal recommendation that I’ve seen to produce tremendous results every single time.
This is the exact same intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss that I used to transform my body and this is also the exact same schedule that I give to all my private coaching clients and they’ve all gotten some amazing results so you know it works. Alright, let’s dive in in further detail in this video.
The 12 Hour Fast
First up is the 12 hour fast. Back in the 60’s, this was completely normal.
You would eat breakfast at 7 am for example and then you would finish eating dinner at 7 p.m. You have a balance of a 12 hour eating window and a 12 hour fasting window. And we didn’t have an obesity epidemic back then.
And then everything changed when the USDA released its first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is your classic food pyramid where the base is you’re eating 6-12 servings of grains and then you’re eating five servings of fruits and vegetables. And then the very top of it is that you would eat fat sparingly.
This is your classic high carb low fat diet that was released back in 1980. That was also the start of the obesity epidemic in the US. We switched to a high carb low fat diet and we also started eating more frequently.
Snacking became a normal thing. We started eating more refined carbs and processed carbs. Granola bars, protein bars, and meals on the go, became a regular thing on our diet. We went from three meals a day back in 1960 to six meals a day. The thought of missing a meal became sacrilege.
We started eating more processed carbs which triggers a high insulin response in the human body. And this is important because insulin is what controls your body weight. And persistently high levels of insulin because of this high frequency of your meals causes insulin resistance this is also called metabolic syndrome. Which is the precursor for pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
If you’re new to intermittent fasting, the 12-hour fast is your baseline. Especially if you’re one of those people who eat six meals a day. If you snack on food all day, the 12-hour fast is step number one. You want to just start by eating three meals a day like a normal human being.
I personally think that if everyone just ate three meals a day, and they ate whole foods unprocessed foods, we would not have an obesity epidemic. But again, there are levels to this. And the 12-hour fast is that first level.
But if you’re trying to lose weight and you have a lot of weight to lose, the 12 hour fast simply isn’t enough. It only gets you to that break-even point. Which leads us to our next best intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss
The 16 Hour Fast
The 16 hour fast is more commonly referred to as the lean gains method. Its popularized by a guy named Martin Berkhan and it’s probably the most popular and the best intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss.
The protocol is pretty simple. It asks for a 16-hour fasting window and an eight-hour eating window. Ideally, in that eight hour eating window, you’re only eating two big meals. For example, you eat a late breakfast at 9:00 a.m. and then you finish eating dinner by 5:00 p.m. That gets you your eight hour eating window from 9:00 am until 5:00 p.m.
Another way to do this is by skipping breakfast. You then eat your typical lunch at noon and then you finish eating dinner by 8:00 p.m. So your eating window then is 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. The latter is what I normally do because it’s really easy to skip breakfast. Most people are not that hungry first thing in the morning. I remember force-feeding myself breakfast back when I went to college and I was also fat back then.
But then you always hear the anti-fasting crowd say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And the short answer is, no. The word “breakfast” literally means “break-fast”. You’re breaking your fast from the night before. Which means that you don’t necessarily have to eat first thing in the morning. Your “breakfast” is whenever you eat for the first time the next day. Which means that you can have your breakfast at noon.
The other thing is if you’re eating pop tarts, breakfast cereal, instant oatmeal, or your definition of breakfast is stopping by your closest drive-thru window and ordering a breakfast sandwich, you’re way better off skipping breakfast altogether. If that person is you, breakfast might be the most important meal to skip.
A major advantage of the 16-hour fast is that it’s really easy to follow. Most of the time, we schedule lunch and dinner with friends and family. We don’t really schedule social gatherings for breakfast. So when you consider social norms, the 16 hour fast makes it possible to not miss out on social events.
And you can ease your way into this. If you’re somebody who’s
used to eating breakfast at 7:00 a.m., see if you can adjust it to 8:00 a.m. Adjust it an hour later. And then 9:00 a.m. and then 10:00
a.m. and eventually you’re just gonna want to skip breakfast altogether.
It’s also been shown that the benefits of fasting doesn’t start until the 16 hour mark which makes it the minimum effective dose of intermittent fasting.
The 20 Hour Fast (The Warrior Diet)
Next up is the 20-hour fast and this is more commonly referred to as the Warrior Diet. It’s popularized by a guy named Ori Hofmekler. Apparently, Spartans back in the day only ate in the evening hence the name “warrior”.
The Warrior Diet asks for a 20 hour fasting window and a 4-hour eating window. When you follow this protocol, you’re usually eating just one smaller meal following by a bigger meal or vice versa.
Adherence to this intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss isn’t as high compared to the 16 hour fast. Because you need to start planning ahead especially if we have events going on that day. Let’s say you’re meeting up with people, you’re meeting up with friends and family for lunch and dinner. You need to plan ahead because you only have a four hour eating window.
But it works really well in terms of fat loss because now your fasting window gets longer and you’re allowing your insulin levels to get really low for a long period of time. It’s also kinda hard to eat a lot of calories in a 4-hour eating window which automatically puts you in a caloric deficit.
The 24 Hour Fast – OMAD Diet
Next up is the 24-hour fast. Some people refer to this as the “OMAD Diet”. You can check out my video all about it where I went seven full days just eating one meal a day and it produced tremendous results.
As the name implies, OMAD means just one meal a day. You can go from dinner-to-dinner, lunch-to-lunch, or breakfast-to-breakfast. Just pick one that works best with your schedule. Despite the name, you don’t actually go a full day without eating.
I personally think that this is one of the most powerful methods of intermittent fasting because you allow your insulin levels to get really low for 90% of the day. And then you’re just eating all your calories in one meal. It’s kinda hard to overeat at that point.
You can still do a 24 hour fast even if you’re taking medication because again you’re not going a full day without food. Now, a 24-hour fast is a more advanced method of intermittent fasting and you definitely want to put more effort into this. You need to plan ahead of time. If you have a lunch meeting or you’re meeting up with friends for dinner then you want to schedule your one meal around that time period. But it’s totally worth doing because its effectiveness is almost unparalleled. It just takes a little bit of time to get used to.
Again, if you’re somebody who typically eats six meals a day, I don’t recommend going from six meals a day to just one meal a day. There are levels to this. Start by eating just three meals a day. And then do a 16 hour fast. And then from that point, you can decide if you want to continue extending that eating window up to 20 or 24 hours.
Then you get into extended fasts like a 36 hour fast, a 48 hour fast, a 72 hour fast, or even a full week (7 day fast) without eating. But those are definitely more advanced methods of fasting. I find that the longer you go, the harder it is to follow.
And then things get taken up a notch when you get into dry fasting where you go for a short period of time without food or water. It sounds pretty wild but Muslims actually do dry fasting every year during the period of Ramadan. They go from sunrise to sunset without eating food or drinking water and they’re perfectly fine.
But again, that’s when it starts to get pretty inconvenient because a lot of people at least can go without food but it’s definitely way harder to go without water or coffee first thing in the morning. And I’ve tried all the intermittent fasting methods that I just mentioned and you can check out my videos about them here.
Here’s the thing. Adherence is everything when it comes to achieving long-term sustainable results. You want to aim for the minimum effective dose/ You want to aim for the minimum amount of work. For this instance, the minimum amount of fasting window that still gets you maximum results.
I personally think that the best intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss is by doing a daily 16-hour fast combined with a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. Depending on how aggressive you are in terms of achieving your fat loss goals.
That strategy does two things. I mentioned earlier that a 16 hour fast is the minimum effective dose of intermittent fasting. So you definitely
want to do that. Honestly, even if you just do a daily 16 hour fast especially if it’s your first time doing it, you’re gonna get amazing results. Snd then if you combine it with a 24 hour fast once or twice a week, that’s when you really get into accelerated fat loss.
Because again, a 24 hour fast allow your insulin levels to get really low and your body is then able to tap into your fat stores for energy.
At the end of the day, the best intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss is the one that you’re able to stick to. As long as you’re doing some form of it, you’re way ahead of 95% of the population who thinks that eating six meals a day will somehow make them lose weight.
And this is my favorite question to ask to anybody who thinks that intermittent fasting doesn’t produce results. What do you think will happen if you don’t eat? What do you think will happen if you normally eat three meals a day, and all of a sudden you just eat two meals a day. You’re gonna lose weight!
If you do a 24-hour fast and you just eat one meal a day, you’re gonna lose even more weight. That’s not rocket science, right?
Schedule your fast around your life, not the other way around. Life is too short and you don’t want to miss out on special events because you’re fasting that day. You can always make it up the next day.
My last advice is that whatever intermittent fasting schedule you pick, make sure that you’re pairing it with a diet that moderates your insulin levels. I’m talking about the Paleo diet, the Ketogenic diet, or a low carb/high fat diet.
Make sure you revolve your diet around plants and animals. Make sure you’re eating nutrient-dense foods. Don’t drink liquid calories. Avoid processed carbs and added sugar. Do all those things and you’re really gonna maximize your intermittent fasting weight loss results.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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