When I started intermittent fasting over five years ago, it was not a popular nutrition approach. In fact, it was frowned upon by many “celebrity trainers”. Those trainers would say that intermittent fasting is not sustainable, and that it’s restrictive. The adage was that you need to eat before and after exercising.
At the time, I was desperate to feel good because I was at the height of my fitness career. Traveling to film videos in California and gunning for Master Trainer of the Year accolades. I was at my leanest and had abs, but I knew something wasn’t right because I was tired all the time!
That’s when I decided to see a functional medicine doctor to take a closer look. After seeing my blood work, I heard the words “prediabetes” and insulin resistance. Of course, that shook me and that was all I needed to hear to make some changes.
Research shows that yo-yo dieting may increase insulin resistance, a condition that occurs when your body can’t efficiently use the insulin it naturally produces. In simpler terms, this is a precursor to metabolic disease. At the timemy body was not processing carbs and glucose efficiently, so the feeling of fatigue was my biggest warning sign.
Here’s the thing though, I was not eating tons of carbs or heaps of sugar. I would track my food in MyFitnessPal and eat every two to three hours. It was a constant process of dieting down, restrictive eating, and then eating whatever I wanted until my next “prep”.
In 2017, I began to do my own research. I was on a mission to improve my metabolic health. At the advice of a Master Trainer colleague, who drank Bulletproof coffee every morning, I started listening to podcasts and reading books on intermittent fasting (IF).
I leaned into the work of Dr. Jason Fung, the author of The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting, as well as former Ironman and triathlete Mark Sisson of the Primal Kitchen podcast. I wanted to look good and feel good.
I have since repeated my bloodwork in 2019 and just recently in 2021 with having normalized my fasting glucose as well as insulin response markers. Full disclosure, I am not a medical doctor or a dietician.
The information I provide is based on my own personal experience, my experience as a health care professional, and Master Trainer. Any recommendations I may make about nutrition, supplements, or lifestyle is for inspiration and informational purposes only.
Intermittent fasting is a scheduled eating plan. That’s the basis of it, so let’s keep the discussion simple. We all fast while we’re sleeping, so if we’re able to extend our fast into the morning then our body will make physiologic changes at the cellular level.
Our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar to be used as energy. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough, so we begin to burn our own fat for fuel. While that’s not the full scientific terminology, that’s the goal of IF that’s easier to understand.
There are many types of fasting protocols. I practice the 16/8 "Lean Gains" model that is geared toward athletes. The sixteen stands for the hours you’re not eating and the eight refers to your scheduled eating window. The time you eat is up to you and your lifestyle. For example, early risers have earlier windows such as 10:00am-6:00pm, 11:00am-7:00pm, or 12:00pm-8:00pm.
I suggest picking a window you can sustain. Your body will adapt, and you will notice you’re not hungry in the morning. Give this a solid week or two as the adaptation phase takes time and the change can be uncomfortable. It’s important to know that IF is not a meal plan or nutrition advice. Intermittent fasting is more about the schedule and sticking to the planned eating window.
Let’s use the scheduled eating window of 11:00am-7:00pm in this scenario. If you typically wake up and eat breakfast in the morning, then try pushing that first meal back.
Here’s an example of a day in the life with IF:
Drink water and Kleanse to jumpstart your metabolism.
Drink black coffee and leave it simple with no sugar or creamers. If you’re just getting started with fasting, then add one scoop of MCT Powder. This is the new and improved Bulletproof coffee way.
Begin your morning workout in a fasted state by either training or going for a long walk. If you need extra fat burning and a boosted metabolic effect, a great tool to use is LIT.
For post-workout, take BAANG as the branch chain amino acids will fuel your recovery. The added electrolytes will also help during your fast and the caffeine will keep you going.
It’s time to break your fast! I mix up my Greens and consider this my pregame meal.
Let’s eat some lunch! I love to have my signature “Big Ass Salad” for my meal. You can find this recipe in the Kam's Summer Salad Recipe blog post.
No snackingbetween meals to allow your body to burn its fat. Be active throughout your day by lifting weights and building muscle.
Time to pregame before for dinner, remember this is not snacking, have a lean protein such as a shake or a protein bar. The goal is to help satiate so dinner can be more controlled.
Dinner should be a higher fat, and higher protein meal. Satiety is important, but hydration and water are even more important.
Before bed take Nighty Night as an all-natural sleep aid. If you are going to use your electronics, be sure to put your blue blocking glasses on. Now go to sleep, all the while fasting, and repeat this IF schedule for the next day.
I highly recommend adjusting your IF schedule to best fit your day. The more consistently you fast, the more your body will adapt, and the longer you will be able to extend your window in the morning. When I started IF, I began eating at 10:00am. Now five years later, I can extend my first meal until the afternoon. Be flexible with your window and just know that it will get easier over time.
It’s human nature to want to know the rules. Normally I’m a rule follower, but for intermittent fasting I’ve kind of made my own rules along the way. During a fast, we want our body to adapt because we want to create a stronger body by utilizing our fat for energy so that we can get more out of our fast. While supplements are great tools, we do not want supplements to be doing all the work.
A general practice is anything above forty to fifty calories breaks a fast. Remember, my initial goal was to reset my insulin sensitivity. The normal response to eating calories provokes an insulin response.
You will not stop all the benefits of fasting if you have supplements. You can still get the benefits because the benefits come from lowering insulin. As your insulin goes down, you go into the fasted state and consuming food will break that fast.
The following three macronutrients will elicit a different insulin response: carbs will promote the most insulin spike, protein is in the middle, and fat does not spike insulin (hence MCT Powder with coffee is acceptable). Please also note that sugar and carbs will spike your insulin. Therefore, it’s important to always check your ingredient labels before consumption.
If you take supplements in the morning your insulin may blip up, but it will start falling again as the day goes proceeds. I always ask people “why are you fasting?” Because what breaks a fast truly depends on your reason. Are you interested in IF due to religious or spiritual reasons? Are you interested in weight loss or want a healthier lifestyle?
There are also variations to fasting such as water-only fasting or dry fasting. Those two types of fasting are intense and mostly for religious or medical fasts. If you’re like me, fasting to be healthy and to create a sustainable lifestyle then you have more flexibility with what breaks a fast. I believe the benefits of fasting with supplements far outweigh the rules. The goal is to make IF easier and to help you sustain this healthy lifestyle.
Note from Kam: This blog is not intended as medical advice. We hope it will be an informative and inspiring resource as you pursue a healthy lifestyle to live your best life.People who are on medications for diabetes, have a history of eating disorders, and are currently pregnant or breastfeeding should not attempt intermittent fasting unless under the close supervision of a physician.
de Cabo, Ph. D., and Mattonson, Ph. D. 2019. “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, And Disease.” New England Journal of Medicine, December 26.
Fung, J., MD. 2016. The Obesity Code: Unlocking The Secrets of Weight Loss. Greystone Books
Harris, Hamilton, Azevedo, Olajide, De Brún, Waller, Whittaker, Sharp, Lean, Hankey, and Ells. 2018. “Intermittent Fasting Interventions for Treatment of Overweight And Obesity in. Adults: A Systematic Review And Meta-analysis.” JBI Database of Systematic Reviews And Implementation Reports, February. https://oce.ovid.com/article/01938924-201802000-00016/HTML
Patterson and Sears. 2017. “Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting.” Annual Review of Nutrition, August. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-nutr-
Sutton, Beyl, Early, Cefalu, Ravussin, and Peterson. 2018. “Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, And Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes.”Cell Metabolism, May 10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413118302535