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Intermittent Fasting: Science or Fiction


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In this video from the NSCA’s 2013 National Conference, John Berardi, PhD, CSCS, presents on the hot topic of intermittent fasting. John discusses the science behind fasting, its effect on athletic performance, and external influences such as food marketing and hunger, all while sharing his own personal experiences and lessons learned.


36 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting: Science or Fiction

  1. I would be happy to get to 12% body fat. Right now I am 6' and 183 lbs. I workout 5 times a week. Mix of weights, biking and core work. I do the 16:8 fast. If my body comp is changing it is very slowly changing. Occassionally I even do a 12 to 12 fast between Friday and Saturday.Whe I do eat do I need some special macro ratio to help out the getting lean?

  2. I follow the 16:8 method. Been fasting for about 3 and half weeks about 85-90% of the time and I feel great. More energy, less hunger cravings and I've lost a few pounds. I just skip breakfast because I find I'm not really hungry for that meal. When I do break my fast and get breakfast, I can rarely finish a whole portion of food unless I'm eating eggs. Feels like I have to force it. So this is working well for me and I'll keep doing it as long as I'm feeling the benefits.

  3. The power of it is in how it balances and optimizes hormones. It literally makes a mockery of the calorie model which says that anything but the calorie is irrelevant. It will never be fully endorsed by the establishment because there is no money to be made, no products to sell, no exercise to market, if everyone started intermittent fasting and doing HIIT for 6 minutes per week.

  4. If I eat breakfast at 8 or 9 or wait until lunch (12 or 1) to eat, I make sure that I have at least 18-21 hours of fasting in between the last meal and the next meal. I can go without sugar with no problem, but the hidden culprit is salt which causes water retention! If I steer clear of sodium and guzzle water everyday I melt off fat/water gain. I don't have nor desire cheat days. Sugar and salt are the real enemies to weight loss. I work out about 3-5 days a week. Lost about 45 lbs in 5 months. My entire attitude about food and exercise has flipped 180 degrees. Going to the gym is now habitual and automatic – I absolutely love it….whereas in the past it was always a debate that usually ended with procrastination with myself (lol). I look forward to sweating and working out hard now. I feel great about being a lazy bum on my off days – with plenty of rest because I worked hard to earn it. I now crave green veggies and have no interest in starchy or sugary foods. The cravings disappeared and never came back. When you look in the mirror and you see old clothes falling off and muscles emerging from places you never knew existed, that is firey fuel to power ahead with full force. The best thing about it is…. it's not a trend, this is until the end! Not a diet, but a real perpetual health focus! What we are doing is very different from our "diet and exercise" peers killing themselves in the gym and suffering at the dinner table. They gain the weight back most of the time because they did not break through that ketosis firewall responsible for reprogramming their metabolism and re-wiring their mindset toward eating and exercise. People think I'm doing some type of weird diet/drug voo-doo …it's funny! It's really just raw discipline at it's core. I now know exactly how to lose, gain or maintain the muscle/fat ratio – it's like cracking the code to your own metabolism…which is really in itself, a true super power!!!

  5. Thank you for honest, unbised advice. As a woman that works in a hospital and is in grad school- I know this is NOT for me. lol. My brother keeps trying to get me to do this and now I know why it never stuck, I felt awful and my mood was the worst.

  6. I know this video is old but as a young woman, I can say fasting rocks!!! During my period I pause it the day before and the first day, but continue without issue. I've yet to gain a pound back.

  7. His crystal ball may be right. I just heard about it a little over 3 months ago. I am currently on week 12 and down 23 lbs. I do the 4-hour window eating period (started out with the 8 hour and progressed to 4 hours) and ever since I started the 4 hour window eating this shit was over lol. My body is shedding fat and I'm just amazed, I also feel great as well. I do tons of HIIT tho, including skipping, stairs, plyo's and sprints. I hear it's not for everyone but I highly recommend if it fits your lifestyle. Thank you God for IF!

  8. Wow what a waste of time it was watching this presentation. Why talk about this if you don't know if it was calorie deficit that created the weight loss or if it was strictly fasting.

  9. female… between 3 and 4 weeks in… at 3 weeks had lost 6.8 lbs… 3 inches off my hips… 1 inch off bust… 1.5 inches off belly… .5 inches off my waist… not working out other than ranch rounds… m/tues… been eating 2 meals a day… w-sun 1 meal a day… experimenting… so far so good… taking it a day at a time… have quite a bit of fat to get rid of… only weighing once a week… my body can really fluctuate in weight from day to day… yes want the fat loss… but more interested in the inch loss… this is not a sprint… it is a marathon… and a lifestyle change… easier for me than constantly weighing and measuring out foods… eating mostly whole foods… lots of water… homemade bone broth… coffee…

  10. Great video!!! However, I was on board with the info given until you highlight how it may not be right for women. I realize this was posted in 2014 so perhaps you've learned more in the way of fasting effects on women are positive as it is for men. If you use your observation of cavemen famine and feast… weren't women there too? After all women couldn't eat until the men came back with the kill and wait till the food was prepared for consuming… right?

  11. I did intermittent fasting last 2004-05 just in accident I never heard that stuff before. I fasted for 16 hours and 8 hours for mealtime. I losses 20-25 kilos for a year, my vitiligo was re-pigment but it didn't help my hypertension and thyroid problem. But I feel great but the downside was it's hard to do it makes me hungry in the night. I am doing this for 6 days a week and one day rest. My skin so glowing but the thyroid and high blood was bad. But the difference I am just 29 years old that time. I am 41 now I am not sure if will work like before, I just start today and I will see if will work. After I stop it and hard to start over, it's about 4 years I gain weight again and my vitiligo was back.

  12. I've been IF'ing with restricted caloric intake for almost 2 weeks now. I haven't weighed myself, but i've lost 1.7 inches off of my waist. Started at a 40.8'' and now i'm at 39.1" :-D.

  13. I have to add something to this about IF. It's all about the planning. I IF for 14 to 16 hours a day. I eat in the morning from 430 to 530. I then do not eat till at least 6, or if I take my wife out, I won't eat till 830 9. I then fast from Saturday night till Sunday night for a 24 hours fast. IF is really easy to achieve. All you have to do is reschedule your eating habits. Make small changes like I did. I started with B, L, D with two snacks in between. Then I just removed the snacks. Then the lunch was split in to two small snacks. Then those where taken away. Boom now you are fasting like myself. And with Sunday's 24 hour fast just use the same method. It'll be easy since you are making small changes. Caution though: be careful about eating anything processed i.e. Fast food, wrapped snacks, white flour; or high in processed sugars. You will be extremely jittery and crash hard. But that's about it. You'll make so much better choices since your body will start craving healthier foods since it's not gunked up with all that processed junk.

  14. So, if I were to do this, would it be smartest to ensure I eat right after workouts at the minimum. Wouldn't catabolism take place if I were fasting through a workout and to the next day? How do you keep the body eating fat and not muscle? I will not take supplements such as BCAA's. Also, if we don't know if it's due to a reduction in calories or the intermittent fasting itself, wouldn't someone blow up like a balloon if they started eating normal small meals again? This needs to be done very carefully to prevent metabolic damage or a reduction in calories lower than the BMR. Also, I don't know how great this is for someone with self image problems. Sounds like an eating disorder waiting to happen for someone who doesn't truly understand the right way to do this… I want to read more about peoples successes and failures with this type of eating plan so I can understand it better.

    Thanks for this video.

  15. Wake up, don't eat anything until 1:00pm then eat whatever the fuck you want. Stop eating at 5:00pm. Go about your night, sleep, get up and do it again. Do this every day. IT IS NOT A DIET! It's simply eating within a specific window. Black coffee, black tea, BCAAs, and water are all fine during fasting hours. Give it 2 weeks to really kick in. Then get ready to have to buy a whole new wardrobe. No shit, my wife and I have been doing it for a year, the results are amazing.

    When you feel like you can't do it. Just pull your head out of your ass, and realize that you don't have to be constantly shoveling food into your mouth. Look at the fat on your body, let that be your "fuel"

    Try it

  16. Every time we eat, we suppress our testosterone and GH so the less meals we eat each day, the better. Make sure that you consume enough calories in the day, though!

  17. I used to eat 5 small meals a day. I only eat 1 meal a day now. I got tired of preparing food and taking time out of my very short life to devote to eating. Eating more often than you actually need to can be a real time waster. 1st world problems obviously.

  18. Good presentation….. I have been doing the 16/8 for about a month and saw results by week 2. i only lift 3 x a wk now and only for about 30 min. or less. I have been seeing gains in strength and loosing body fat. Like JB mentioned in the video it might works best for those who have been cognizant of caloric intake. I am 52 and a life long lifter/runner/cycler/racquet baller/hiker/x fitter/Hi-intensity work out/Bikram Yoga/etc…. Before this, I was one of those I who had to eat every 2-3 hours.

  19. How I lost 3lbs/week for 4 months (169 to 132lbs). But at the same time, building up muscles and getting cut. Don't be fool by losing 3 lbs per week, you want to lose 4-5 lbs of fat and gain 1-2 lbs of muscle.

    1. p90x (double)
    2. intermittent fasting
    3. Only eating lean proteins (salmon, chicken breast, white eggs) and veggies and fruits, protein bars (high protein and low in calories, and low in fat). All meat is steamed or boiled, while veggies have no sauce. Also 15 almonds per day. No carbs allowed, the cheat day, you can eat a slice of cereal wheat bread.
    4. Be consistent until p90x is done. Drink lot of water and rest.

    You will not be functional at work, but if you can do that for 90 days of your life, it will be the best thing you have ever done. Only dumb people will put work before workouts.

    If you don't work out, then you must know diet will not reduce your body fat %.

    Bottom line: Most intensive workout, perfect moment to eat, perfect way to cook, healthiest food choice you can ever make, lowest calories intake as much as you can. All you need to do is to suck it up, tought it and stop crying. Because you don't need motivation to succeed. It's a homework for 90 days, not a party.

    On a final note, you sex drive will be so low that you won't even care for hot girls, because at the end, they are the one who go after you.

  20. Intermittent fasting is science! Yes, it is! I've been doing it regularly a few times a month and it's just awesome. But I admit, it was somewhat difficult when I first got started, but as it becomes a part of my lifestyle, it's now effortless for me and beneficial.

  21. It's a very good introduction to Fasting, although I don't agree that it necessarily adds stress to your life. As a young parent and psychiatrist I've got a lot of challenges coming into me right now and IF in the exact approach that you show at the first half of the video has helped tremendously.
    Thanks a Lot for the info.

  22. I've been on both sides, and the problem here is overcoming that mental block. When I was eating 5-6 meals, i felt afraid and scared if I miss my meals which could result in muscle loss. It took me months of test to believe that intermittenat fasting works more effcicenlty

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