A bulk of intermittent fasting (IF) effectiveness depends on the fasting method you decide to use. Different people use different IF schedules to lose weight and improve their overall health.
In this article, we will explain different intermittent fasting schedules and give you a glimpse into how your day could look like using some of the most popular ones.
Different Fasting Schedules
There are many different ways to practice intermittent fasting. Most of the methods vary depending on the length of your eating and fasting windows.
1. 14-hour fast
This is one of the “entry-level” forms of intermittent fasting. It is considered one of the easiest and most versatile because both new and experienced fasters can use it and still experience benefits.
The main gist is – you fast for 14 hours and have a 10-hour eating window. You can do it by either skipping breakfast or only eating later in the evening.
2. 16-hour fast
The 16:8 method is, no doubt, one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting. This model requires up to 16 hours of fasting every day, while the remaining 8 hours are dedicated to eating.
You can get the most out of 16:8 intermittent fasting if you follow these strategies:
- Eat your last meal at 8 PM, so you can easily fast for 16 hours before eating your next meal at noon the next day.
- Consider drinking zero-calorie beverages or water during the fast. That way, you won’t be overly hungry until it is time to break the fast.
- You may also want to fit in two or three meals within the 8-hour window. That way, you will still feel moderately full for the next 16 hours before eating another meal.
3. 20-hour fast
Some also call this fasting method the Warrior Diet. It is a type of intermittent fasting that requires you to fast for 20 hours before you’re free to eat within the 4-hour window.
This schedule is usually best for more advanced fasters.
4. The 5:2 method
This type of intermittent fasting requires you to eat as usual 5 days a week ƒand fast for the remaining 2 days.
Keep in mind that this can be altered by days. You don’t necessarily need to eat 5 days in a row and fast for the remaining 2 days. Instead, you can split the fasting days. For example, you can decide to only fast on Wednesdays and Sundays so you can eat for the other 5 days not included in the fast.
Which Schedule to Choose When Starting?
So, which of the above-mentioned intermittent fasting methods should you start with? Two of them are ideal for beginners: 16:8 and 14:10.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting method is the most popular and one of the most effective. However, you may not want to fast for 16 hours, especially as a beginner. In that case, the 14:10 schedule is your best option, as it’s easier and closer to what you’re already doing naturally.
A Day in the Fast
Feeling ready for your intermittent fasting journey? Here are some practical examples of daily fasting schedules to help you get started:
- For the 14:10 IF schedule, you can eat your last meal at 8 PM. and then fast until 10 AM. Between 10 AM and 6 PM, you are free to eat anything you want.
- Chose to fast for 16 hours? The most popular option is to skip breakfast, so drink plenty of water and a moderate amount of black coffee after waking up to keep feeling full for longer. Stock up on protein, fats, and whole carbs throughout the day. Close your eating window at 8 PM.
- If you’re brave enough to try the 20:4 fasting method, choose filling and nutritious meals during your eating window. When fasting, drink a lot of water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. Stock up on electrolytes, as your body loses a lot of them during prolonged fasts. To make it easier, choose an eating window during the day, for example, from 2 PM to 6 PM.
There are some potential downsides and dangers posed by indulging in prolonged fasts:
- You may become sick or experience constipation and headache if you indulge in a prolonged fast.
- Intermittent fasting may not work well if you are under medication. So, ensure you are not pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, or suffering from low blood pressure. Otherwise, you want to consult your doctor before fasting.
1. How long does it take for intermittent fasting to work?
You will experience some changes in your body and mind soon after starting, but it takes at least 10 weeks before most of the positive results become noticeable.
2. When to work out while intermittent fasting?
You can still exercise while practicing intermittent fasting. The rule of thumb is that you should work out not long after waking up. This goes a long way to boost the natural circadian rhythm of your body.
3. Intermittent fasting stopped working
Some of the things you can do if you’re experiencing a plateau or not seeing results are changing your exercise routine and avoiding the refeeding syndrome (eating too much too quickly after fasting for a while).