If you have been checking out our previous videos and blog posts, then you know we are huge advocates of intermittent fasting. However, if you don’t know the tricks on how to make intermittent fasting easier, the process can be easier said than done (and women find it especially difficult to follow).
The greatest barrier for most people trying out intermittent fasting is the hunger pangs. We want to reap the benefits of fasting, but hate going through the sensation of an empty stomach. How can you manage a growling and protesting stomach? There are various coping strategies, but we’ll outline the top three strategies used by followers of our program with great results.
Before proceeding, we recommend reviewing our intermittent fasting guide. It explains the ins and outs of going for an extended period without eating. It covers the groundwork and the “how” and “why” of it all, so definitely recommended.
That said, let’s get into the strategies for making intermittent fasting easier and more effective…
Tip #1: Stay Hydrated
The first tip is the easiest of all. It’s also the most avoided. And I get it – it’s not fun having to piss every 20-minutes. It’s inconvenient, and it feels like a chore sipping bland and tasteless H2O.
However, staying hydrated throughout the day has its various benefits. Among these is helping you stay satiated so you don’t get hungry. Sometimes, the hunger you think you feel is actually dehydration.
Start with at least one glass of water first thing in the morning. If you enjoy coffee, go ahead and have a cup, but continue to drink water as the day progresses. Many people immediately report less hunger and feeling more energetic. The process becomes more manageable without as much willpower involved.
Water also aids in the fasting process itself. When you go without food, the body uses the opportunity to detoxify the liver. Water is needed to carry the toxins out of the body via sweat and urine. Obviously, water is required to pee and sweat. If you don’t stay hydrated, the body will use its reserves, leading to further dehydration.
Remember, the body is 70% water; the brain is about 75% water. Studies also show that athletic performance decreases when you’re even 1% dehydrated. This can really hurt your performance in the gym if you’re training while fasting.
The takeaway? If you want the best intermittent fasting results, drink water and lots of it. The few extra trips to the loo is a small payoff.
To help with this, and as you’ve seen in countless videos and posts by now, I love drinking sparkling water throughout the fasting period in the morning – which is tip #4 from this post that you might find helpful as well. The carbonation helps stave off hunger until you break your fast, and it actually tastes really good (the lime-flavored Perrier is awesome).
Tip #2: Drink Bone Broth
If water alone isn’t enough, or if you’re just getting sick at the lack of taste, then give bone broth a try. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pull out the crockpot, save the chicken bones, and simmer the broth overnight. You certainly can if you prefer a homemade brew. Pre-packaged broth, though, is readily available in stores.
Broth does contain some calories, about 40 to 50 per cup, so technically you’re breaking your fast. However, the amount is negligible, and the trade of the micronutrient-dense profile of bone broth is well worth it.
Broth has long been touted as an appetite suppressant. The compound is rich in lipocalin 2, a hormone secreted by bone cells. Studies have shown that lipocalin 2 suppresses appetite in mice. It also regulates blood sugar and is currently being looked at as a potential supplement for combatting obesity.
On top of that, broth is also very nutrient-dense. During the early evolution of mankind, hunter gatherers did not let any part of a kill go to waste. Every part of the animal was used, including the bones for broth. This is how early man got a great deal of their nutrition – more than just eating muscle meats like chicken breast.
For use during intermittent fasting, heat and consume one cup of broth about midway through the fasting cycle or when you begin feeling the hunger kick in. If you eat anything at all during the fast, limit it to broth and maybe one piece of whole fruit. This will keep you satiated until it’s time for your meal.
Tip #3: Take BCAAs Before a Workout
Some trainers frown on the idea of heavy training on an empty stomach. They feel that a workout before eating leads to energy lost. Others also report that the activity makes them even hungrier and harder to get through a fast cycle.
If you fall into this camp, then add a branched chain amino acid supplement to your diet. Consume about 10 grams before a workout. Many have reported a greater and more sustainable workout capacity. This is because BCAAs bypass the liver and go directly into the bloodstream, making them immediately available as an energy source during a workout.
Like bone broth, BCAAs also have calories, but once again, the amount is negligible. Taking BCAAs also helps prevent muscle protein breakdown, which the body is susceptible to when training hard on an empty stomach.
In addition, BCAAs provide optimal muscle protein synthesis. It takes about 500 calories from a balanced meal to equal the serving of a BCAA supplement. Since BCAAs can enhance performance in a fasted state, you’ll train harder, inducing protein synthesis and burning more calories overall.
Case In Point: Intermittent Fasting Doesn’t Have to Be Torture
These three tips are just a few of the many ways to make intermittent fasting manageable. Feel free to implement all three tips or just one or two. Stick with what works; if you find one of these tips ineffective, then you are not obligated in any way to continue with it. The main point of this post is to help you achieve extraordinary intermittent fasting results. The tips are just pointers to make the journey feel less cumbersome.