Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight and caloric intake, some research has shown that it can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation.
Many of us wake up, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice biscuit or sweet treat to start off the morning. Here’s the thing though – this breakfast is not beneficial in any way.
Our body runs on sugars, predominantly a sugar called glucose – and when you constantly feed the body with sugar your body will not use any of the stored nutrients such as fat as fuel.
This can lead to weight gain, especially if you are overeating or if you have a slow metabolism.
This has lead many people to try fasting. Fasting, as you may know, is a process of eating the same amount of calories, yet in a restrict time period. In other words, most people will skip breakfast, fast in the morning and have their meals at around noon to early evening – only to fast in the late evening and during sleep.
The idea here is to increase your bodies natural ability to enter a state known as ketosis. The question is, does it work, and how healthy is it for?
The Problem With Modern Diets
Modern diets are filled with processed foods, fatty meats, sugary sweets and poor hydration drinks. The results of this is an ever-increasing rate of obesity and men who are not feeling the same sense of vitality they did when they were younger.
Truth is, as you age your metabolism slows and your testosterone production will decrease. This simply means that your body will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it once did in your younger years. This is one of the primary reasons why you should take more care to your diet.
Think back to how your ancestors would have lived. Chances are they didn’t get the chance to sit around for hours on end to be fed high fat, high sugar foods – it’s just not practical.
Hunter-gather, farmers, whatever generation of human you look at – they were always active and, for the most part, eating food as close to their normal state as possible.
Today’s modern diet has lead to a slow metabolism and an even lower function for health and performance. The question is, what can you do about it? Fast.
Before we get into fasting and how it can help it can be beneficial to understand how fasting works.
Why Does The Body Store Fats?
The body stores two main nutrients. Fats and glycogen. Fats for hormone production and insulation of organs, and glycogen to fuel movement and muscular contractions. Trouble is, glycogen (from carbs) is the first source of fuel. It is readily available in our diet and the body uses it very well.
Fats are then leftover to be stored – although they are very calorically dense, more than 2x more dense in energy than carbohydrates.
The body stores these fats so that it can use them in an emergency situation – one similar to a fasting state.
The Hype About Intermittent Fasting
People all over the internet are preaching the benefits of intermittent fasting but could eating at different times really increase your health, vitality, weight loss and testosterone levels?
Research has shown that fasting can enhance your bodies ability to secrete growth hormone. This is one of the primary reasons why bodybuilders and strength athletes will utilize a diet that emphasizes fasting phases (fasting 2 of 7 days of the week).
In addition to the increase in growth hormone, research has shown that fasting can increase the bodies ability to signal luteinizing hormone.
What is Luteinizing Hormone?
This hormone is one that works in both men and women to enhance our ability to be sexually active and productive. In women, luteinizing hormone can trigger ovulation, and in men, this same hormone works to stimulate testosterone.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You
Whether you know it or not, a fasting-based diet can have major benefits to your diet and health. Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight and caloric intake, some research has shown that it can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons why as a man you should give intermittent fasting a try. It seems that the benefits of fasting help the body to stimulate the production of hormones that are primary to testosterone levels in the blood.
Simply put, intermittent fasting can help you to increase your bodies natural ability to produce more testosterone when compared to those eating a standard diet – especially in overweight populations.
Increases Lean Body Mass
This point has a wealth of scientific relevance. At one point people thought that eating a high amount of meals, such as 4-6 meals a day could increase metabolism and thereby increase lean body mass and decrease fat – and to a certain extent this can work, but the rates of success are low.
In contrast, putting your body into a regular state of fasting has been shown to be a very effective way to increase lean body mass.
Research shows that a diet that is not calorically restricted, yet is engaged in intermittent fasting can improve lean body mass and improve overall weight loss and fat loss.
With all of these benefits, you might be asking yourself, how do I start fasting?
Best Methods for Intermittent Fasting
Fasting isn’t quite as simple as not eating. There are specific ways you should engage in a fast, and specific foods you should be eating in order to amplify performance.
The first and perhaps most popular way to fast is the 16/8 method. This method has you fasting for 16 hours of the day (including sleep) and eating all your calories in an 8-hour window. The benefit to this style of fasting is that for many people it is not very difficult, but the downside is that in many cases this may not be a method that works.
Most research on intermittent fasting has been conducted on the 5/2 method.
One of the oldest ways to fast, yet not nearly as popular as the 16/8 method. The 5/2 method is relatively simple, you will completely fast (eat no calories) for 2 of 7 days of the week. The remaining 5 days will have you on a more traditional diet.
The 5/2 diet is good in the sense that there have been many, long-standing clinical studies to show its benefits, but many people may find it difficult to adhere to.
One of the most interesting diets in the world of fasting is the warrior diet. Popularized by Ori Hofmekler. The warrior diet is quite simple and asks dieters to follow their instincts with their food – instead of sticking to macronutrient schemes – to just eat what foods they think are best, ones that a warrior would eat.
This, in many cases, means eating one meal a day in the evening. You should engage in a fast for the majority of the day and have one large meal, consisting mostly of animal meats, some fresh fruit and vegetables and a minor supply of grains from oats or ancient grains high in fibre.
Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone
Whatever method you choose for fasting you will see that there is an increase in weight loss, potential strength and testosterone. Although most research is conducted on the 5/2 method you should remember that the reason fasting works are because it increases your bodies ability to secrete luteinizing hormone – which is a male and female sex hormone.
Changing the way you diet to increase testosterone levels can be completed through intermittent fasting and a conscious attempt at eating complete sources of whole-foods.
CSEP – CPT, Expert in Exercise Physiology
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.