I’ve been a long time advocate of intermittent fasting weight loss approaches. While my experience and the experience of others clearly show how effective intermittent fasting for weight loss can be, the results and research from Dr. John Berardi go one step further. For years, Dr. Berardi has eaten meals every 3-4 hours and helped 100,000+ clients lose weight by doing so. He decided to experiment with intermittent fasting after reading numerous success stories. As a researcher, Dr. Berardi was able to track every aspect of his intermittent fasting results, from weight loss to blood work changes. His free report, Experiments with Intermittent Fasting, documents how he successfully used intermittent fasting to lose weight. I’d like to summarize some of his key findings and show how they’re congruent with my experience.
Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight
In general, there are two broad Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Approaches. There’s weekly fasting where you go 24 hours without eating for 1-2 days per week and there’s daily fasting where you go 16-20 hours without eating every day. From my personal experience, I successfully lost a lot of weight using weekly fasting (Eat Stop Eat) but switched to a daily fasting approach (Leangains) to achieve my lowest body fat level ever. Ultimately, if you want to successfully use intermittent fasting to lose weight, you’ll have to create a caloric deficit. Fasting days just make that easier to achieve and allow flexibility to have cheat days as well.
Intermittent Fasting Results
Let’s jump right to Dr. Berardi’s results. He lost 20lbs and reduced his body fat from 10% to 4% with no discernable loss of muscle mass or strength. That’s impressive on its own and consistent with the experience of others who have tried intermittent fasting. Take a look at his before and after photos:
Dr. Berardi started with the weekly fasting approach. He found the most success when fasting one day per week. When he tried to do two days per week, it was too difficult for his body to adjust. Remember though, Dr. Berardi was already really lean and ate a very clean diet. If you have a lot of weight to lose, fasting twice per week might just be what you need to create a significant caloric deficit. I liked fasting twice per week because it allowed me to indulge in more of my favorite foods and still lose weight.
For the next part of his experiment, Dr. Berardi performed daily intermittent fasting, specifically utilizing the Leangains approach, developed by Martin Berkhan. This approach is more than just fasting for 16 hours per day as it involves fasted exercise, meal timing, carb cycling, and mostly clean eating, amongst other things. I’ve found that this approach is highly successful for both adding lean muscle mass and cutting fat. In fact, some research suggests frequent short term fasts like this can help reduce stubborn body fat. That seemed to be the case for me as I was able to reduce my body fat to 8-9% by utilizing as many Leangains tactics as my work and family schedule allowed. I continue to use a lot of these methods even while I’m going through Visual Impact Muscle Building and have seen some excellent gains in muscle mass with little to no fat gain.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Aside from using intermittent fasting to lose weight, Dr. Berardi describes other potential benefits of intermittent fasting. A few highlights include:
- Reduced triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation
- Increased fat burning, growth hormone release, and metabolic rate
- Improved appetite, blood sugar control, and cardiovascular function
As Dr. Berardi points out, most of these intermittent fasting benefits are achieved with a longer fast of 20-24 hours. There are indications that you can achieve these same benefits in 16-20 hours if you exercise in a fasted state. More studies need to be done before any ultimate conclusions can be drawn.
Is intermittent fasting for you?
I really think everyone ought to give intermittent fasting a try. If a lifelong six meals per day advocate like Dr. John Berardi can do it, then you can too. His intermittent fasting results speak for themselves. At a minimum, download and read his free Experiments with Intermittent Fasting book so you can see the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss. After that, if you have a lot of weight to lose, I’d recommend reading Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat. If you’re already in great shape, then consider the Leangains approach. Either way, you should be able to use intermittent fasting to lose weight and build a lean, defined body. I can honestly say that both approaches worked well for me.
- Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Approaches: Daily vs. Weekly Fasts
- Intermittent Fasting Diets for Long-Term Weight Loss Success
- A Great Fat Loss Combo: Intermittent Fasting and Cheat Days
- My Fat Loss Diet: How I Became an Advocate of Intermittent Fasting
- Cheat Stop Eat Your Way Thin: Cheat Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and Healthy Eating