You’ve probably heard a lot about intermittent fasting, but you probably do not know of the best intermittent fasting plan. The method sounds easy and effective, but once you get down to do it, you’re almost bound to be found wandering. An intermittent fasting plan requires a detailed schedule of what you should eat and when you should eat it. The best intermittent fasting plan, according to practitioners, is the 16/8 method. The 16/8 method is also called, by some fitness enthusiasts, and one particular nutritionist, Martin Berkhan, as the Lean Gains protocol.
INTERMITTENT FASTING PLAN – THE LEAN GAINS PROTOCOL
The Lean Gains protocol was created by nutritionist Martin Berkhan. It is a nutritional methodology based on an intermittent fasting plan and training with heavy weights. This protocol is based on an intermittent fasting 16/8 method. This means that fasting periods of 16 hours are performed followed by feeding periods for 8 hours. This is known as the “feeding window”. That is, every day you have 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours to feed.
Example: if you ate the first meal at 3:00 p.m., you would consume all kilocalories between 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The next day you would eat again after 4:00 p.m. Fasting from the last meal, that is, we would eat again at 3 pm. Therefore, both 8 hours of food intake and 16 hours of fasting are followed.
PURPOSE OF THIS INTERMITTENT FASTING PLAN
The purpose of this intermittent fasting plan is to increase strength and muscle mass. This is done with the minimum accumulation of fat, also to both gain muscle and lose fat. In summary, this method is intended to help in the field of body re-composition. That means to lose fat while gaining strength and muscle.
Of course it has its own guidelines and it would be ideal if they were always followed, although sometimes some modifications can be made.
ABOUT THE PLAN
THE IDEAL TIME FOR FASTING
The creator posits that the fast is to be done throughout the night and morning hours, and break it at noon. However, fasting could also be broken later in the day depending on personal preferences and daily routine.
The recommendation to fast during the first part of the day is basically for social and behavioral reasons. Most people simply find it easier to fast after waking up and prefer to go to bed well satiated.
These intermittent fasting plan recommendations are also for reasons of adherence to the diet. Since the placement of the feeding phase later in the day is much better for most people. This depends on the person’s very own taste, of course.
Martin Berkhan recommends training about 3-4 days a week, focusing mainly on grinding it out on the heavy loads. While training only 3-4 days and training with heavy loads, the general recommendation is to focus on multi-articular and basic exercises, a full-body or torso-leg routine being a good option, including exercises such as chin-ups, deadlifts, squats or bench press, among others. You can of course add and subtract exercises, depending on which areas you want to particularly target, and what your own preferences are.
Ingestion of kilocalories will not take place in the fasting phase. The creator, Martin Berkhan, indicates that during this period we can include, if we wish, coffee (better only and if it is with milk with only a small splash), calorie-free sweeteners, dietary soda or sugar-free gum, all in moderation.
The majority of the daily intake of kilocalories is consumed in the post-training period. This may vary depending on the configuration we have, being approximately as follows:
- 95-99% of kilocalories after training if we have done the training on an empty stomach.
- 80% of kilocalories after training if we have made a meal before training.
- 60% of kilocalories after training if we have made two meals before training.
NUTRITION DURING FASTING
It is not necessary to eat macro-nutrients every day. Macro-nutrients and kilo-calorie intake are always cycles throughout the week. The details depend on your won fitness goal: fat loss, muscle gain, etc. Generally:
- Carbohydrates: their intake is higher on training days and they are lower on rest days.
- Fats: they are lower on training days and increase on rest days.
- Proteins: High every day. Look for some recipes on how to make protein cookies at home.
Although it is better to train on an empty stomach, the creator recommends ingesting a few BCAA’s before training (about 10 grams). In addition, one of the best ways to fill up on your protein count everyday is whey protein. Whey protein can be really beneficial for muscle and strength gain.
The creator of Lean Gains also recommends several supplements to take daily. These supplements are multivitamins, fish oil, vitamin D and calcium, in addition to vegetables such as broccoli.
WHAT TO EAT ON REST DAYS
The first meal should ideally be the largest meal on off days. On the contrary, the largest meals will normally be right after training during training days. This first meal on rest days should contain about 35-40% of the daily intake of kilo-calories, this meal being very high in protein.
This is also not strict, since if the person’s preference is to eat a larger meal at night instead of at noon, it does not have the most catastrophic consequences. The important thing is to enjoy and adhere to the diet.
POINTERS TO TAKE AWAY
Intermittent fasting (Lean Gains protocol), is a very potent nutritional strategy with many benefits, but is not magical. First, it is necessary to know that to obtain great results, intermittent fasting must be accompanied by good nutrition and adequate training.
It is clear that it is a good option and a very useful tool for people who want to gain muscle without accumulating fat. It is especially good for people who want to be fitter and want a body re-composition.
People with a large amount of muscle mass may not have a good time eating all the kilo-calories in only 8 hours. The question of the plan’s adherence is simple. If it is very difficult to follow the Lean Gains method and you are not enjoying it, leave it. Not everyone responds the same and not all protocols are for everyone.