When we hear the keyword of intermittent fasting, we come to a well-known intermittent fasting feeding system. Today we will introduce you to mini-fasting – this is a new type of intermittent fasting, which is supposed to allow pain-free reduction of fat tissue while improving condition.
Strength trainers are quite often suspicious about the subject of intermittent fasting, if only because regular meals are a fairly important aspect of every training plan. Traditional “fasting” may look different. Traditional IF is usually a long several-hour fast and includes a few hours where you should eat all your daily calories. This is, of course, in a nutshell. Another option is not to cut the calories completely, but to limit them – we eat relatively normally for a few days, and then reduce the amount of calories.
Diet periods are usually more difficult, and for some even quite a big challenge when it comes to temptation. Another problem is the reduction in power due to the limited amount of supplied energy, but in the end it’s also about reduction. A variable diet can be quite heavy, especially due to this phase with a negative balance. In addition to the lack of strength, there is also the risk of muscle loss. Researcher Victoria Pons and her team conducted a series of studies on the impact of intermittent diet on body composition. The goal was to find a way to improve body composition, that is, reduce body fat while maintaining muscle.
Twelve athletes aged 18 to 50 were recruited. Each of them went on a diet, where every other day they reduced their calories by a modest 33%. This means that three days a week they had a reduced calorific value by 1/3 in relation to the rest of the days in which they ate “normally”, although in the vicinity of the zero balance. On both days the proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fat were the same.
A person who ate about 2,400 calories on normal days had 1,500 calories per day. Thus, the deficit was about 800 calories. Each participant performed an endurance test before and after the calorie restriction period with the collection of blood samples.
What did the study show?
After six weeks, the participants lost an average of 15% fat mainly from around the torso, arms and legs. Plasma triglycerides and cholesterol levels decreased by 14 and 4%, respectively. In addition, indicators such as heart rate, lactate level and tiredness have decreased. Of course, apart from positive results, there were also some negative. The study participants lost less than 3% of muscle, but you also need to take into account that they consumed quite little protein, 1g per kilogram of body weight. Even the researchers themselves have found that fat loss could have been more spectacular if the protein intake was increased to 2.3g per kilogram of body weight.
Another problem in the diet is that limited calories also meant limited nutrients. The daily intake of niacin, iron, riboflavin and vitamins A and D is reduced to 90% RDA, and the consumption of magnesium, potassium, zinc and folic acid were reduced to 48-67% RDA. You can, of course, refine the diet here, to choose products with a higher nutritional density or use supplements.
The mini-fasting protocol, which was examined by Victoria Pons and her team, seems to be a painless way to lose body fat while improving efficiency and health parameters.
How to conduct a mini-fasting protocol?
On the first day, limit your calorie intake by about one-third of what you eat. You can do this by replacing one meal with a pure protein, or a low-calorie cocktail or just reduce some calories in every meal. The next day, increase the calorific value back to your needs, the third time you limit it again and continue to alternate through the days – lower it one day and eat normally the other. Due to the fact that by reducing calories you will certainly reduce the amount of nutrients, add a multivitamin to your diet during this period, and if you have the time and the possibilities, compose nutritious meals.
Also make sure you consume the right amount of protein from 2 to 2.5g per kilogram of body weight, so you do not lose muscle.