Dr. John Berardi, cofounder of Precision Nutrition, is a writer, coach, professor, researcher, and speaker that is well known in the fitness industry. Dr. Berardi experiments with various dieting methodologies on himself and others. His research advocates the multiple meal dieting approach. He recently shared his opinion on a dieting technique known as intermittent fasting (IF).
Intermittent fasting is a topic relatively new and unknown to many exercise enthusiasts. However, ancient religions have used similar methods of fasting for religious purposes (such as Ramadan in the Islam faith). It is a form of dieting that involves fasting for a chosen period of time. The possibilities for implementing fasting are endless. It could mean a single 24-hour fast per week or a daily 16-hour fast.
Intermittent fasting may be a difficult concept to consider for various reasons. It is understandable to fear rapid muscle loss, unbearable hunger and rock bottom energy levels. These are the typical concerns.
Is it possible however, that when put to the test, IF could lead to surprising and unexpected results? What if these results would be welcomed by many types of athletes? Dr. Berardi has indeed made key observations during his personal experimentations. There was a 10-12 day adaptation period that preceded good mood and energy levels. One client gained 20 pounds while experimenting with intermittent fasting. John himself was able to maintain 4%-5% body fat for five months.
Is he going to abandon his tried and true methods of multiple meals per day? No! However, this opens the door for more complex dieting methods and hybrid approaches. “For most people, as long as we eat the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference.”
T Nation: So, have you completely abandoned the six meal-a-day thing?
JB: Hell no!
As someone who's averaged four to seven meals per day for nearly 20 years, I'll admit that I was skeptical at first when looking at this intermittent fasting stuff. After all, the grazing concept has not only served me well, it's helped over 100,000 of my own clients and readers (and millions of people worldwide) get into better shape.
For most people, as long as we eat the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference. You can eat lots of small meals. You can eat a few big meals. You can even go an entire day without eating once in a while. It's all about what works best for your schedule, your appetite, and how you prefer to spend your time.
But with my IF experiments, I've been able to maintain my 20-pound weight loss (my body fat testing device still reads me at between 4% and 5%) for five months. That's pretty good, for me anyway. And I've even been able to play around with a few hybrid ideas where I use fasting some days and more frequent eating others.
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Currently an intern at Elitefts, Dan got his start in physical therapy school. He decided to change directions and is now a student at The Ohio State University majoring in biochemistry and dietetics. Lifting weights, HIT cardio, nutrition, personal training and tea brewing are his passions.