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What is Intermittent Fasting? Can I Count Macros and do IF?

If you’ve got questions about incorporating both IF and Macrostax into your nutrition strategy, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions from Macrostaxers who are curious about trying IF.  

What is IF?

IF refers to the practice of splitting your day or week into periods of eating and periods of fasting or restriction. While there are various approaches to IF, the only one that’s compatible with Macrostax is the 16/8 method. This method, also referred to as time-restricted eating, requires you to fast 16 hours per day and eat all of your meals and snacks in an eight-hour “feeding window.” Though the 16/8 breakdown is widely accepted as the norm, there is some flexibility. For some, a slightly longer or shorter feeding window works best.

Proponents of IF maintain that fasting forces your body to burn fat (rather than carbs), which promotes weight loss. Other health benefits may include increased human growth hormone levels and decreased insulin levels. According to science, it’s not entirely clear whether time-restricted feeding can elicit these metabolic and hormonal changes. But don’t tell that to the people who swear by it.

What are the benefits of combining Intermittent Fasting with Macrostax?

Macrostaxers who love IF cite positives such as:  

Improved energy and satiety

Steph Weichel had been Macrostaxing for five months when she started incorporating IF into her routine. She not only noticed increased stamina during workouts but she also felt mentally sharper, and found her meals and snacks more filling. Aubrey Yeruba had been Macrostaxing for a few weeks when she started IF about six months ago. Since then, she’s noticed increased pep in her runs and HIIT workouts, which she does in a fasted state, dropping her run pace by 30 seconds per mile.

Better hydration

While a significant chunk of your fasted hours will be spent sleeping, there are still roughly eight hours where you’re awake but not eating. This is when water is going to be your best friend, especially if you’re the kind of person who forgets to hydrate. Instead of feeling like you need to drink water, you’re much more likely to want to drink water. And every gulp counts toward your hydration goals. Not sure how much you water you need? Macrostax tells you exactly how much you need here. (It’s probably more than you think.)

Clear up digestive issues

By giving your body a solid 12 to 16-hour break from eating (depending on what feeding window you choose), your digestive system gets a rest. For Steph Weichel, this translates into more regular bathroom habits since she starting IF. (Yeah, we went there.)  Malory Rodriguez was successful in advancing her body composition goals with Macrostax but found that when she incorporated IF into her lifestyle, the stomach aches that had plagued her practically disappeared.

girl shrugging her shoulders and looking confused

Which fasting window should I use?  

While the 16/8 breakdown is most popular, you can play with your feeding window to determine both how long to fast and when to fast.

Many people find it easier to gradually increase the time spent fasting and work up to 16 hours (or wherever they’re comfortable) starting with a much longer feeding window. For example, if you typically stop eating after dinner and you have breakfast at 7 am, for the first week you could hold off breakfast until 8 am, then push it until 9 am the following week, continuing until you acclimate to a 16/8 schedule, or wherever your “sweet spot” is.  

When you schedule your feeding window is entirely up to you. If you can’t train effectively on an empty stomach and your schedule only permits you to work out first thing in the morning, you’re probably looking at a feeding window of 5 am to 3 pm. On the other hand, if you don’t mind a fasted morning workout, you work out after work, and/or you love to enjoy a huge dinner, a feeding window of 1 pm to 9pm will be more your speed. You can play around to figure out which feeding window fits your lifestyle and preferences.

How am I going to fit all my macros into my feeding window?

It might seem daunting, particularly if you’re in a maintenance or gain phase, but it’s totally do-able. The key is planning ahead. As Macrostaxer and IF enthusiast Christie Paulsen put it,“The only time I have struggled is when I have not planned properly and come home to a ton of macros to eat. [It] feels like I’m at a pie eating contest.”

For many people, planning is not just about scheduling, but about having macro-dense foods handy. Whereas we commonly hear about the importance of eating nutrient-dense foods (think spinach and berries), when it comes to fitting all your macros into a short time period, it might make sense to trade some volume for density. For example, you could choose a cup of rice instead of 4 cups of steamed broccoli. Both have 45 grams of carbs, but you may not have room for all that broccoli when you’re doing IF, as opposed to spreading your meals out throughout the day.  

When should I work out?

This is personal and will take some trial and error and to determine what works best for your body and your schedule. That said, most Macrostaxers find that if you tend to work out first thing in the morning, doing cardio fasted works well, while your performance can suffer if you attempt to lift weights without some pre-workout nutrition. Aubrey Yeruba works out in the morning, but she does her cardio first, eats a pre-workout snack, and then does her weights. Steph Weichel does cardio first thing in the morning, hitting the gym around 5 am for a fasted workout. She breaks her fast around noon, and then weight trains in the evening after her work day.

Is IF right for you? The only way to find out for sure is to try it. But rest assured, you can absolutely use it in combination with Macrostax.

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