DRS Guide to Intermittent Fasting – Everything You Need to Know!

Most of you must have been following fasting as a part of your spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions. Born out of this, is a new way of fasting – IF or Intermittent Fasting! This is something really very different and that your ancestors used to follow in the era when there was no refrigeration, microwaves, food delivery, and electricity.

If you wish to know everything about intermittent fasting, then read this post to explore every bit of it!

What is Intermittent Fasting?

It is a kind of eating pattern where you cycle between abstaining from food and sessions of eating food. You don’t have to restrict to calories or food. The focus is on timing. For this reason, it is also known as time-restricted eating. You simply have to condense your eating hours into a shorter time window.

Why You Must Go for Intermittent Fasting?

Our process of digestion is highly energy-intensive and it is not meant to be ‘on’ all the time. When we allow our digestive system to rest for 12-16 hours in a 24-hour session, it is able to work to remove metabolic toxins and junk, which develop in our body over time.

When we fast, inflammation within our body reduces down and our body initiates autophagy, which is a vital cleansing process that breaks down and revamps damaged cellular elements. when human growth hormone increases, it helps to burn fat, increase muscle, cartilage, and bone growth, and restores muscle mass. The levels of adrenaline, as well as norepinephrine, also increase that release energy while burning fat. The decreased insulin levels allow to burn fat rather than storing it, and lastly, leptin and ghrelin levels are normalized.

Due to activation of such processes during fasting, it is possible for us to experience numerous health benefits like stable energy, fat loss, reduction in oxidative stress, enhanced cognitive function, reduction, and prevention of degenerative ailments in the brain, slowed aging, enhanced longevity, and more.

You see, intermittent fasting, therefore, can be a great way to reduce fat. It is because it trains your body to abstain from food and prepares it to burn stored fat and use it, rather than relying on sugars.

Who All Can Go For Intermittent Fasting?

If you want to improve your health condition and become a better fat burner then you can be a good candidate for intermittent fasting.

Here are some suggested pre-requisites for intermittent fasting:

  • You are consuming a well-balanced healthy diet including fat, protein, and fiber.
  • You can consume three meals a day and no snacks without experiencing hypoglycemic symptoms like blurred vision, light-headedness, confusion, energy dips, getting angry, and more.
  • You can manage stress and have not to experience adrenal dysregulation.
  • You are getting sufficient sleep of 7-9 hours.
  • You exercise regularly.
  • Being a woman, she does not experience hormone imbalances like thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals, and others.
  • You are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You are not underweight or experiencing an eating disorder.
  • You don’t experience a chronic renal ailment.

Some Important Facts About Fasting

  1. Intermittent fasting is not about starvation. The aim of this fasting is not to restrict calorie, but to restrict time.
  2. When you do any kind of fasting, your body restores muscle mass and breaks down only fat tissue to meet the energy requirements.
  3. Finally, intermittent fasting will not slow down your metabolism. It’s true that staying without food can reduce the metabolic rate, short-term fasting maintains body health as well as metabolic rate.

The Intermittent Fasting Approach

There are numerous approaches to intermittent fasting. Here I have mentioned some of the options that might work best for you.

  1. 12-Hour Fast – This is the recommended plan for those who are just starting with intermittent fasting. It is the safest and easiest approach to follow as most of the people don’t have issues fasting for 12-hours. You can decide a suitable time for dinner, like 8 p.m. and do breakfast exactly after 12-hours, which is 8 a.m. In between, you don’t have to eat anything, but you can always consume liquids.
  2. Alternate-Day Fasting – This is another plan of fasting that involves fasting one day where you consume only 25% of the normal caloric value excluding starches or sugar. On an alternate day, you can eat whatever you want but not junk or processed food.
  3. 16/8 Cycling – This plan is based on the same strategy as the 12-hour fasting plan. But here, you just have to limit the eating window to eight hours and extend fasting to sixteen. Though it might be quite challenging as compared to the 12-hour fasting pattern, then the results are also profound. In this plan, you can eat dinner by 8 p.m. and have lunch by 12  in the noon to create a 16-hour daily fasting cycle. You can set a time frame as per your preference.
  4. The Warrior Diet – This plan involves consuming small amounts of raw veggies and fruits during the day and then consuming one big meal at night.
  5. 5:2 Plan – Just like the alternate day fasting, this plan allows to eat normally five days a week and limiting the calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days of the week.
  6. Eat When Hunger Ensures Naturally – As per this approach if you are not feeling hungry in the morning then don’t eat breakfast. Similarly, eat dinner only if you are hungry. Don’t eat just because it is the time. This way, you can decide to fast and whenever you eat, avoid consuming high-calorie food.

Tips To Experience Hassle-Free and Safe Intermittent Fasting

  • Start Slow – You can start slow by finishing your evening meal 3 hours before going to bed. If you can’t follow the 12 hours fast at once, aim for a fast of shorter duration for the initial weeks.
  • Gradually increase your fasting window to 13 hours for 2 weeks. Once it feels easy, you can extend the duration.
  • If you are hungry, you can take a few deep breaths. Also, drink some water when you are extremely hungry. If still not feeling better then go out for a walk.

To Sum Up

People having consistency with the IF schedules tend to get more success with it as compared to those with erratic schedules. It is because your body adjusts to a routine, which you offer it. Give your hormones enough time to adapt to the new schedule.

Also, you can try to different intermittent fasting patterns and identify what works best for you and the schedule works best for you. It takes time for the body to get used to this way of eating. Once your body is trained to burn fat, you will be able to get all the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Hope this post is helpful for you to start with an intermittent fasting plan that you can adapt to your health and lifestyle goals!

CNS fatigue after strength training

CNG fatigue

Central nervous system (CNS) fatigue occurs after many types of exercise, but especially after strength training. While CNS fatigue also during exercise, the primary causes of CNS fatigue during and after exercise are probably quite different, and so we have to consider them separately.

#1. What is CNS fatigue, and how is it measured?

Like fatigue in general, CNS fatigue can be defined as a reduction in strength that occurs after exercise. However, CNS fatigue differs from fatigue in general because the reductions in strength occur due to changes in the brain or spinal cord. Such changes cause reductions in strength by means of a decrease  in the level of motor unit recruitment (or the firing rate) that is attained during the contraction.

Importantly, these changes inside the brain and spinal cord do not affect the level of effort that is exerted during a strength test. In fact, CNS fatigue occurs when the expected level of motor unit recruitment is not attained, despite a maximal level of effort being exerted. For example, when performing a set of reps to muscular failure, the perceived level of effort is maximal at the point of task failure. However, this does not necessarily mean that the level of motor unit recruitment is also maximal at this point.

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The gold standard measurement of CNS fatigue is voluntary activation, which is measured by comparing the amount of force that a muscle can produce through voluntary effort with the amount of force that the same muscle can produce during involuntary electrical stimulation. Yet, non-local changes in strength are also indicative of CNS fatigue. For example, if a workout is performed for a single leg and reductions in strength are observed in the other leg, then this would indicate the presence of (systemic) CNS fatigue.

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#2. Does CNS fatigue really last for days after a strength training workout?

Despite the fact that some strength training experts continue to repeat the idea that CNS fatigue dissipates within minutes after the final set of a strength training workout, the research is clear that CNS fatigue often lasts for days after a workout, even in strength-trained individuals. For example, this recent study in male athletes found that ten sets of a heavy load strength training exercise for the quadriceps caused CNS fatigue that lasted for 48 hours afterwards.

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Similarly, this even more recent study that was performed in both strength-trained and untrained males found that ten sets of a moderate load strength training exercise for the quadriceps caused CNS fatigue that lasted for 72 hours afterwards.

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And most recently of all, a study in untrained males found that a bout of calf raise exercise caused CNS fatigue for 48 hours. This study tested the effect of a single-leg workout on CNS fatigue in both the trained and untrained legs, and found that there was similar amount of CNS fatigue in both legs during the period of time following the workout. This indicates that the main mechanism through which CNS fatigue is active in the days after a workout is systemic (which means that it affects the whole body) rather than local (which would mean that it only affected the trained muscle).

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#3. When does CNS fatigue take longer to dissipate?

As a general rule, CNS fatigue seems to take longer to dissipate after a workout when the overall amount of fatigue is greater and more long-lasting. For example, it is well-known that the overall amount of fatigue is greater and more long-lasting when training with light loads to failure compared to when training with heavier loads. Similarly, the amount of CNS fatigue is greater and more long-lasting when training with light loads to failure compared to when training with heavier loads.

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Similarly, it is well-known that the overall amount of fatigue is greater and more long-lasting after eccentric training workouts compared to after normal strength training workouts. In the above studies, CNS fatigue lasted for between 48 – 72 hours after exercise. However, some studies measuring CNS fatigue after unaccustomed, eccentric training workouts have recorded CNS fatigue lasting for longer than this. 

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Finally, it is also well-known that overall fatigue is greater and more long-lasting after unaccustomed workouts compared to after workouts to which the lifter is accustomed. Similarly, the amount of CNS fatigue is also greater and more long-lasting after unaccustomed workouts compared to after workouts to which a lifter is accustomed.

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#4. Why does CNS fatigue take longer to dissipate?

In the above section, we saw that CNS fatigue takes longer to dissipate after workouts that involve more fatigue in general. Workouts involving strength training with lighter loads to failure cause greater and more long-lasting fatigue (and CNS fatigue) compared to workouts involving heavier loads. Similarly, workouts involving eccentric training cause greater and more long-lasting fatigue (and CNS fatigue) compared to normal strength training workouts. And finally, there is more fatigue (and CNS fatigue) when lifters perform an unaccustomed workout compared to when they carry out a workout to which they are accustomed.

This seems to imply a link between certain aspects of fatigue in general and the amount of CNS fatigue that occurs after a workout. This link may be the inflammatory response that occurs after exercise, which occurs primarily in order to repair muscle damage.

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Indeed, research has often identified a strong link between inflammation and CNS fatigue. So it is logical that the inflammatory response after muscle-damaging workouts might also cause CNS fatigue. This then makes sense of the fact that greater fatigue overall is linked to greater CNS fatigue, because greater fatigue overall is likely caused by greater muscle damage. Greater muscle damage probably causes a more pronounced inflammatory response, and this in turn causes more CNS fatigue.

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#5. Why might some experts assume that CNS fatigue dissipates quickly after exercise?

There are two reasons why some experts might think that CNS fatigue dissipates after exercise. 

Firstly, the CNS fatigue that occurs during (and immediately after) exercise and the CNS fatigue that occurs in the days following exercise are probably caused by different mechanisms. The CNS fatigue that occurs during exercise is probably caused by spinal mechanisms (which probably dissipate quickly) and by supraspinal mechanisms involving afferent feedback (and subsequent increases in perceived effort). Thus, the CNS fatigue that is present during exercise does go away quite soon after the exercise is finished, as the causes of afferent feedback also dissipate. 

Nevertheless, the muscle damage that was triggered during the workout causes an inflammatory response, which rises quickly after approximately 3 hours. This inflammatory response is what is responsible for the CNS fatigue that occurs in the days after exercise, and it is unrelated to the CNS fatigue that occurs during exercise. Thus, if we focus on CNS fatigue in the couple of hours immediately after exercise, then we will likely observe a rapid removal of the CNS fatigue that was present during exercise. Yet, that does not mean that there will not be any CNS fatigue the following day, since that would be caused by a different mechanism.

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Secondly, some other measurements of CNS activity do go back to normal quickly after a workout (and not change in the days afterwards). For example, the reductions in corticospinal excitability immediately after a strength training workout disappear very quickly afterwards. While reductions in corticospinal excitability likely do contribute to CNS fatigue, they are not a good measurement of CNS fatigue. The best measurement of CNS fatigue is a reduction in voluntary activation, and another good measurement is non-local fatigue in a muscle that did not exercise.

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Yet, it is clear that changes in corticospinal excitability do not reflect changes in the ability to activate the muscle, because such changes are also even more pronounced after motor learning. For example, strength training at a slow tempo and motor skill training lead to similar long-term increases in corticospinal excitability, and these increases are greater than those that occur after normal strength training at a self-paced speed. It seems likely that the short-lived changes in corticospinal excitability after a workout are more closely related to adaptations in coordination than they are to temporary reductions in voluntary activation.

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Conclusions

Central nervous system (CNS) fatigue often lasts for a few days after a strength training workout, even in strength-trained individuals. The duration and extent of the CNS fatigue seems to be linked to the overall amount of fatigue. When workouts produce more long-lasting fatigue, they also produce more CNS fatigue. For example, workouts involving light load training to failure cause more fatigue (and CNS fatigue) than heavier load workouts, while eccentric training causes more fatigue (and CNS fatigue) than normal strength training. The CNS fatigue after a workout seems to be produced by the inflammatory response that is involved in muscle damage repair. When workouts cause more muscle damage, this leads to more long-lasting fatigue. However, it also leads to a larger inflammatory response, and this creates a larger amount of CNS fatigue.