Blog, Nutrition
intermittent fasting for weight loss

Using Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss (Step-By-Step Guide)

Uncover how to use this 1 method of intermittent fasting for weight loss to SKYROCKET your results.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you by saying intermittent fasting can be hard both physically and mentally.

Most people don’t have the willpower to put in the fortitude necessary to endure an entire day of not eating.

But this method is single handedly the most effective way to boost your fat loss results if you’re willing to go through the pain to reap the benefits.

So why is intermittent fasting so crazy effective for losing weight?intermittent fasting weight loss

It essentially puts your body in a highly efficient fat burning environment as it stimulates the hormones responsible for fat loss while simultaneously inhibiting fat gaining hormones.

Unfortunately, when most people hear of intermittent fasting they immediately take a step back but you have to realize that it’s probably the most natural method of fat loss.

As humans evolved over thousands and thousands of years food wasn’t always so readily available as it is today.

And this meant that there were some days when we just didn’t have food to eat.

So your body would use its fat reserves as fuel until it could find its next meal. Talk about old school fat burning.

Even this study found intermittent fasting to be as effective than calorie restriction dieting (but not by a whole lot).

In this study, 107 young overweight women were separated into two groups. One group reduced their caloric intake by 25% while the other group used a 5:2 intermittent fasting method of 5 days of regular eating followed by 2 days of eating only 25% of their daily calories.

The key with the above study is the intermittent fasting group was found to have a better improvement in insulin sensitivity than the calorie restriction group.

Insulin resistance is a huge factor driving weight gain and obesity so the higher sensitivity your body has to insulin the better.

The secret with intermittent fasting for our purposes is to strategically use it to skyrocket our metabolism so you maximize fat loss while keeping your lean muscle.

And Here’s How You Do Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

intermittent fasting to lose weight

First you’ll need to pick up some Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) which will prevent the breakdown and catabolism of muscle (muscle loss).

BCAA’s are essentially the building blocks of protein and I like to think of them as the “best parts” of protein.

The day prior to fasting you’re going to have a Cheat Day. The Cheat Day entitles you to eating just about anything you want until 8pm at night. I don’t like to make any rules on Cheat Day, but once the clock strikes 8pm you’re immediately in fasting mode.

For the next 24 hours you’re going to put yourself into intermittent fasting mode where you won’t be eating anything.

This means you’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up the next morning you can only drink water, black coffee or steeped green tea.

Anything as long as it’s zero calories, but you’re definitely not allowed to have anything with caloric content.

Some purest believe you shouldn’t even drink black coffee or tea because the caffeine still metabolized in your body. But I still think you’ll get the bulk of the benefits if you drink it.

It’ll also be way easier to get through the day without eating if you’re allowed to have some coffee and tea.

The reason we have a Cheat Day prior to the Fasting Day is simply because the massive influx of calories will elevate the leptin hormone in your body.

This essentially tells your body to start burning fat immediately.

You’re also going to take in your BCAA’s too on your fasting day.

To calculate how much you should be using take your body weight in pounds and multiple it by 0.3. Then divide this number by 6 and that’s how much you should take throughout the day in 6 separate “feedings.”

So I weigh around 200 lbs. that means I would take in 10g of BCAA’s over 6 doses throughout the day equaling to 60g total.

Once 8pm hits the next day you’re allowed to have a meal very low in carbohydrates. I usually eat some BBQ chicken with guacamole.

Like I said earlier intermittent fasting isn’t for the weak at heart but if you’re up for it get ready to experience some extreme fat loss results.

The 4:3 Method of Fasting

4:3 intermittent fasting method

An easy way to use the 24 hour fasting protocol is to divide the week up with 4 days of eating with 3 non-consecutive days of fasting.

I’ve found this to be the most effective strategy to using the 24 hour fasts when I need to take things to another level while keeping consistency.

Here’s a weekly breakdown of the 4:3 fasting week:

  • Monday: Fast
  • Tuesday: Eat
  • Wednesday: Fast
  • Thursday: Eat
  • Friday: Fast
  • Saturday: Eat
  • Sunday: Eat (I like to have a Cheat Day on Sundays)

You can of course change this schedule for what works best for you, but I’ve found for myself, friends and clients it’s the best.

This will allow you to still eat on the weekends, which can be hardest while fasting because we’re usually hanging out with friends and family at social gatherings.

Nothing worse than having to turn down somebody’s home cooking because you’re fasting that day.

Saturday’s I don’t go crazy pigging out, but when Sunday comes around I’ll usually end up splurging a little bit on my diet.

This not only helps to refuel my body but it’ll also cause my leptin levels to go back up.

Leptin signals for your body to burn more fat. Leptin levels can go down from fasting and restricting calories so it’ll be important to strategically raise them back up.

Having a small Cheat Day here and there will also keep you sane while using intermittent fasting. Taking away all “cheat foods” is going to be hard on anybody.

That’s why I like to have a guilt-free day when I can eat all the pizza and double bacon cheeseburgers I want.

Allowing yourself one day to go all-out will allow you to satisfy your cravings while boosting your motivation for the next fast.

Keep in mind that just because this will work for some people doesn’t mean it’ll work for everybody.

This study by The Journal of the American Medical Association found alternate day fasting to not by any superior to calorie restriction. Of course, this is just one study with many different involved factors while there are also numerous other studies proving the benefits of intermittent fasting.

The key is finding something that works for you and sticking with it.

I know so many people who have tried a calorie restriction diet and dropped out shortly after because it was too hard for them.

Meanwhile those who have tried various forms of intermittent fasting have found it works very well for them, and therefore they’ve lost significant weight with it.

If alternate day fasting is too much for you then keep reading for my personal favorite the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

how does intermittent fasting work

The problem with most diet plans is they’re way too complicated to follow so people just don’t end up doing them long term.

Finding something that works for you can be the hardest part of dieting.

The awesome thing about intermittent fasting is it’s about as simple as it gets when it comes to dieting for weight loss.

Most people who try to cut calories end up binge eating after a short amount of time because the “hunger pains” of constantly not being able to eat is too harsh.

Intermittent fasting solves this dilemma by only cutting out food for a limited amount of time before allowing your body to eat again without the severe restriction.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or diabetic then I wouldn’t recommend intermittent fasting without the approval of your doctor as you could be at higher risk for the negative effects of it.

When you have too much excess fat it’s essentially your body’s way of storing extra calories for later use.

Unfortunately for us this also makes our bodies less attractive.

When you’re fasting your insulin levels will lower dramatically. With these lower levels of insulin your body will effectively go into fat burning mode.

Your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels also naturally go up while fasting promoting more fat loss and muscle gains.

Another hormonal response in your body while fasting is your nervous system sending norepinephrine to your fat cells making them break down fat to be burned off as energy.

Even though eating more frequent smaller meals throughout the day can help you lose weight it doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

Paradoxically skipping meals with intermittent fasting will help you burn fat too.

Since you won’t be eating for an extended period of time you can expect to consume less calories than you would normally.

This means you’ll lose weight naturally without having to focus on cutting calories from your overall diet.

You can also expect to keep your hard earned muscle. This study found those who used intermittent fasting to lose weight had significantly less muscle loss than those who used a calorie restriction diet.

Can You Workout While On A Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss Plan?

intermittent fasting lose weight

First let’s dig into what kind of workouts that will maximally enhance the fat loss process on your fasting day.

Because of your massive decrease in calories it’s probably going to leave you without much energy. If you’re willing to take things to the next level then these workouts will do the trick.

In the morning A.M. I would recommend a Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) workout such as the Spartan Ab Workout and then if possible you should try to get in another High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout later in the P.M.

These workouts are unquestionable tough, but I can promise you they will effectively enhance your fat loss in addition to the Fasting Day.

I personally only prefer to do a Fasting Day once per week combined with carb cycling throughout the rest of the week.

For my goals I don’t think it’s necessary to fast more than once a week, but if you have some serious fat to lose than adding in additional fasting days can work too.

Just make sure you don’t go too hard too fast otherwise you’ll burn yourself out.

Even though intermittent fasting will get you some insane results it’ll be best to keep doing it long term to stay belly fat free forever.

I would max out with 3 Fasting Days per week by making sure you have a break day in between so you can consume some actual food.

I also recommend picking up some high quality Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) for your fasting day. They will prevent the breakdown of your muscle during your fast.

As we all know muscle is going to be important not only for toning the body but also to keep your metabolisms high.

Plus it’ll be way easier to get through the “hunger pains” that come with intermittent fasting. I’ve seen people who have fasted for the first time end up grumpy as hell. Haha

Another Way To Use Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

intermittent fasting 101

I’m also a big of the 16/8 intermittent fasting ratio for fat loss.

So for this method of intermittent fasting you would fast for 16 hours then go through an 8 hour feeding window.

I typically prefer to eat my last meal at 8pm then go directly into the fasting period. Then at noon the next day I’m allowed to eat again.

I try to time my workouts right before noon to maximize the feeding window so I can eat a slightly heavier carbohydrate meal.

Eat a larger carbohydrate meal after a workout will put some of those carbs into your muscle to enhance recovery and muscle building.

I’ve also found some people are better off using this method of intermittent fasting because it’s more sustainable than 24 hours fasts.

I’ll use the 16/8 method most of the time throughout the year for this very reason. Whenever I’m looking to step up my game I’ll start using more of the 24 hour fasts.

With the 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule you’re essentially just skipping breakfast. I like to use this time to really focus on work and get things done. There’s something about being hungry that can really push you to do your best work.

This study found the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting to be effective for fat loss while maintaining muscle.

The participants in this 8-week study were males in their 20’s and 30’s with at least 5 years of experience weight lifting.

Even though both groups ate similar caloric and macronutrient content the group using the 16/8 intermittent fasting method lost an average of 3.5 pounds compared to the control group that didn’t lose any.

The researchers concluded the reason why the intermittent fasting group lost more fat was due to hormonal releases in the body causing your metabolism to burn more calories.

You could say on its most basic level intermittent fasting “tricks” your body into thinking it’s dieting leading to extra fat burning.

This is awesome news for accelerating and enhancing your fat loss.

How Much Weight Can You Lose With Intermittent Fasting

How Much Weight Can You Lose With Intermittent Fasting

The 8-week study I mentioned above had the participants lose an average of 3.5 pounds over 2 months, but you have to keep in mind these young guys probably didn’t have much fat to lose in the first place.

They were young and have a long history with weight lifting so the odds they were overweight is not likely.

For the rest of us average Joe’s you can expect the weight you’re going to lose to be much higher. For ever week you use intermittent fasting for weight loss you can expect to lose 2-3 pounds per week as long as your eating clean the rest of the time.

Depending on how well you stick to your diet, training program and the fasting protocols you could easily expect to lose more weight up to as much as 20 pounds a month.

Intermittent fasting isn’t going to be very effective if the rest of the time you’re still eating bad.

The same rules apply to your diet…

  • eat a high protein diet
  • kick out the sugars and processed carbs
  • get most of your carbs from green vegetables

You’ll also have to keep your caloric intake under control, but you shouldn’t have to go so far as to keep a log for every meal you’re eating.

I just eat until I feel slightly full then I’ll stop and weight 10-15 minutes before eating anymore. It takes this long for your brain to register it’s full from the food you just ate.

It’s important to make sure you’re supplementing with BCAA’s to prevent muscle loss while you’re fasting. Muscle will break down quickly otherwise.

Muscle isn’t only important for your strength but it will give you the toned and attractive appearance. We’ve all seen people who are “skinny fat” where they appear to be thin but in reality their body is the composition of cottage cheese.

Using intermittent fasting to lose weight is a smart strategy to use to hack away extra fat you want off your body quickly.

The only problem is some people can’t handle not eating for 16 to 24 hours at a time.

I’ve found drinking a lot of water, black coffee, green tea and BCAA’s will help get you through it so you can come out leaner and thinner on the other side.

But to be 100% honest nothing works as effectively as the fasting method below…

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Guide

intermittent fasting eat stop eat

If you’re ready to take your fat loss to another level then I’d go with the EAT STOP EAT diet by Brad Pilon and Adam Steer.

I’ve gone through it multiple times and every single time I drop more and more fat.

They’ve really fine tuned the intermittent fasting process so you can fully optimize its fat burning potential.

There are wrong ways and right ways to go about using intermittent fasting for weight loss so it’s a good idea to make sure you have an expert to show you how to do it properly step-by-step.

I’ve never really seen people make such progress with losing weight in such a short amount of time as they do with intermittent fasting.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you out on intermittent fasting for weight loss by leaving a comment below.

Share this Story
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Josh Schlottman
Load More In Blog

34 Comments


  1. Shar Ron Mc Cullough

    March 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Josh this awesome information. This just what I have been looking for, where can I find BCAA? This is truly a blessing. I have gain 40lbs in the last 3 years. My BMI is 29. You know I desparetly needed this information. Thank you and GOD BLESS YOU.

    Shar Ron

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      June 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Hey Shar Ron, I used to take the BCAA’s by Athletic Greens but they recently stopped making them. I’m still experimenting with replacements. I’ll let you know when I find one.

      Reply

  2. Marizol

    March 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

    how often do you recommend doing the IF?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      May 19, 2013 at 10:39 am

      I only do it a few days a week but a lot of people who like it do it every day. All depends on how it suits your lifestyle.

      Reply

  3. Nesh Gold

    March 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Last week i started the intermittent fast diet. I didnt ate on monday, wednesday and friday (after the 24 fast i ate a normal meal) and ate on tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The first week I lost 1.5 kilograms (about 3.3 pounds). After two days of fasting I weighted myself this week and I have not lost weight. It is hard to fast for 24 hours and then found out that my weight remained the same… I am sure I can do this diet easily but I need to see results. I am 59 and cannot exercise as I was hitted by a car 3 months ago and broke 4 bones in my feet, and still am not strong enough to do high intensity training. Can you please help me?

    Reply

  4. Shircara

    June 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Great article starting this tomorrow.. And plan to fast every Thursday

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    December 2, 2012 at 3:52 am

    To the user who posted. Take medium-long.walks after you have been fasting at least 16 hours on your fast day. Make sure you drink lots of water especially on y your fasting days. Most importantly, do not worry about what the scale says you weigh, it depends too much on water retention and other factors. Just be consistent and stay inspired. I wish you the best.

    Reply

  6. Cristina

    November 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Can I drink black coffee with coconut oil in the mornings on IF days?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      December 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Cristina, yep you can drink black coffee while fasting. Go for it!

      Reply

  7. daryl gardner

    January 10, 2014 at 12:28 am

    can you fast 8pm to 12pm and still get weight loss results

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      January 12, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Yep, this is the time I usually do my intermittent fasting.

      Reply

  8. Tina Budnik

    July 11, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I have lost about 36 lbs and I range between 14-16% body fat. i am 150 and 5’6″. I an trying to drop a little more fat.. I can lift and build muscle quickly but I cant get rid of the extra trouble area. How long should I fast for? Any other suggestions?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      I’d try a 16/8 hour fasting schedule if you’re looking to add IF to your current dieting routine. Make sure the rest of your diet fits in within the right amounts of calorie and macronutrient intakes. I’ve found in my experience fasting doesn’t work quite as well with women in regards to fat loss as men, but it’s definitely worth trying.

      Reply

  9. Deanna Martin

    November 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Good info, planning on starting if tomorrow. Seems easy to do, you don’t have to worry about what you are going to eat next!

    Reply

  10. cody

    March 14, 2015 at 6:49 am

    What about intermittent fasting while breastfeeding? Before I got pregnant I did a 24 hr fast once or twice a week which worked better for me than a daily eating window….Any guidelines or thoughts?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      May 12, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Cody,

      I really wouldn’t recommend intermittent fasting while you’re pregnant. It will put some stress on the body which is the last thing you want to have going on while you’re pregnant and nursing a baby. If you think about it, if you were pregnant back in the caveman days during a famine that would place a lot of unnecessary stress on the body that could pass down to the baby. So I wouldn’t recommend it at all.

      Reply

  11. Grace

    June 8, 2015 at 8:03 am

    This technique of fasting is very different from what I’ve heard. Doctor Mercola suggest eating in an 8 hour time frame and fasting for 16 hours. Which sounds a lot easier to me.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Grace, there are many different forms of intermittent fasting. The 16/8 fasting to feeding ratio is definitely more sustainable for the majority of people and it’s something I also do from time to time. It all depends on your goals, how committed you are to them and the work you’re willing to put in. Go get it.

      Reply

    • Shay

      October 17, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Yes 16/8 works great for me, hungry in the morning, but i keep busy at work, so it works out!

      Reply

  12. Sue Kuras

    August 12, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Do I need to do my workout during my fasting time? I am fasting form 8 pm until 12 pm and can get my workout in at 5 pm. Will it still work for me?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Sue, yes this will still work for you. There is a lot of inconclusive studies out there with working out while in a fasted state. If you can only get your workout in at 5pm then that’s going to still give you great results when combined with the fasting.

      Reply

  13. Wallace

    September 17, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Hello! I’ve been following your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and
    give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

    Reply

  14. charles Hall

    November 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

    wouldn’t consuming BCAA’s break your fast? Also coconut oil in black coffee?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      As long as the BCAA’s are zero calories then it wouldn’t break your fast. Some experts out there go back and forth with coconut oil because the high fat content and MCT’s supposedly go straight into your body as energy.

      Reply

  15. Machel

    December 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I have started the fasting I fast from 8p.m to 4 or 5 p.m the next day. Basically giving me 4 hours to have dinner and snacks. I have been doing this for 2 weeks but haven’t seen any changes. I also walk every morning normally 2-3 miles then go to the gym and do some cardio and weight training. Any suggestions??

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Machel, you might be starving yourself by fasting too much. Try just the 16-hour fasting window and make sure you’re getting the right amount of calories and macronutrients in your diet. You can actually slow down your metabolism by fasting too much.

      Reply

  16. Tim

    December 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    40 year old male. 6’1 240lbs. Have literally struggled with weight my entire life. My problem is simple. I eat too much and too often. Starting IF ASAP. Hoping for better BP & Cholesterol level. I also walk an hour a day. Wish me luck.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      March 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Good luck Tim! Be sure keep us updated with your progress.

      Reply

  17. Laura

    July 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Hi Josh,

    When you take your BCAA’s, you said you (because of your weight) take 10g in 6 doses. I just wanted to make sure that what you mean is that you divide that one scoop of 10g BCAA’s into 6 small doses. Not that you take 10g six times a day (which would end up being 60g total). Can you clarify please? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Laura, I would take 6 separate servings of 10g of BCAA’s throughout the day (60g total) for my weight in order to keep my lean muscle. I’m a bigger guy so it’s important for me to get at least near that many BCAA’s for the day if I”m not eating anything else. It also helps to keep away the “hunger pains” that kinda drive you crazy wanting to eat something.

      Reply

  18. Tina

    August 6, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I’m just starting IF again. I did it a few years ago and lost 20lbs, but then it stopped working for me. I need to lose over 100 lbs to get down to an acceptable weight. I believe I did a 19/5 fast. I’m planning to do the 19/5 again, but was wondering if you have any tips on how to get over a plateau if it happens again? I thought about adding in a 24 hour fast to try to bump things if I get stuck or maybe a full day of eating normally. Maybe do a low carb day or 2 (I really hate low carb). Any suggestions? I need to get healthy for myself and my kids 🙁

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Tina, you might want to throw in a 24 hour fast once a week to break through your plateau. I’d also look into carbohydrate cycling to further your weight loss. I’ve found it to be the most effective!

      Reply

  19. Dana

    September 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    On another fast protocol. You can have cream in your coffee and bone broth if you want at lunch during the fAst. What are your thoughts on this. Also, how do you feel about artificial sweeteners like Splenda?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      September 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Hi Dana, thanks for your comment. From my experience having cream or butter during the fast will end up breaking the fast. Even though it’s all fat and will be mostly converted to ketones it will still break the fast. Bone broth doesn’t have any calories so it’ll have a much lesser effect. Same with artificial sweeteners. They’re zero calories but still cause metabolic processes in your body that lessen the benefits of a full fast. Ideally you’ll only be drinking water during the fast. But sometimes having some black coffee and bone broth to get you through the fast will still get you most of the benefits without killing yourself in the process.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Check Also

The Healthiest Cooking Oils For Weight Loss

It can be confusing trying to find a ...

Search

About Josh

trainer josh bio

Hey, I’m Josh.

I help good people get a flat belly with smart nutrition.

Let’s do this.