Nutrition is a key factor when preparing for a competition. One option to consider is intermittent fasting which is essentially, a break from eating. Some people choose to take day-long breaks then eat normally on the other four or five days a week, while others eat only during specified eight hours of a day and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Regardless of which intermittent fasting cycle you use, this eating style has its benefits and drawbacks. It is essential to speak with your doctor before you try this for competition prep.
Intermittent Fasting Drawbacks
The main drawback of intermittent fasting is you may be inclined to eat more calories during your non-fasting hours. Consuming excessive calories may actually set you back from your progress. In addition, if you have struggled with an eating disorder, intermittent fasting can trigger repeats of anorexia or bulimia, so this may not be the ideal eating plan for you. One last consideration are medications that regulate blood sugar levels or need to be taken with food, intermittent fasting may not be a practical option.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
The health benefits of intermittent fasting include resistance to disease, decrease in inflammation and fat loss. If you have tried other diets without success, intermittent fasting may work better for you, as you can enjoy a variety of foods during your eating hours and then fast for the others. It also helps to regulate hunger levels, which helps you consume less calories throughout the week.
Intermittent fasting can help you burst through plateaus and shed body fat while preparing for a bikini or figure competition, just remember to eat nutritious foods during your feeding period to avoid malnutrition and decreased energy.
For a detailed explanation on intermittent fasting, check out Jim Stoppani’s article