How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Get in the Best Shape of My Life

How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Get in the Best Shape of My Life

Our latest project at Heroic Strength is creating a fitness app, which we are very excited to launch in the next couple of months. The app will have several training programs as well as recipes and protocols for getting in the best shape of your life. In the process of creating this app, I realized I needed to get some promotional photos for it, which inspired me to get in the best shape of my life. So I wanted to share a little about how I did that with you guys, as I had to push myself harder than ever to get here. 

I started by picking a date and location for the photoshoot, so I had a clear idea of what I was working toward. I gave myself 12 weeks and chose to shoot at Muscle Beach in Venice, one of the most iconic places in California. In order to lean out (aka “cut”), I would slowly reduce my calories while increasing my cardio over time and weight train four times a week.

Photo cred: Lavina Lalchandani

The first part of the cut landed during the holidays, which was definitely challenging, but I made it through by keeping my goal top of mind. I allowed myself to enjoy a few treats for Halloween and Christmas, but in between, I was strict with my food choices. My diet consisted of my usual whole food, plant based meals. I was walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day and weight training harder than ever. My progress was steady, and I saw a big change in my body in the first 4 weeks. In early December, my progress began to slow down, so it was time for an adjustment. 

After consulting with Jaré (my wife and our resident Nutritionist) and discussing various dieting techniques, we settled on making a small adjustment to my macros and increased my steps to 12,000 a day. These small changes definitely helped, and a couple weeks later, I was mentally ready to take things up a notch. 

One dieting technique I had never tried was intermittent fasting (or time-restricted eating), although I had read about the potential benefits of it. Intermittent fasting is defined as a diet regimen that cycles between brief periods of fasting, with either no food or significant calorie reduction, and periods of unrestricted eating”. I felt this was a great way to experiment with my body without having to further reduce my calories just yet. Basically, I would fast (not eat) for 16 hours and then have all of my allotted calories within an 8 hour “eating window”. 

Photo cred: Lavina Lalchandani

After a brief adjustment period (I kind of missed my morning smoothies at first), I started to really enjoy this way of eating and saw more fat loss. The morning hunger dissipated, my moods were steady and my energy was high - all good signs. Sure there was the occasional craving and off-day, but that’s to be expected with any diet. Over time, I realized why this type of eating made sense for me. 

As a personal trainer, I’m up early and my mornings are busy. With intermittent fasting, I don’t have to worry about rushing breakfast. I just sip on coffee as I train my early morning clients. I get most afternoons off, so that’s when I break the fast and eat my first meal - which is pretty big. This is the second reason intermittent fasting works for me - I enjoy eating a couple bigger meals, rather than smaller meals throughout the day. By having a shorter eating window, I am able to stay satisfied despite being in a caloric deficit. 

As the weeks went on, I continued to get leaner than I had ever been before and was feeling great. Come photoshoot day, I was really stoked with how I looked and felt confident, knowing that I had given it 100%. This cut was really challenging but because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I was able to take my physique to a whole new level.

Intermittent fasting was a big piece of what made this cut successful for me and I am currently maintaining my results with it as well. As I mentioned, the 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol is working for me because:

  • I am busy in the early morning, so eating later in the day is more convenient for me
  • I enjoy eating bigger meals and am physically able to do so
  • I already had a good foundation of eating nutritious, whole food meals and am able to continue getting proper nourishment, just within a smaller eating window

Photo cred: Patricia Lapadula

This is my experience - it’s not medical advice or a recommendation for you. I wanted to share this story so you could see what it took to get myself here, and because it was a learning experience for me. Getting in shape isn’t easy - it takes patience and trial and error, even when you’re experienced with it!

While there are benefits to intermittent fasting, it’s not for everyone. We always recommend speaking to a health professional, dietician or nutritionist when considering dietary changes, so that you can do it in a safe, healthy way that works best for you. 

Before trying any type of diet or changing your eating habits, you must consider your current state of health and check with your doctor. First and foremost, you must eat a healthy, nutritious diet and the proper amount of calories for your goals, because that is what makes the biggest difference and is where you should start. Build that foundation first, and then you can move on to more advanced dieting techniques. 

The whole reason I did this photoshoot was for the new app we’re working on, which is going to be awesome! It’s coming soon, so stay tuned for more details, which we’ll share on our Instagram page and in our Newsletter

Ready to get serious about your Nutrition? Click here for a free consultation with Jaré, certified Nutritionist. Remember to follow us on Instagram for training tips and a sneak peak of what you’ll be getting with the app!

- Saul 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published