Why follow the Fasting Intermittent Stages?

There are five intermittent fasting stages. Each stage has benefits for the body, especially when it is combined with exercise.

   • The first stage is known as “cortisol” and this stage does not give any direct benefit, but decreases the insulin resistance of muscle tissue so that more nutrients can be stored in these tissues during a longer period of time without storing fat deposits.

   • The second phase is called “post-training”, which leads to muscle growth by increasing protein synthesis.

   • The third phase focuses on decreasing postprandial blood sugar levels by activating hormone sensitive lipase or HSL. This hormone breaks down triglycerides, causing the fat cells to decrease in size and cause weight loss.

   • The fourth stage, which is “fasting”, has been called the stage of regeneration because it allows the body to rest after a long period of exercise. It also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

   • The fifth phase is becoming known as “ohmic” due to its benefits on weight loss and anti-oxidant properties. This stage will be discussed more in depth later in this article.

Each of these 5 Stages of Intermittent Fasting have different benefits for physical health, such as: reducing cortisol levels; increasing glycogen storage and increasing HSL activity. Other benefits include: decreasing blood sugar levels; regenerating muscle tissue; reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Increased growth hormone release during sleep phases (especially profound with certain protocols); improved insulin sensitivity if you are not in the fed state.

These five stages of intermittent fasting can be further divided into three phases. The first is called “fasting” which includes a 12-hour fast, the second phase is called “feast” where you eat your food within a short period of time; and the third stage is when you go from eating to waiting for another cycle.

In order to get maximum benefits from these three stages, it can be helpful to use water and/or mild thermogenic supplements such as green tea or coffee during your fasting periods because it will stimulate thermogenesis (fat burning). It is important to drink at least two glasses of cold water before starting your fast so that you activate this fat burning by increasing the secretion of hormones such as insulin and adrenaline.

The calorie restriction, the period of fasting, causes an increase in the production of human growth hormone (HGH) during sleep. This will help you burn fat while sleeping. HGH breaks down tissue proteins and triglycerides to produce glucose for energy needs or ketone bodies for use by other tissues such as the brain or heart muscle. Fasting also increases IGF-1 receptors on muscle cells which is important because this leads to increased protein synthesis. It also results in the breakdown of protein deposits, increased creation of new mitochondrial pathways that create cellular energy called ATP, and decrease failure of mitochondria over a time of living.

Intermittent fasting does not only cause weight loss; it improves your physical health as well. It protects your brain from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease by increasing the production of nerve growth factors during the morning hours when you are sleeping or in an extended state of fasting called “feast” (12-hour feeding window). This is not surprising because nerve growth factor, also known as NGF, is a potent neuro protective protein that has been found to protect neurons against oxidative stress that causes cell death.

With proper follow up of these five stages, you will soon accomplish your goals.