5 Favorite Intermittent Fasting Methods Explained

intermittent fasting methods

As I’ve shared in earlier posts, Intermittent Fasting (IM) is so great for your health.

Not only can it help you lose weight and belly fat (1), but it also helps with:

  • cellular repair
  • hormone regulation (2)
  • lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes (3)
  • preventing Alzheimer’s (4)
  • preventing cancer (5)
  • reducing cholesterol (6)
  • reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (7)
  • increased longevity (8)

For a fast review of IF you might like to refer to The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting.

There are a few different ways to do IF. And I love this, because we’re all unique. We don’t need a “one size fits all approach”.

If you’re like me, you want a plan that fits your personality, style and life. So here they are.

The Most Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods

1. The 5:2 Diet

This one was developed by a British journalist and doctor, Michael Mosley. It involves eating normally 5 days of the week and greatly limiting caloric intake the other 2 days.

During the fasting days it’s recommended that women restrict their calories to 500 per day, and men to 600 per day.

So, for example, you might choose Tuesday and Thursday as your fasting days. You could enjoy 2 small meals of 250 to 300 calories each of those days. Or your eat all of your calories all in one meal. Then the other 5 days you would eat normally.

2. 24-Hour Fast (Eat-Stop-Eat)

Fitness expert Brad Pilon made this method popular. It’s recommended to do it only once or twice a week since you’re completely fasting for 24 hours straight.

It’s fine to have calorie-free beverages, such as black coffee, green and herbal teas and plenty of water.

If you’re not sure you can go a full 24 hours that’s fine. Start with 14 or 18, then work your way up.

Many people begin their fast after dinner one night, then break the fast the following night at the same time.

3. 16/8 Fast (LeanGains)

This is my favorite way to IM because (for me) it’s easy and fits my schedule. And this keeps me motivated. Also, I don’t feel like eating when I wake up, so the 16/8 allows me to simply grab my coffee and go.

With this method you’re fasting each day for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. This is also known as the LeanGains method, which was started by fitness guru, Martin Berkhan.

The easiest way to do 16/8 is not to eat after dinner, then skip breakfast. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 pm, and don’t eat your next meal until 1 pm the following day, you’ve fasted for 16 hours.

Some recommend women only fast 14 to 15 hours at a time, but listen to your body. If you are able to go the full 16 and still be healthy about it, then go for it.

4. 20-Hour Fast (The Warrior Diet)

The Warrior Diet was started by Ori Hofmekler. The plan here is to fast for 20 hours, then eat one large meal in the evening.

Something that makes this plan unique is that during the 20-hour fast, you’re allowed to eat small snacks of Paleo-friendly foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables, juice and protein.

Some fasting purists say that because of this The Warrior Diet isn’t a fast at all.

Either way, many people have had great success with it.

5. Meal Skipping 

intermittent fasting methods
You may want to try some different IF methods to find the one that’s right for you.

This is a less structured way to fast that some people enjoy. If you don’t feel hungry for breakfast one morning, simply skip breakfast (or lunch, or dinner).

And don’t worry about what you may have heard about meal skipping. You will not lose muscle or go into starving mode.

This is all a myth. Our bodies are actually quite adept at going without food for long periods of time, so skipping a meal or two here and there is fine.

So if you’re not hungry, or you’re too busy to stop and eat, just skip a meal and eat later.

Special Considerations

If you have an eating disorder, IM is not recommended.

And please keep in mind that it’s not for everyone. Some people love it, but others don’t, and that’s okay.

The Takeaway

IM has some pretty great health benefits including weight loss, increased longevity, and decreased risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s. It can also simplify your life because you spend less time prepping meals and shopping for groceries.

We’ve covered 5 of the most popular Intermittent Fasting methods here today. There is no right or wrong way to do IM. You might want to try a couple of different methods before you find the one you like the best.


Have you tried any of these IF methods? Do you have a favorite? Please share in the comments below!


Finally, if you’d like to learn more about IF you might like to check out:

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4 Comments

  1. Just started doing IF last week. I do a 24hr fast from 7pm Sun – 7pm Mon. Then do 16-8 Tues – Sun. So far, no real changes to my body, but I do feel more energetic and seem to be sleeping better as well. Im pretty fit, so it’s harder for me to lose weight. Starting a new weight lifting program this week as well. We’ll see how things go after 6 weeks or so.

    1. That sounds like a great IM plan. Thanks for reporting your increased energy and better sleep. Aren’t the results encouraging?!

      Please check back and let me know how you’re doing after incorporating the weight training. Thanks again for your comments and hope to see you back soon!

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