My Experience with Intermittent Fasting | Erin Stern

October 17, 2016

In the last few months, I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting (IF). I started out at around 14% body fat, and was looking for different ways to get leaner. In the past, I would increase the amount of activity in the gym, or I would decrease the amount of calories I’d consume. When prepping for a contest, I would cut calories and increase the intensity and volume of my workouts. I had been eating 5-6 small meals for so long, I thought it might be kind of nice to eat 1-3 larger meals per day. I had always loosely followed IF, as my meals typically fell between 8am-8pm. I began decreasing the window of eating time, 3-4 days per week. Some days, I would fast until noon and eat until 8pm. Other days, I would eat between 8am and 4pm. Once or twice a week, I would push the fast to 20 hours, and then eat one large meal.

At first, I saw great results. I reduced my body fat to 12%. Without breaking for food every 2-3 hours, I was able to focus more on writing/work. But as time went on, I noticed that I was starting to lose muscle.  In my leaner state, my body was breaking down muscle during the longer fasts. I also started losing strength in the gym. I slowly increased the window of eating time back to 10-12 hours per day, and started eating 3-4 meals. I’ve found that this has helped me gain muscle again, and with the help of BetaTOR, I’m staying lean!

Here are a few takeaways that I noticed with my experience of IF :

  • Eat the majority of calories (carbs especially), before and after training.
  • If you’re trying to get lean, don’t do more than 1-2 long fasts per week.
  • If you’re already lean, longer fasts won’t be of benefit. A 12-hour window of time for eating is fine.
  • Ease into fasting. Start with 12-hour windows, and work from there. Just like anything else, you get better at it with practice.
  • Keep track of your progress. If your energy is low, and your performance is suffering in the gym, readjust! Think about increasing the window of eating time and increasing the calories.
  • Set up a weekly plan for coordinating your fasts with times of lower activity.
  • Finish your last meal about 2 hours before bed. This will help improve recovery and will improve sleep quality.
  • Skipping meals during the day won’t help. The goal is to either eat breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner. Eating breakfast and then waiting until dinner will not give you the benefits of fasting and may cause you to overeat!
  • Coffee, tea, and water are fine. It seems that anything under 50 calories will keep you in a fasted state (results vary by individual, though).


Overall, IF can be a great tool for getting leaner, improving insulin resistance, and for decreasing overall inflammation. I felt that it also helped me improve my mindset and it increased my discipline. While I lost muscle with the longer fasts, I have been able to gain muscle with shorter fasting periods…and I’m not eating meals out of a Tupperware! BetaTOR has really helped me gain muscle and strength back!

Thank you for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia

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