Types of Intermittent Fasting

12:12 Upstart

12:12 fasting

Pattern: 12 hours fasting completely – no eating, drinking non-caloric drinks, 12 hours eating as usual every day

Why 12:12: Many people already fast without knowing it while sleeping. Some people skip breakfast or dinner. For this reason, sticking to a 12-hour non-eating window is fairly easy. To lose weight, however, you should be mindful of what you eat during the eating 12-hour window as it’s easy to overeat. You will experience an energy shift but may not lose as much weight as you wish.

Difficulty level: easy

Keeping up a 12 hour fast is a good start to Intermittent Fasting. It really is about extending the Non-Eating window around your sleep. If you sleep for 8 hours, you simply stop eating 2 hours before going to bed and you don’t eat until 2 hours after waking up.  No calorie counting is necessary.

5:1 Beginner/Maintainer

Pattern: 5 days eating normally, 1 day fasting Non-Fasting day: eat as usual, don’t count calories on a Fasting Day: eat no more than 500 calories for women/600 for men throughout the day. Calories can be eaten at once or over as many meals as you like. To regulate blood sugar, a maximum of 3 meals per day are recommended.

Why 5:1: It is recommended for people who are new to Intermittent Fasting and need to get used to limiting calories to 500/600 per day. They have tried 12:12 fasting and want to achieve higher weight loss. Or for people who have achieved their target and want to maintain their weight and not to lose more but want to continue to feel good and energized.

Difficulty level: easy

5:1 pattern requires only 1 day per week at 500/600 calories. It can be any day of the week you chose, as long as there is at least 1 Non-Fasting day in between. For convenience, it is better to stick to the same day as the body adjusts to the pattern, changing the day is absolutely fine.

5:2 Manager

Pattern: 5 days eating normally, 2 days fasting

Fasting Days: eat no more than 500/600 calories throughout the day. Calories can be eaten at once or over as many meals as you like. To regulate blood sugar, maximum of 3 meals per day are recommended Non-Fasting day: eat as usual, don’t count calories

Why 5:2: This pattern calls for managing 2 fasting days at a maximum of 500/600 calories for females and males per day with at least 1 Non-Fasting Day in between. Days can be adjusted as necessary during the week. Calories can be spread during the day as you wish, although up to 3 meals a day regulates blood sugar and cravings. This is probably the most common fasting pattern and brings a constant weight loss.

Difficulty level: medium

5:2 pattern requires 2 day per week at 500/600 calories. It can be any days during the week with at least 1 Non-Fasting day in between. It is reasonably easy to follow but requires a bit more meal planning and discipline. Results are noticeably more prominent than on the 5:1 type and provide the freedom to adjust fasting days to suit your lifestyle.

16:8 Housekeeper

Pattern: Fasting 16 hours eating nothing and drinking non-caloric drinks, followed by an 8-hour eating window when any food is consumed. This pattern repeats 7 days per week.  

Why 16:8: If you don’t want to count calories and don’t mind fasting every day, this pattern is for you. It incorporates sleeping time into the fasting time, making easier. It requires only time management, not calorie counting. Timing is essential to achieve the best results.

Difficulty level: medium

16:8 doesn’t require any calorie counting. It is a simple, everyday plan. It allows you to eat whatever you want as long it’s in the 8-hour eating window which you select. Time management is crucial for weight loss and the time you choose to eat should be the same every day. It’s great for those who stay at home, people who like a routine and have no social commitments or people working nightshifts.

20:4 Warrior

Pattern: 20 hours fasting eating nothing, drinking non-caloric drinks, followed by a 4-hour eating window, anything you want, no more than twice a week.

Why 20:4: Why indeed! This fast is for seriously dedicated people who don’t mind going hungry for a long time. The eating window is limited to only 4 hours when you can eat as much as you can, if you can. It’s followed by weariness due to the digestion period when energy level drops. It is, however, individual and we all may have a different reaction.

Difficulty level: Challenging

The biggest advantage of this type of fasting is the low preparation time. You simply don’t eat the whole day, when you do, you have 1 big meal or 2 if you can manage it within 4 hours. There is no question you really eat what you want, you are simply hungry. This is an extreme approach and has no special benefit in the weight loss game compared to other patterns. It could be beneficial to people with specific working or time restrictions.

800 Racer

Pattern: 800 calories consumed every day in food or drinks for a minimum of 2 weeks, up to 12 weeks for a rapid weight loss.

Why 800 : To get motivated and lose a substantial amount of weight, 800 calories per day will get you there. The amount of calories is higher than on 5:1 or 5:2 fasting pattern per day. Weight loss is rapid, highly motivating and makes it easier to continue with fasting later. It should be limited to no more than 12 weeks. Observing weight loss and your body responses is vital not to stay on it unnecessarily too long.

Difficulty level: Challenging

Being diligent in food preparation and eating real food full of vitamins and minerals as the fast is over a longer period is a must. Meals can be eaten over the whole day, preferably with a longer non-eating window incorporating sleep. Calories should be well counted every day and cannot be transferred from one day to another. A great way to lose quickly and see the potential in fasting.

16:8/ 5:1 Mixer

Pattern: Fasting 16 hours eating nothing, drinking non-caloric drinks, followed by an 8-hour eating window when any food is consumed. 1 day per week only 500 calories for females and 600 for males are consumed in the 8-hour eating window. This pattern repeats 7 days per week.  

Why 16:8/ 5:1 Mixer Adding an extra low-calorie day to a week of consistent fasting sequence is not a dramatic change. It incorporates the sleep time into your fast and you just take it a notch further by limiting one day a week for extra weight loss.

Difficulty level: medium

As you don’t count calories on the 16:8 pattern, here you need to do so 1 day per week. It adds a bit of planning or restriction to your week but it may also reap further reward. It’s recommended to start the 16:8 first and progress into the 16:8/5:1 Mixer if you feel you need it or your body allows for it.

16:8/ 5:2 Mixer

Pattern: Fasting 16 hours eating nothing, drinking non-caloric drinks, followed by an 8-hour eating window when any food is consumed. 2 days per week only 500(females) and 600 (males) calories are consumed in the 8-hour eating window. This pattern repeats 7 days per week.  

Why 16:8/ 5:2 Mixer: If you have been successful with the 16:8/5:1 and need an additional push, this is something to try. In terms of weight loss, it’s not necessarily more beneficial than other patterns and the calorie intake is quite low over the week and constant. It is advisable to try this for 2 weeks while doing 16:8 or 16:8/5:2 and see how your body reacts.

Difficulty level: Challenging

You need to be prepared to be quite hungry and decide if it is something you want to do over a longer period of time or rather try it out and go back to where you feel more comfortable. It may have a negative effect on your mind and possibly limit the number of nutrients you consume. It’s vital only whole food and nutrient-dense food consumed to sustain a good bodily function.