Did you know that your body goes through very different stages during fasting, even though it looks very quiet from the outside?
The fat-burning stage is by far the most curious stage for intermittent fasting enthusiasts. That’s why “Does intermittent fasting burn fat? How does it work? Is it good for burning belly fat?” are just some of the many frequently asked questions about intermittent fasting.
If you’re wondering the answers, you’ll love our deep dive into the long-waited fat-burning stage, along with all the details of the fasting stages hour by hour.
- 1 What is intermittent fasting?
- 2 What are the stages of fasting by hour?
- 3 How does the fasting fat burning stage work?
- 4 Does intermittent fasting burn belly fat?
- 5 Lose weight with fasting
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that owes its popularity for its countless health benefits including weight loss, weight control, and fat burn without muscle loss.
There are two different periods of intermittent fasting:
- The eating period, during which you eat your meals.
- The fasting period during which you don’t eat anything but can only consume water, and zero-calorie beverages.
Some popular intermittent fasting plans are the 14/10, 16/8, 18/6, and 20/4 plans.
What are the stages of fasting by hour?
When you finish the last meal of your day, your fasting period begins. During the fasting period, your body goes through different stages hour by hour, depending on your fasting plan.
The five main stages of fasting are as follows:
Anabolic stage (0-4 hours)
This is the body’s growth stage. Your body starts digesting the food you have eaten and it lasts around 4 hours, depending on what you’ve eaten and how much.
Catabolic stage (4-12 hours)
As the body finishes the digestion process, your body starts looking around for a new energy source. This is when the breakdown phase starts. Stored glucose (glycogen) becomes your body’s first choice to use as fuel.
Fat-burning stage (12-18 hours)
At some point around the 12th hour of not eating anything, the glycogen stores deplete and the body starts looking for a new energy source. This is when the stored fat gets caught on your body’s radar. Burnt fat becomes its fuel.
Ketosis stage (18-72 hours)
As your body runs out of stored excess body fat, it keeps looking for more sources of energy again and begins transforming fatty acids into small particles, called ketones or ketone bodies around the 18th hour of the fast. This is when you enter the ketosis stage
Deep ketosis stage (72+ hours)
After fasting for 72 hours, which is not easy and suitable for everyone, rejuvenation of the immune system and production of stem cells begin. Trying to reach this stage can only be attempted by very advanced intermittent fasters, under the supervision of a doctor.
How does the fasting fat burning stage work?
Burning excess body fat and losing weight for good are very common fitness and wellness goals. To achieve these goals, intermittent fasting is an easy tool. Here’s how it happens:
Your body enters the long-awaited fat-burning phase when it runs out of its glycogen stores. This starts approximately the 12th hour of your fast. The fat-burning stage continues until the 18th hour. This is especially important for people who are trying to lose weight without losing muscle mass.
After the 18th hour of the fast, the fat-burning stage continues on a more cellular level as the body consumes ketone bodies for energy.
If you’re following a fasting plan that has a fasting window longer than 12 hours, such as the 14/10, 16/8, 18/6, or 20/4 plans, you burn fat and begin to lose weight!
Does intermittent fasting burn belly fat?
Let’s give you the good news: Intermittent fasting does burn belly fat! People who fast indicate that their waist circumference reduced by 4–7% by the time they had fully adopted this eating pattern in their lives.
The most important thing to be cautious about is that although fasting can help you to a certain extent, burning the fat in specific areas of your body requires a bit more effort.
Doing cardio exercises regularly and building healthy eating habits are essential for losing belly fat.
Here are the top things you can do to burn belly fat:
Whether it’s at-home cardio, swimming, cycling, or bodyweight workouts, your muscles need to work to burn fat. You can get the Fitness Kompanion to get hundreds of bodyweight workouts suitable for all levels.
2. Build healthy eating habits
Eat more protein and fiber-rich foods to feed your muscles with good nutrients and to support your digestion. Eat less refined carbs and avoid junk food too.
You should consume about 2 liters of water a day. This equates to approximately 8 glasses of water. This amount should be increased still further on your workout days. Here are some tips to increase your water intake.
4. Sleep adequately
A healthy adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep per day. Even if you think you’re satisfied with less sleep, your brain needs at least 7 hours of sleep to perform all its functions. If you’re suffering from insomnia, you may be able to combat it with a few lifestyle changes.
Fasting is a very powerful tool for weight loss and fat burn. But you also have to remember that it’s not a magic wand and that it won’t be as effective if you continue with bad life habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, and eating mostly junk food.
However, when combined with healthy lifestyle choices, intermittent fasting can create big changes in your body.
Fasting Kompanion enables you to visualize your fasting stages, track your fasting progress, and keep you informed with notifications and blog articles.
Lose weight with fasting
Every physiology and every journey is unique. We give you the best intermittent fasting plan for your needs and goals.