Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting: Lose Fat, Build Muscle, Stay Focused & Feel Great
By: Dave Asprey
If you want to lose fat and improve your health as fast as possible, without feeling mentally slow, it’s hard to beat Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting. Here’s an overview of the protocol, which I lay out in more detail in my new NYT bestseller The Bulletproof Diet.
Plain intermittent fasting has become popular in biohacker circles because it shows tremendous promise for fat loss, preventing cancer, building muscle, and increasing resilience. The most popular site that covers plain intermittent fasting is Leangains.com. It’s totally worth a visit. The basic idea behind plain intermittent fasting is to eat all of your daily food in a shortened period (8 hours in the case of Lean Gains) and fast the rest of the time. For reasons we will get into below, this tells your body to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat. It really works.
The problem is not everyone does well with fasting. If you’re a busy entrepreneur or even a student who needs to be in a high performance state all day, dealing with hunger can be a distraction. It’s much worse for those with an impaired metabolism (i.e. the people who need to lose weight). If you have more than 30 pounds of extra fat or if you’re facing diabetes, it can be hard to skip meals and still get things done.
As explained in The Bulletproof Diet book, Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting is an easy biohack that changes that and makes it possible to lose fat and build muscle faster than plain intermittent fasting… without feeling hungry or tired.
Introducing Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting
Bulletproof Fasting is the same as intermittent fasting, except you consume a cup of Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. The healthy fats from grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil give you a stable current of energy that sustains you through the day. The ultra low toxin Upgraded Coffee beans optimize brain function and fat loss with high octane caffeine. The Brain Octane Oil also serves to increase ketone production and boosts your metabolic rate by up to 12%. This drink is so filling, we’ve had clients who drank one cup of Bulletproof Coffee in the morning and didn’t feel like eating until mid afternoon. Adding extra Brain Octane Oil will promote ketogenesis (the formation of ketones) and provide more of a mental kick.
For optimal results, you should be following the green side of Bulletproof Diet in conjunction with this protocol. Bulletproof Fasting will not save you from the effects of Poptarts and fried Oreos.
Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting: Mental Performance Protocol
Goal: Improve and/or sustain mental performance while getting more benefits than plain intermittent fasting.
Step 1: Finish dinner by 8 pm
No snacking after dinner – go to bed whenever you want.
Step 2: Drink Bulletproof Coffee in the morning
Bulletproof Coffee is a mix of brewed Upgraded Coffee beans, grass-fed ghee (or unsalted grass-fed butter), and Brain Octane Oil. You can find the complete recipe here. Don’t mess around with cheap coffee, which will sabotage your efforts since 91.7% of green coffee has mycotoxins in it.
Drink as much Bulletproof Coffee as you like in the morning. You can have another cup before 2:00 PM if you get hungry. No coffee after 2:00 PM or you won’t sleep.
Step 2.5 (optional) – Work out
This is not necessary to gain muscle and lose fat, but it helps. If you’re going to work out, lift something heavy right before you break the fast in step 3. I’d suggest high intensity weight training. Shorter and harder is better than longer exercise. You will need to sleep more if you exercise.
Step 3: Do not eat until 2pm
This means you’ve not had anything to eat except Bulletproof Coffee for 18 hours. This should occur from the time you wake, through the morning, and into the afternoon. If 18 hours is too long, start with a shorter fast and increase from there.
Step 4: Eat as much Bulletproof food as you like for 6 hours (until 8 pm)
The number of meals you eat during this time is irrelevant, as is the amount of calories.
Here is a sample day of Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting:
8:00 AM: Drink Bulletproof Coffee.
2:00 PM: Break fast with foods from the Bulletproof Diet.
8:00 PM: Eat your last meal before beginning the fast.
Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting extends your life, improves brain function, and makes you more resilient on all levels. Even if you just start drinking Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast in place of the watery bags of sugar we call fruit, you can take advantage of some of these benefits. Once you start Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting, you will have gained an unfair advantage on your peers in health, longevity, and performance.
Benefits of Plain Intermittent Fasting
Animal studies (thanks Wikipedia!)
- “Reduced serum glucose and insulin levels and increased resistance of neurons in the brain to excitotoxic stress“
- “Enhance[s] cardiovascular and brain functions and improve[s] several risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke including a reduction in blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity” and that “cardiovascular stress adaptation is improved and heart rate variability is increased in rodents” and that “rodents maintained on an IF regimen exhibit increased resistance of heart and brain cells to ischemic injury in experimental models of myocardial infarction and stroke.”
- May “ameliorate age-related deficits in cognitive function” in mice
- Correlation with IF and significantly improved biochemical parameters associated with development of diabetic nephropathy
- Resistance in mice to the effects of gamma irradiation
- Lifespan increases of 40.4% and 56.6% in C. elegans for alternate day (24 hour) and two-of-each-three day (48 hour) fasting, respectively, as compared to an ad libitum diet.
- Rats showed markedly improved long-term survival after chronic heart failure via pro-angiogenic, anti-apoptotic and anti-remodeling effects.
- Alternative day fasting (ADF) may produce significant improvements in several markers such as LDL cholesterol in as little as eight weeks.
- “may effectively modulate several risk factors, thereby preventing chronic disease, and that ADF may modulate disease risk to an extent similar to that of CR”.
- Serum from humans following an IF diet had positive effects (reduced triglycerides in men and increased HDL in women, as well as reduced cell proliferation and increased heat resistance) in vitro on human hepatoma cells.
- IF confers protection from toxic chemotherapy treatments, allowing higher doses and therefore more effective treatment for cancers.
- IF may function as a form of nutritional hormesis.
Reasons Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting Works Better
Reason #1: Tripling down on mTOR.
mTOR sounds like it should be the name of a hero in a Japanese comic book, but it’s a little more important than that. mTOR stands for “Mammalian Target of Rapamycin.” It’s one of those things that only a biohacker (or a fat person) could get excited about. mTOR is a major mechanism that increases protein synthesis in your muscles. Both exercise and coffee raise cellular energy use while simultaneously inhibiting your muscle building mechanisms (mTOR) for a brief period, which causes it to “spring back” and build even more muscle as soon as you eat.
There are 3 known ways to raise mTOR. Intermittent fasting, exercise, and coffee (or more weakly, chocolate, green tea, turmeric, or resveratrol)
Bulletproof Fasting hits all 3 ways to compress mTOR, causing a bigger rebound and better use of your food for muscle building. I used Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting occasionally during my 4500 calorie per day no exercise long term experiment, and ended up looking like this after doing it for 4 days per week for 2 weeks. Keep in mind that I used to weigh 300lbs, and I hadn’t worked out for 18 months when this photo was taken.
Plain intermittent fasting doesn’t use coffee, so it only hits one, or possibly 2 of the 3 possible mTOR triggers. Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting works better because it can use all 3 mechanisms, but it works very well (as you can see) with just coffee and intermittent fasting. The cool thing is that an all fat breakfast (like Bulletproof Coffee ™ ) doesn’t make your body think it’s broken the fast, so you get the benefits of the fasting anyway. It’s awesome!
Reason #2: Ketosis
Plain intermittent fasting helps you enter ketosis (fat burning mode that’s good for your brain) but then you end ketosis if you eat carb-containing foods at the end of the fast. Using MCT in your Bulletproof Coffee increases the speed at which you go into ketosis, so it fuels your brain, and it helps you stay in ketosis even in the presence of some carbs in your diet. MCT is noticeably better than just grass fed butter in my coffee for this effect.
Reason #3: You’ll actually do it because you feel awesome
Let’s face it. You’re not a super athlete. You’re not a model or a professional body builder. You have work to do at your day job and being hungry, sluggish, and cranky all morning during a fast is not fun or good for your career. It’s easier, and far more pleasant to do a Bulletproof Intermittent Fast than a plain one. I’ve done plain ones and enjoy them to be honest, but they are even more enjoyable with Bulletproof Coffee. Plus, I get better results with the coffee protocols.
Reason #4: Metabolic hacking
Coffee increases your metabolism by up to 20 percent. Plain intermittent fasting doesn’t. This combination is superior.
That just about covers it. If you benefit from this Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting Protocol, please leave a comment here or on the Bulletproof Forum. The next article on Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting will show you the protocol that produced 75 pounds of weight loss in 75 days.