Does Intermittent Fasting Make Cutting & Losing Body Fat Easier?

This week on the 20 Minute Fitness podcast Nick and Martin discuss Nick’s month-long cutting phase challenge. Nick has been partaking in various month-long fitness challenges here at Shape, documenting his journey with ShapeScale.

Listen to this week’s episode for an insight into his cutting phase and get some great tips for being in a caloric deficit!

Three Things You’ll Learn

1) Before The Challenge

To start off, we will be exploring Nick’s fitness background as well as his physical condition going in to this first challenge. He had recently arrived in the US from the UK after finishing his first year of college at the University of Bath.

Nick explains that pre-pandemic he was in good shape as he went to the gym for resistance training six times a week, as well as regularly training for tennis. However, once the national lockdowns hit and gyms were closing down, he was losing motivation to workout which resulted in a drop in his fitness levels.

When gyms opened back up post lockdown Nick’s bench press 1RM had decreased from 280 lbs to 225 lbs. However, over the course of his first year at university he managed to regain and even surpass his previous strength levels. But as we all know, everything has a cost, which in this case was Nick’s overall body fat and weight increase due to a ‘dirty bulk’.

He reached a body weight of around 205 lbs before slowly cutting for 3-4 months before arriving in the US. Nick was at the peak of his strength just before arriving in the US, with a bench press 1RM of 315 lbs.

Press play to hear how this changed as a result of skipping on the gym while settling in during his first few weeks!

2) First Challenge: Cutting

At the beginning of this month-long challenge, Nick was just over 184 lbs at 22.1% body fat and 138 lbs of lean mass. His Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) was 1715 kcal a day. We decided to keep him in an average of a 1000 caloric deficit per day throughout the challenge.

During the ‘cut’, to prevent muscle loss, Nick stuck to his own resistance training plan which consisted of 6 days of working out and one day of resting per week. His training plan was a Push, Pull, Legs split (PPL). The aim was to maintain his lean mass whilst losing an expected 4-5 lb of body fat.

During the challenge Nick would use an Apple Watch to track his active calories which would be added to his BMR. He would also track his workouts using the Strong app and his calories eaten using the Cronometer app.

Throughout the month-long cutting challenge he also took on some side experiments. The first side experiment aimed to understand the differences physically and emotionally of being in a 500 caloric per day deficit and a 1500 caloric per day deficit. Nick went one week on the 500 caloric deficit and then one week on the 1500 caloric deficit and then repeated this two week cycle.

The second and final side challenge involved him exploring the impacts of intermittent fasting. For the first two weeks of the cut he ate on a normal schedule, however, for the second two weeks he restricted all of his calorie intake between the hours of 4-10pm. Besides this, Nick also also had to make sure that he ate at least 1g of protein each day for every pound of body weight that he weighed (185g per day).

Listen for some pro tips around cutting & great protein snack options!

3) The Impressive Results

Finally, the results, which ended up to be quite impressive. Over the course of this cutting challenge, Nick lost 2.8% of his body fat which equated to 5.6 lbs. He also surprisingly managed to gain 4.3 lbs of lean mass.

For the side challenges, Nick told us that the 1,500 caloric deficit days where significantly harder than the 500 ones. He also says that the 1500 caloric deficit days are impossible to achieve, whilst maintaining his 1g of protein per pound of body weight, without sufficient exercise. The hardest of these days also came mid week between the 3rd and 5th days.

He also spoke about how intermittent fasting made his cutting challenge significantly easier due to feeling less hungry throughout the day and more full during his meal window. By the end of this first challenge his BMR increased from 1,715 calories per day to 1,754 calories per day.

Listen in to hear more about Nick’s success and the changes in his various body metrics!


Healthy, High Protein Snacks:


Thank You To Our Sponsor: Legion

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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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