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The No Meat Athlete Academy

Nutrition. Fitness. Mindset.

Welcome to the 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge!

By now you’re likely familiar with the short- and long-term health benefits of intermittent fasting, but when you really start thinking about what it will be like… 

It can feel intimidating!

This Challenge is designed to take all the stress, nerves, and questions out of the process, outlining everything you need to know to get started with IF, plus provide the group support to keep you on track.

Below you’ll find a number of steps to take over the next 30 days. Some are better done early, before March 1st, while others you can work through at your own pace.

But before you do anything else, be sure to join the private Facebook community here. This is where you can chat with other participants, ask for help, share feedback, and grow as a community. 

Your next steps will be to:

  • Watch the webinar (if you haven’t already),
  • Read the How to Get Started section,
  • And choose your approach.

Then you’ll be set to start March 1st!

If you’re interested in going a step further, Dr. Fergusson is offering 1:1 consults to address any specific needs or issues. This is extra, but well worth it if you’d like extra help. Learn more about how to book a 30 minutes consult here.

And finally, if you have any questions at all, just shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

I can’t wait to get started, and look forward to meeting you inside the community!


Doug Hay
No Meat Athlete

About Your Host, Dr. Pamela Fergusson, RD

Dr. Fergusson operates a private practice in Canada, where she promotes health and healing through a plant-based diet. She has been a Registered Dietitian since 2001, earned her PhD at the University of Liverpool and her Master’s in International Health at Sweden’s Uppsala University, and has worked in the nutrition field in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. She has been a lecturer at the University of Chester UK, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Ryerson University, and the University of Liverpool online MPH program.

Pamela and her husband Dave are raising four children on a plant-based diet. They love to cook and bake vegan treats together.

Watch the Webinar

A few weeks ago we hosted a Workshop with Dr. Fergusson, RD. This Workshop (and the response from those who attended) is actually what sparked the idea of an IF challenge to begin with.

Before you get started with the Challenge, we recommend you watch the Workshop recording. It’s a deep-dive into everything you should know about intermittent fasting as a plant-based athlete.

To get started, check out the Prep Sheet here, then begin the Workshop:

How to Get Started

Have you watched the Workshop? Great! Now let’s go over some of the notes from that webinar, outlining the basics of how to get started:

Intermittent Fasting, the Basics

Intermittent fasting, or IF, has a number of benefits, including weight loss due to calorie restriction and better blood sugar management, in addition to long-term benefits to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even possibly Alzheimer’s.

It has also been linked to increased focus and energy during your fasting periods.

So what exactly is it? Intermittent fasting refers to dietary patterns that cycle between fasting and non-fasting, to help you experience the health benefits of fasting without many of the downsides.

IF can take many forms. The most common include:

  • 16:8 – Fasting 16 hours, 8-hour eating window
  • Alternate day fasting – Low calorie (500-1000) every other day
  • 24-hour water fast – Once a week, 24 hour water fast. (Lunch to lunch
  • 5:2 method – 2 days a week eat 500 calories for women and 600 for men. 5 days
    per week eat normally.

If you’re new to IF, a good way to start is simply 12:12, or 12 hours of eating and 12 hours of fasting each day. This is one of the paths outlined in the next section.

It’s a good idea, especially for women, to switch things up regularly. Your body gets used to a level of stress, so switch it up to maximize benefits and reduce the risk of hormonal disruption. Pamela recommends one 12:12 per week for women, since some women may stop ovulating while intermittent fasting.

During Your Fast

During the fasting period, it’s important to stay hydrated. You can drink any zero calorie beverages like coffee, tea, and of course lots of water. Pamela recommends adding lemon or ginger to the water or brewing a large pitcher of iced herbal tea to keep things interesting.

Some people add a little fat to their coffee like coconut oil, but it’s recommended to
keep things at zero calories.

Quick Tips:

  • Stay active and busy during the fasting time.
  • Wave of hunger: remind yourself you’ll be able to eat again soon.
  • Feel free to break your fast if you are feeling unwell.

Breaking Fast

The best time to break fast is the time that works best for your schedule. But if you have flexibility, you’re more metabolically active in the morning. 7 am – 3 pm is a good time to break fast for weight loss.

You don’t have to restrict calories during the eating period, but you often will because it’s hard to get in that many calories in such a short amount of time.

When you’re consuming fewer calories, it’s important to be more judicious about what you eat. Focus on whole plant foods to get maximum nutrition during the eating window, so even if you’re hungry, avoid too much junk food.

Intermittent Fasting While Training

If you’re training for an endurance event or putting on muscle, nutrition is a key component to success. So how does IF work with your training?

Running and Endurance Training

For shorter training days of an hour or less, you can fast throughout and after the workout. Snacking before or after isn’t necessary.

For workouts higher intensity workouts or workouts between 1 and 2 hours in length, either do them during your eating window or break fast a few minutes after the workout.

On long run days, it’s recommended you fuel with a light snack before and throughout the workout. Perform these workouts during your eating window or schedule your long runs to fall on days that are 12:12 or have longer eating periods.

When training, you can structure your IF schedule around your training plan.

Muscle Building and Strength Training

If your goal is primarily to gain muscle, time your workout to be during eating windows so you can have a post-workout snack.

Because certain macronutrient ratios are important for muscle gain, be extra careful about what you’re eating during your eating window, and consider extending your eating window during peak training.

Additional Resources

Click here to download this information in Action Sheet form. 

Choose Your Approach


As Pamela outlined in the How to Get Started section, there are a number of approaches to intermittent fasting, some of which include fasting for a certain number of hours every day, while others focus on longer fasts a few days per week.

To help you get started, she has created several options for how to approach your 30-day Challenge.

Some are more aggressive than others, so when selecting your approach, consider your schedule, level of motivation, and what you think will best fit your lifestyle.

Remember, there’s no one-fast-fits-all here. We all have different needs and goals. That’s why we’re so excited about hearing from you inside the Community!


Option 1: A Gradual Build

Week 1: 12 hour fast, 12 hour eating period.

Week 2: 14 hour fast, 10 hour eating window, with an option for one 12:12 flex day (long run or tough workout day).

Week 3: 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window, with option for up to two 12:12 days.

Week 4: 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window for the entire week (with the exception of an optional long run day change).


Option 2: The All In Approach

Weeks 1-2: 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window, with an option for up to two 12:12 days.

Weeks 3-4: 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window for the entire week (with the exception of an optional long run day change).


Option 3: The 5:2 Method

Five days of eating normally per week, with two days of non-consecutive restricted calories.

  • 500 calories for women during the fasting day.
  • 600 calories for men during the fasting day.

Plan your fasting days for when you plan to be busy — maybe when you’re working or have a lot of errands planned, but not during long run or hard workout days.

Do this for the entire Challenge.


Option 4: Eat-Stop-Eat Method

A challenge like this one, with a support group helping you along the way, is a great time to try this method if it’s appealing to you. Here, we suggest you start the first two weeks easing into IF before going for a full 24 hour fast in weeks 3 and 4.

Weeks 1-2: 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window, with an option for up to two 12:12 days.

Weeks 3-4: One or two 24-hour fasts each week; for example, not eating after lunch until lunch the next day.




What can I drink during Intermittent Fasting?

Hydration is very important during fasting. Drinking plenty of water can help stave off hunger pains, especially when you’re first adjusting to this new way of eating. It is perfectly fine to drink any liquid that has 0 calories. This can include coffee (black, or a very small amount of plant-based milk), tea, sparkling water, and even some sports drinks (so long as they are 0 calorie).

Can I take supplements during IF?

Supplements are an important part of any diet, and it’s certainly safe to take them during fasting. Since some supplements can cause discomfort on an empty stomach, you should be sure you schedule your eating window and supplement-taking schedule accordingly, so you don’t take your supplements on an empty stomach.

How can I decide which IF schedule is right for me?

The only way to know is to try. There truly is no right or wrong way to do intermittent fasting. The important thing is to listen to decide what fits best in your lifestyle. Consider what your daily/weekly schedule looks like. Is it possible for you to limit your calorie intake to fit alternate-day fasting? Can you stick to a 8-hour eating window while eschewing food the other 16? Ask yourself these types of questions and try one method for a few weeks and see how it works.

When is the best time to fast/break fast?

This is generally a choice you can make for yourself based on your lifestyle and daily schedule. However, if you’re trying intermittent fasting with a goal of weight loss, it’s important to note that our bodies are more metabolically active in the morning. That would make 7am – 3pm a good window for eating to help support that goal.

Otherwise, just consider your lifestyle. Do you want to eat dinner with your family? Do you like to go out with friends in the evening?

Who should not consider IF?

For the most part, IF will work for anyone. But if you are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive, this may not be the time to make a drastic change to your eating schedule.

Importantly, if you have an eating disorder, intermittent fasting is definitely not the right choice for you. I encourage you to work with intuitive eating and be very kind to your body. This is a restriction after all, and even if you’re light and playful, this is not a good path to go down.

Is it okay for a person with diabetes?

Absolutely. Intermittent fasting can be a very successful protocol for people with diabetes. Before you start, be sure to talk to your doctor, especially if you are on medication. Your prescriptions will need to be adjusted for fasting periods.

Can my children/teens do IF with me?

Children and teens are growing and have different energy needs than most adults, so it is important to make sure they are getting the calories they need to be healthy and for their bodies to grow and change the way the need to.

If your child or teen is interested in trying intermittent fasting with you for whatever reason, I recommend the 12:12 method, and not going lower than that for them.

How does intermittent fasting work with training?

The short answer is that it can work very well, if you make it work for you.

If you are planning for a workout that lasts up to an hour, it’s safe and still effective to go into that workout during your fasting time. A pre- or post-workout snack is not necessary for that workout to still be effective.

If your workout will last 2 or more hours, you should schedule that during your eating window, so that you can fuel before and after that effort.

If you are hitting the gym and trying to bulk up, it’s important to schedule that workout during your eating window as well, so you can have that post-workout snack to get nutrients to those muscles.

How long can I do IF?

Intermittent fasting can be a long-term lifestyle choice for almost anyone. The benefits, both short-term and long-term are incredible, and there is virtually no downside. A lot of people love the structure it brings to their life and have done it for years.

If you find yourself months or even years into intermittent fasting, consider switching things up. If you’ve been doing 18:6, try going to alternate day fasting for a few weeks, for example. Keeping it fresh and keeping your body adjusting can maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting. Have fun, and try new things!

What should I do if I feel lightheaded, shaky or really hangry?

It’s important to listen to your body. Those are strong cues of low blood sugar, and should not be ignored. Try having a small snack like half and apple or banana with peanut butter or a glass of soy milk, wait 10 mins and see if you feel better. If you are still experiencing symptoms then eat a meal. It’s ok for your fasting to be flexible! If these symptoms happen often, then maybe try a different method of fasting or maybe fasting is not for you.

Disclaimer: By joining this program, plan, or module, you are agreeing to No Meat Athlete's Terms of Service. While this program may be written or moderated by a professional, they are there for general guidance only and are not a substitute for personalized medical advice. You enter the program at your own risk and if you have any concerns you should immediately consult your doctor or other health care professionals.