Over the past few years, intermittent fasting has soared in popularity. Many people who have gotten tired of the old calorie counting method to control weight and manage wellness have begun to pursue the intermittent fasting method. The new alternative to counting calories for wellness is built around mindful eating combined with intermittent fasting (IF).
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating process that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. The beauty of this program is that it doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Less calorie counting and more focussed on eating during a specific time period.
- 1 What are the different types of popular Intermittent fasting programs?
- 2 Do you really need apps to help with Intermittent fasting?
- 3 Zero App for Intermittent fasting (IF)
- 4 Fastic App provides comprehensive support for many types of IF plans
- 5 Need help with meal planning? Check out the BodyFast app
- 6 Life Fasting Tracker for Intermittent Fasting
- 7 Summary
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What are the different types of popular Intermittent fasting programs?
There are different philosophies when it comes to Intermittent fasting. The most common ones are as follows:
- 16:8 Method – The 16/8 method involves fasting every day for 14–16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours. Within the eating window, you can fit in two, three, or more meals. Also known as Lean-Gain method
- 19:5 Method – A little more aggressive over the 16/8, where you fast for 19 hours and have a 5 hour time window to consume 2 meals. Popularly known as the fast 5 method in IF circles.
- Alternate Day Fasting – The basic idea here is that you fast on one day and then you eat what you want on the next day.
- The warrior diet is a much stricter type of intermittent fasting, alternating between 20 hours of under-eating and 4 hours of unlimited intake.
Some folks also like to mix some of the above philosophies together along with popular diet philosophies such as a ‘Keto’ program.
If you have decided to pursue intermittent fasting, it is best to consult your physician in order to figure out which program is less risky, safe, and can yield results for you.
Do you really need apps to help with Intermittent fasting?
Once you have decided to start your intermittent fasting journey, you are going to require effective tools and techniques to keep you on the plan, keep you motivated and keep you healthy.
Achieving success with lifestyle change programs such as diet or fasting is dependent on many factors but there are five important components:
- Planning and calendaring
- Time Planning or calendaring
- Meal Planning
- Building the Habit
- Monitoring your Progress
- Making changes based on progress
- Sustaining the achievements
- Planning and calendaring
Although some of the above ideas may sound simple and trivial, it can be actually very hard to persevere without effective tools to help you latch on to a new ‘habit’.
This is where smartphone and wearable apps come in handy and serve as an ally as you embark on this wellness journey via intermittent fasting.
At a minimum, any app that you choose should help you effectively with the 5 key support components that we have identified above.
In this article, we will look at some of the most popular and successful apps that have proven handy for intermittent fasting and will provide clarity around some of the pros and cons of each app.
Let’s start with some of the most popular and promising apps for Intermittent Fasting:
Zero App for Intermittent fasting (IF)
Simplicity sticks. That’s the key mantra of Zero. The app provides a nice simple timer along with tonnes of videos and articles related to fasting.
The free version of the app provides three key features that fasters find appealing:
TIMER – Set your goal, start your timer, stay on track. The app tracks your progress from start to finish using Reminders and provides you insights to stay motivated. Customize timer based on the type of your fasting. You can choose from several pre-set fasting windows or create your own schedule lasting up to seven days.
LEARN – The free app version of Zero also provides you with an ever-growing content library curated by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Peter Attia.
STATISTICS – Monitor your progress and map your journey, with the option to sync with Apple Health. The app provides you options to track health metrics like weight, resting heart rate, and sleep, to see how they evolve with your fasting practice.
The free version of the app also provides you with a journal that you can use to reflect on your progress and fasting journey. Easy way to keep track of your moods. There is a companion Apple Watch for Zero app that provides you easy tracking and monitoring your fasting cycles on your wrist.
Zero App Setup and Use
When you download the Zero app on your device and start-up, you can use the ‘Sign-in’ with Apple id feature to protect your privacy. Once signed up and ready, you will next choose a fasting program from the available choices. These programs are available in the ‘Timer’ tab at the bottom.
Once you choose your program, tap on Set Reminder to set up app notifications. These notifications will provide your reminders based on the time and will keep you motivated.
Tap on ‘Start your 16h fast’ to get started. You can collect badges based on the number of fasts that you are able to complete. A simple metric that keeps you motivated.
Your screen switches to a timer and shows you how much time has passed since you started fasting and when your fasting will end.
The other tabs in the app are intuitive. Once you have finished a fast or two, you can tap on the ‘History’ tab to get detailed statistics around your progress. If you use an Apple Watch, you can also take advantage of the Healthkit integration features of Zero app. The Zero sync syncs your data with Apple Health to fill your graphs with weight, sleep and resting heart rate data.
Some of the more valuable data related to fasting progress such as time spent in each of the fasting zones have been unfortunately moved to the Zero Plus subscription offering.
Tap on the ‘Learn’ tab and you will find a well-curated section of articles and videos that offer insights to make the best out of your intermittent fasting program.
Overall, the app is very simple but performs as expected. Zero provides you with an intuitive user interface with various timer options based on the fasting program that you choose. It tracks your progress during the fasting window and uses notifications to send you periodic reminders. The App also offers a plethora of curated content that will keep you informed around various health topics related to fasting.
The app has a solid 4.9 out of 5.0 in the Apple app store.
The Zero app now also provides a premium plan known as Zero Plus costing about $49 – $69 for the year.
Should you upgrade to the Zero Plus premium offering?
Most users starting on an IF(Intermittent Fasting) program start with the basic free Zero app and are able to manage their IF program well.
However, if you are looking for an extra push, the zero plus premium offering provides you with some of the these:
- More clarity around the stages of your fast as you progress through anabolic, catabolic, fat-burning, and ketosis phases of the fast. This is more of a motivation feature since you mostly already know this information based on the amount of time that has passed since you started fasting. The premium app just sends a notification telling you that you are in a particular zone such as the ‘fat-burning’ zone.
- The Zero plus ‘coach’ option provides you with the ability to set a fasting pattern. It could definitely have potential in preventing cheat days or helping you get back on the program
- The data in your History is significantly richer, showing you how long you have spent in each fasting ‘zone’ (catabolic, ‘fat-burning’ , etc.) across all past fasts, as well as showing sleep hours vs fast hours, fasting hours vs weight and more.
We think that the incremental features offered via the new Zero Plus program may not be worth the $50 / $9.99 monthly for most users starting with an intermittent fast program. The app does not provide a detailed component to track your nutrition.
If you think you need that extra push, Zero Plus currently provides a free 7-day trial that you can sign up and check it out for yourself. It’s not a bad idea to check it on your own and then if you don’t like you can downgrade to the basic free plan.
A word of caution: When you download the app and get started, there is a step that requests you to upgrade. Remember to bypass this step if you are not ready to upgrade by tapping on the ‘X’ instead of ‘Activate Zero Plus’ on this screen.
You can always upgrade later on. We wanted to point this out since it creeps up without notice during the initial setup of the free app.
Fastic App provides comprehensive support for many types of IF plans
Fastic app provides you with comprehensive support and guidance as you progress through your intermittent fasting program in a simple and easy to understand user interface.
Much like Zero app, Fastic provides you with a simple, clean app interface that will help you plan your daily tasks as you progress through the various fasting zones.
The fasting timer is the app’s core feature and will give you the opportunity to set your fasting times individually. FASTIC can also recommend a suitable fasting period on a daily basis.
One of the key advantages of Fastic is that it claims to have a built-in nutrition tracker.
With the FASTIC nutrition tracker, you are able to track your nutrition habits to have an overview of your everyday nutrition.
The app also has a built-in feature to track your water intake throughout the day as your fasting progresses. This makes it easier since you don’t have to use a separate app like Waterminder to keep track of your H2O intake.
The app also has a daily weight tracker function, as well as little lessons that explain the science behind fasting-driven metabolism in an easy-to-understand way. The Fastic App automatically computes your BMI and keeps track of your weight-loss as you progress through your IF program.
Fastic Setup and Use
Fastic also provides you with a ‘Sign-in with Apple‘ option when you set up the app. The initial setup screens are very similar to Zero app.
The next few simple screens will help you add your fasting objectives, your weight, your age, sex, and height. The setup also asks you to enter your ‘ideal weight‘.
This is a neat option as based on where you want to be, it suggests how many weeks it might take you to pursue the Fastic Fasting program. You can change the ideal weight to see how the recommended weeks change.
This feature can be motivating for some while it may stick out like a sore thumb for others. Our tip is that you choose small increments in trying to reach your ideal weight. That will keep you motivated!
Based on your inputs, the program creates a personalized plan which is available to you via subscription (Fastic Plus). The subscription for the month is approximately $12/month and you can save by choosing a program for 3 months or 12 months.
We suggest that you cancel out of the upgrade by tapping on the ‘X’ instead of tapping on ‘GET FASTIC PLUS’. Give the basic features a try and you can upgrade later if you decide that you like the program.
The diet plan associated with the Intermittent fasting program and challenges to earn badges is a Fastic Plus feature.
Tap on ‘Start your Fastic program!’ when you are ready to get started.
The App guides you through the process and on the final step you choose your fasting program by tapping on ‘Fasting Time’. Choose your preferred fasting method from a variety of options. Choose your start time for the fast and tap on ‘Lets Go’.
As you progress through each of your fasting days, you win awards that you can collect.
Tap on the ‘Fast’ tab at the bottom and you will see your progress. This tab is different from Zero app in the sense that you can add your buddies and other family members who want to participate with you to keep you motivated via ‘Add buddy‘ feature.
Toggle between Timer and Body Status on this screen to see your progress through the various Ketonic stages. This does not require a premium subscription, unlike Zero. Tap on any of the icons and you will see a detailed explanation of these stages. Many users find this detailed progress information very motivating.
Fastic Community feature
Although Fastic App has a community-based chat room, most users have found it to be not that helpful or motivating. Things may have changed now with incremental moderating. You can invite your friends into the community ( ‘Be friends on Fastic’), so that you can embark on your IF journey together and keep challenging and motivating one another. If that sort of thing helps you progress, Sign for Fastic and start looking for your Fastic buddy!
If community support type features is an absolute must-have motivation for you to start and continue with your IF program, you can check out the IF app called Vora Fasting Tracker which provides extensive community support.
You can also choose to join one of the subreddits dedicated to Intermittent fasting on reddit.com. Folks in the group are very supportive and share a lot of details.
Fastic Plus Program
Fastic app also provides users with a subscription-based plan that one can upgrade into. The 12 months Fastic Plus program costs about $75. We feel its best to stick with the free version of the app as the bang for the buck was not quite appealing with the ‘Plus’ premium model.
Users coming from Apple ecosystem will be disappointed that Fastic does not offer an Apple Watch based companion app. Android users can download the app from Google Play and get started with the free version.
The Zero plus (premium version) shows you the fasting stages while you are fasting. In the case of Fastic, this is built-in and you are not required to pay any premiums to get insight around your fasting stage.
In Summary, if you are looking for an Intermittent Fasting app, that offers simple tracking and monitoring of your fasting progress, built-in nutrition tracker, built-in water intake monitor, then Fastic is definitely one free app worth checking out!
Need help with meal planning? Check out the BodyFast app
Some of us can manage to stick to the fasting regimen with discipline but when it comes to the easting window, all hell breaks loose! eventually leading to some disappointment.
Instead of trying to manage your intermittent fasting program with the help of multiple apps, you can explore using an app such as BodyFast that focusses a lot on nutrition tracking.
If you are serious about nutrition and would like to pair your fasting with a Keto based nutrition, during the ‘eat window’, you can check out ‘Carb Tracker’ or ‘Carbonator’ apps. For tracking calories during your IF plans, you can look at the MyFitnessPal app.
BodyFast provides you with an intuitive user interface that allows you to choose from 10 different fasting plans. The free version allows you to choose from 6 different fasting options. You can manually start your fasting window using any of these options.
The BodyFast app also pops up little notifications saying that you’re one hour before you’re about to start your fast or you are one hour from finishing your fast. These periodic notifications can help you stay motivated. The app also allows you to track your weight and make notes as you progress through your journey.
One of the functionality that BodyFast app prides itself on is the ‘BodyFast coach’ that provides you with a customized plan including meal planning and tracking. Unfortunately, the coach upgrade for the app is not all that cheap (subscription ranges from €2.31 a week for 3 months to €1.16 a week for a full year).
The central philosophy around the BodyFast coach program is that your body often adjusts to your fasting regimen since you start and end your fasting programs during the same times. The coaching program changes things up a bit.
For different fasting days, it may suggest new start times et al. The idea around changing fasting times comes from a recent Harvard University study that found changing the timing around might be very helpful in reaching your weight loss goal.
If you plan on sticking to a fasting program on your schedule you can simply start with the basic BodyFast free version and then explore other apps or check out the coaching program.
Life Fasting Tracker for Intermittent Fasting
Keto fans who want to get on with an IF program should definitely check out the Life Fasting tracker app. This app helps you track the ketosis stage duration during your fasting.
Much like the other apps that we have discussed earlier, Life Fasting tracker allows you to easily start and stop fasts. You can edit and adjust your fast duration to any length of your choice.
The integration of the app with popular fitness trackers out there is awesome!
You can with a push of a couple of buttons automatically import data from Fitbit, Garmin, BIOSENSE breath ketone meter. The App also integrates very well with the Apple Health app and uses HealthKit to auto-import your weight, ketones et al.
The app offers a good number of curated articles that can keep you motivated.
Life Fasting Tracker also offers a decent community-based feature that you can use to connect with friends who use the app in order to keep each other motivated. Join any of the ‘fasting circles’ to keep up with the challenges.
Lastly, you can also check out a newcomer that is gaining popularity. DoFasting App, Fasting by Body type. Rated at 4.6 on the app store, with more than 14K ratings, this app integrates personalized exercise programs with your fasting regimen.
Although there are many intermittent fasting apps available out there to help you with your progress, the one that you will choose will depend upon your preferences. Most of the apps that we checked have a simple and intuitive user interface.
Fastic and Zero were two apps that were easy to follow and each had their own pros and cons. The Fastic app’s fasting stage progress report stood out for us. Zero used to have this in its basic offering but now they have moved the feature into its premium offering.
If you have a BIOSENSE breath Ketonic meter and are a Keto follower, you may prefer the LIFE fasting tracker. The integrations are well worth it. Some of these apps integrate well with your wearables like Apple Watch while others don’t. That is something to keep in mind as well.
In the end, try out a handful of these apps in their free version and we are sure you will end up liking one that will help you manage your weight, stay healthy, and live better.
If you have an app that you like and we have not covered it in this guide, give us a shout out and we will be happy to add in your experiences.
Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease. de Cabo R, Mattonson MP. New England Journal of Medicine, December 2019.
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