Intermittent fasting (IF) is an extremely popular practice for people looking to improve their healthspan. With benefits including fat loss (1), better digestion, less inflammation (2), and protection against diseases tied to aging (3), it makes sense for this to be a potential longevity tool.
And if you’re hung up on the whole no-eating-for-a-long-period-of-time thing, don’t worry—sleep is a part of the fast.
Without fail, celebrities have also embraced variations of IF—including the 18:6 fast, which comprises a six-hour eating window—for a variety of reasons.
Chris Hemsworth followed an IF plan to get and stay in shape for roles. Terry Crews looks shredded at 54 following a 16:8 plan because it keeps him in “great shape.” And Hugh Jackman used IF to bulk up and keep off fat.
Here’s why they (and six other celebrities) have taken to intermittent fasting.
The America’s Got Talent host is shredded at 54, and while he does work out every single day, it’s what happens in the kitchen that makes Crews’ physique more impressive.
Crews told Business Insider that he doesn’t eat his first meal until 2 p.m., but has coffee, tea, or a spoonful of coconut oil to stay full. Once his eight-hour window starts, food is fair game until 10 p.m.
Protein is a staple for Crews including egg dishes—like egg frittatas or scrambled eggs—bacon, charcuterie meats like salami, and protein shakes, he told Men’s Health. He doesn’t shy away from healthy fats, carbs, and veggies though for a well-rounded diet.
Crews told Insider that intermittent fasting has, “kept me in great, great shape.”
“I can feel the difference. I literally can put pictures of myself now versus pictures of myself at 22 years old, and I look and feel much better right now,” he said.
Wahlberg wasn’t always a fan of IF, but after his friend and media agency mogul Ari Emanuel introduced him, he was hooked.
Now Marky Mark embraces an 18-hour fast—at least five days a week. “The perfect window for me [to break my fast] is between noon and 6 p.m.,” Wahlberg told The Wall Street Journal. “On a harder workout day, that might be a smaller window. It might be 12 to 14 hours. But five days a week, I’m doing that 18-hour fast.”
Wahlberg is famous—among many other things—for his early morning grueling workouts, but after starting IF, he’s found a slimmed-down gym time works best for him to manage the rest of his day.
“I don’t have to do as much cardio, I don’t have to spend as much time in the gym and I feel like I’m getting better results,” he told WSJ. “I’m trying to share that information with everybody because I’m really, really seeing the benefits and pretty quickly.”
After being cast in Marvel’s Eternals, Nanjiani shocked fans with an almost unbelievable transformation. Yes, he and trainer Grant Roberts focused his workouts on more muscle size, shedding fat, and creating total body symmetry, but Nanjiani also credits IF for his impressive shred.
He told Men’s Health that he followed the 18:6 fast, “If I’m doing that, then I won’t eat breakfast,” he said. Foods like chicken, buffalo burgers, and bison were protein staples in his diet.
It’s unclear if Nanjiani still follows the 18:6 intermittent fasting plan. He told NPR that training for Eternals made him rethink his relationship with food and that his most recent role in Welcome to Chippendales, “freed me from some of the ways that I’ve been thinking about food.”
While training for X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jackman responded really well to IF, he told Train Mag.
“With my diet, I go with a 16:8 intermittent fasting regimen, and that really works for me,” he said.
The main reason Jackman loved IF was that it kept off fat while he bulked up, “and that regimen really does the business. It sounds tricky, but for me I love it, and I find it a lot easier than eating every two to three hours, which I found a lot more brutal,” he said.
Jackman’s reason makes sense considering IF prolongs the time from when your body burns through calories you’ve eaten and instead begins to burn fat.
The popular late-night host took IF to more of an extreme than some of these celebs with a version known as the 5:2 diet.
Kimmel’s plan: “On Monday and Thursday, I eat fewer than 500 calories a day, then I eat like a pig for the other five days,” he told Men’s Journal. “You ‘surprise’ the body, keep it guessing.”
While fasting, Kimmel was “pretty unpleasant to be around,” and mostly drank coffee and ate pickles. He would also indulge in some peanut butter and an apple, or egg whites.
“The rest of the week I’m a glutton—pizza and pasta and steak,” he said. “It sounds hard, but you get used to it and learn that you can get through it. It’s helped me stay at 182 pounds.”
It’s also allowed him to better appreciate food and what he eats.
Having followed a plan before, Thor himself is no stranger to IF.
He told Men’s Health in 2019, “I’ve been doing a lot of intermittent fasting now—eating between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.,” he said. “I’ve found that it dramatically increased my energy levels. I’ve found that once you get over the initial shock in the first week or two of not eating [as regularly], your body kicks into a different state. I’ve found myself eating less calories but not feeling starved.”
Hemsworth’s trainer Luke Zocchi told Insider that Hemsworth followed a 16:8 fast to drop weight for his role as a sailor in the 2015 film In the Heart of the Sea.
“We implemented intermittent fasting, along with lower calories, and it was crazy how much that worked,” Zocchi said.
The billionaire tech mogul admitted to only eating one meal a day—dinner.
He told Ben Greenfield on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, “During the day, I feel so much more focused. You have this very focused point of mind in terms of this drive. The time back from breakfast and lunch allowed me to focus more on what my day is.”
BILLIONAIRE HEALTH HABITS
He’s got help from the Zero fasting app, which helps you pick a fasting plan based on your goal—including weight loss or energy—and offers expert advice along the way.
For over a decade, neuroscientist and Stanford University professor Andrew Huberman has practiced IF.
“Basically for the last ten years I’ve fasted anywhere from 12 to 16 hours for every 24-hour cycle,” Huberman told Derek Cole on More Plates More Dates. “I sort of fast until about noon and then I eat a low-carb meal,” usually some steak or ground beef, some Brazil nuts, and a vegetable.
But Huberman isn’t in it for the weight loss benefits. Instead, he focuses on the “very powerful and positive impact” it has on your healthspan, including better insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, less oxidative stress, and decreased inflammation, he said on his Huberman Lab podcast.