Intermittently fasting is nothing new, but — especially in recent years — it’s been viewed with almost equal measure of confusion, misunderstanding and skepticism. This is understandable. Fasting seems to go against so much of what we’ve been taught about eating. Aren't we supposed to eat within an hour of waking? Aren't we supposed to eat many smaller meals a day? Aren't we supposed to refrain from eating carbs before bed? Shouldn’t we eat an hour before exercising? And no more than an hour after?
By all accounts, intermittent fasting turns every single one of these much-touted dietary commandments on their heads. It turns them on their heads, and it still gets results. Not slow, plodding, hard-won results, either. People who have had no luck with traditional lifestyle overhauls have incredibly easy and fast results with intermittent fasting.
One of the most amazing results has to do with muscle gains. New groundbreaking research is proving that IF does more than just help you lose weight - it actually helps you build muscle. Whether you’re ready to lose weight or bulk up here’s everything you need to know about IF!
Build Muscle With Intermittent Fasting
Fuel your mind by reading about IF here, then supercharge your body by applying the right IF to fit your lifestyle!
Types of IF
No matter which type of IF you opt for, on fasting days you are permitted to consume non-caloric fluids such as water, tea and coffee (without sweetener or whitener) - skip the diet sodas, the jury is still out on whether they influence insulin levels.
16/8 Method: Time-restricted eating is when you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. An example of this would mean eating from 12 noon - 8pm and then fasting for the next 16 hours. This is the most common form of IF.
Alternate-Day: As the name suggests, you fast one day and then eat the next. This IF is often modified. Instead of a 24 hour fast you restrict your caloric intake to 500-600 calories. Alternate-day fasting is a powerful tool for controlling glucose levels in diabetics.
Eat-Stop-Eat: 1-2 times a week you give up food for 24 hours; you stop eating after dinner on Monday, and your next meal won’t be until Tuesday night. On non-fasting days it’s crucial you eat correctly and consume the daily recommended number of calories.
5:2: Eat normally for 5 days of the week, while the other 2 you restrict yourself to only 500-600 calories a day.
The Mechanics Of Building Muscle Mass Using IF
The common misconception circulating is that fasting will negatively affect lean muscle gains (¼ pound lean muscle lost per day of fasting). But, that just isn’t the case. A 2016 study on overweight individuals compared IF to the preferred weight-loss method dieting or restricting calories, and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of IF. The fasting group lost double the weight (especially visceral fat) while preserving 4x the lean mass, as compared to the calorie-restricted group! In layman’s terms, when you deprive yourself of food your body isn’t going to burn lean mass for energy, it’s going to tap into your fat reserves.
It may seem a bit wonky that starving yourself can actually build muscle but here’s the thing, it’s not the calorie reduction that’s your ally - it’s the hormonal changes sparked by fasting that’s the real hero. The main point we want to circle-around is the effect starvation has on human growth hormones (HGH). Fasting can increase HGH up to 5x naturally! One study reported a 300% HGH increase, three days into a fast! Meaning, if you’re looking for some serious gains, you want to optimize your HGH. HGH plays a huge role in bulking up, reducing inflammation and improving cellular and muscular repair. After all, that’s why HGH is sought by professional athletes. However, it’s now an illegal performance enhancing drug when supplemented.
How To Stimulate HGH NATURALLY To Build Muscle Fast With IF
No matter which study you turn too, there is mounting evidence that IF does wonders for athletes - namely, in stimulating your body into naturally secreting HGH. There’s a reason why top bodybuilders are turning to IF to help them bulk up (think, Brad Pilion author of Eat-Stop-Eat) because it’s, easy to implement and actually works!
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Here’s a question…can you chew gum during your fasting hours? Or does that mess everything up because your body thinks you are eating, therefore changing your hormonal make-up during that time? Thank you!
is it working the same if I do 16/8 eating from 8.00 a.m. till 16.pm and then skipping the dinner?
or do I have to skip breakfast ?
Kristen you can alter times as need to fit your schedule. Just find the fasting window that works best for you. Great article!!
This is an excellent written article. I strongly agree with it. I am always learni g about different ways of coping wirh food and gaining results. I just do my own thing. Am into intuitive eating and i do beleive it is ok to fast if people want although alot of people who are into intuitive eating do not like such things. I would fast if ever i felt like doing so. As and when it suits. Thanks for this article. It is very helpful and intersting.
Yes I do a lot of intermittent fasting for over twenty years now! I run every day and teach killer hiit class a little after the run! 4-6 miles at 5 am and start my first meal at 11 or 12! I use this w many of my patients in the studio and it is a part of my workshop and cleansing today and next month! I am also a former body builder and miss fitness competitor – this was a nicely written article and yes it WORKS MANY BLESSINGS and thx 😘😘💙
I love this article. I’m a lifelong runner and HIIT enthusiast, but at 46, I am noticing that my metabolism is definitely slowing down with age even thought I’m still a very clean eater. My secret to staying slim? Fasting! I find that if I skip dinner once or twice a week, I can much more easily control my weight as well as my hunger. It helps me reset my hunger and blood sugar levels and gives me tons of energy. Kristen – I often will run 5 miles or do my HIIT workout at the end of my fasting period and find that I have more than enough energy. However, I do find that I need to eat pretty soon after my workout, otherwise my body produces a stress response in the form of a sharp foot pain (weird, I know).
I have been afraid to try IF because I workout at 4:30 am. Has anyone done IF while working out in the middle of their “fasting” period?