From Muscle Sport Magazine
Starvation is the first thing that comes to mind for most people upon hearing the word “fasting.” However, it’s a common misconception that needs some addressing.
The truth is, Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is an eating pattern that involves fasting or food restriction periods. That said, there’s no way your body will get starved nor deprived of nutrients since what you’re going to do is only to alter your eating patterns a bit for you to have an “eating period” and a “fasting period” each day. Also, your body is familiar with IF since our ancestors have practiced it in the past. Thus, it already knows how to adjust accordingly.
If you follow Intermittent Fasting, there’s going to be a specific time frame each day where you won’t eat. You can check an IF guide to learn more about its different stages.
From fat loss, improved blood pressure, to mental clarity, IF comes with a lot of benefits when practiced appropriately. However, because of fear of muscle loss, many fitness enthusiasts hesitate to join the Intermittent Fasting bandwagon. They failed to realize that together with weight loss, muscle gain is another benefit of IF!
Will Muscle Loss Result From Intermittent Fasting
As already mentioned above, many people associate IF with muscle loss. However, that’s not necessarily true.
What happens is that your body will continue to burn carbohydrates for energy during your first to the second day of fasting. It’ll then start to burn fat once it notices the decreased number of carbs in the body after doing IF for a short while. Popular diets, like Keto, relies on this fat-burning state of the body to work. That said, your stored fat acts as a backup generator that your body can use to generate energy in the absence of carbs.
Since the lack of carbs will also mean a lack of proteins, your body can’t feast on your muscles. A lowered protein baseline also means that your body has started to implement the process of muscle conservation.
So, will muscle loss result from Intermittent Fasting? The answer can be yes if you’re going to starve yourself. However, IF is different from starvation. There are IF methods out there that’ll enable you to work on muscle building and avoiding the withering of muscle mass.
Read on to have a more detailed look at how intermittent fasting can help in muscle building.
Muscle Building Needs Human Growth Hormone
Intermittent fasting increases the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). If you’re a muscle-building enthusiast, it should make IF interesting for you.
As you probably already know, workout recovery becomes easier and faster with elevated HGH. And, of course, the icing on the cake, an increased HGH in the body also means an increased muscle mass.
Your Metabolic Rate Increases With IF
Fasting can increase the resting metabolic rate of a person. The metabolic rate increases more the longer the fasting periods become. Therefore, IF can increase the total energy expenditure of your body, causing you to lose weight faster.
An increased metabolic rate means shredding fats in the body while increasing muscle mass since fats are the body’s preferred source of energy. The body will make use of muscle proteins when you experience starvation, which, again, doesn’t happen in IF.
It’s essential to note that IF is different from prolonged fasting. The former increases metabolic rate while the latter slows it down. Intermittent Fasting doesn’t bring a person’s body to starvation mode as long as it gets implemented the right way.
Fewer Calories Get Into Your Body
Weight loss becomes easier to achieve when you follow Intermittent Fasting since you’re going to cut on calories. Even by only skipping a single meal in a day, you’ll be in a caloric deficit state, helping you lose pounds.
Again, it would mean that your body will feast on your stored fats for energy, maintaining muscle mass in the process.
Intermittent Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Burning more fat while sustaining muscle mass becomes possible when working out while in a fasted state. It’s likely because of insulin sensitivity, which enables the immediate distribution of energy from the consumed food to where they need to be in the body. So, rather than storing it later, the energy from the food you’ll eat after your fasting window will get consumed right away. That’s why higher muscle mass is associated with better insulin sensitivity.
If you’re someone who’s trying to limit your fat gain while undergoing muscle conditioning exercises, the ability of IF to improve insulin sensitivity should be a piece of good news for you.
When you look at them initially, it seems that muscle gain and Intermittent Fasting are impossible to coexist. However, the discussion in this post should change your mind.
Your muscle-building goals won’t get compromised if you participate in IF. Intermittent fasting could even be a better way to gain more muscle as it increases Human Growth Hormone in the body, increases metabolic rate, limits your calorie intake, and improves insulin sensitivity, all of which are factors that affect muscle building.