Fasting INCREASES muscle mass
Fasting INCREASES muscle mass. I get the intuitive idea that not eating will cause the body to “starve” and devour its own lean muscle tissue…..but it is wrong. And when we take a step back, it doesn’t make as much sense.
Simple facts about short-term fasting (1-5 days) are that our energy goes up (adrenaline), our muscle preservation and growth hormones go up dramatically (Human Growth Hormone), testosterone goes up, and brain neurotransmitters go up.
Helper proteins are made to help them become more efficient (think memory, mental clarity, cognition), and fat breakdown hormones go up to burn stored fat. In contrast, the fat (energy) storage hormone insulin goes down.
Bottom line: fasting increases energy and mental acuity and preserves and grows muscle.
In fact, after short-term traditional fasting periods, intermittent fasting, and fasting mimicking diets, it has been shown in DEXA and MRI scans to increase lean body mass…..even when NOT EATING.
We have seen this to be true in our one on one programs even when people are working out regularly, including high-intensity training and heavy weight lifting while fasting.
We have also seen that fasting and exercise training has a point at which the body will shift away from fat for energy and use protein, and when measured, a noted lean body mass loss. That usually is seen during a fast lasting 12-18 days while working out, but no decrease in strength or stamina.
Lean body mass VOLUME is reducing, which could be from water retention changes or glycogen use from the muscle glucose stores, but no reduction in actual muscle fibers. And it has always come back quickly upon the reintroduction of food and eating plans. So there is that.
In fact, we have used fasting to create an “anabolic rebound” in men to significantly boost their muscle mass, give a leaner look and strength right after a 4-5 day fast when we have the proper prep work and support during the fast and a well-planned post fast diet and exercise regimen.
During fasting, your insulin levels go down significantly. If not metabolically trained well, your muscle glycogen can also decrease, causing a flatter, less pumped look.
Still, you lose water associated with insulin and glycogen, not muscle fiber.
Over time this can be avoided. In fact, when you become metabolically flexible, research shows you can shift into fat burning without depleting all your glycogen stores first, which is opposite to the conventional views on fat burning.
Our bodies are programmed to “not eat” or fast periodically and seem to need it regularly to function ideally. If every time we skipped a meal, a day of eating, or even 2 days of eating, we lost muscle vs. fat or got light-headed, confused, and dysfunctional, our species would have been gone long ago.
When we go through a period without food, our senses and bodies heighten to help up find food….evolutionarily speaking.
Eating 5-7 times a day daily is much more system-damaging, and disease-promoting for most people than people realize and contribute to all our current chronic diseases on the insulin resistance spectrum, like metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and obesity.
So, one by one, my friends, let’s eliminate any excuses stopping you from giving this an honest try. Just remember, “one-off” experiences are not likely to be pleasant.
Still, when this fasting mechanism that is naturally in our body is trained over time in the right way, it can do great things and even be easy and, dare I say, enjoyable!
If you need help or a specific fasting program, feel free to write meet&greet in the comments or message me directly.
Keep following and join my group, “Insulin Friendly Fasting Secrets,” for more info. Fast well, my friends!
We can do better!