Fasting INCREASES muscle mass
Fasting INCREASES muscle mass. I get the intuitive idea that not eating will cause the body to “starve” and eat its own lean muscle tissue…..but it is wrong and when we take a step back, doesn’t make as much sense after all.
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, brain neurotransmitters go up and helper proteins are made to help them become more efficient (think memory, mental clarity, cognition), and glucose and fat breakdown hormones go up to burn stored fat.
Bottom line: fasting increases energy, mental acuity, and preserves and grows muscle.
In fact, after short-term traditional fasting periods, intermittent fasting, and fasting-mimicking diets have 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 from fat for energy to muscle and a noted muscle mass loss, 12-18 days while working out, but not strength. So there is that.
In fact, we have used fasting to create an “anabolic rebound” in men to significantly boost their muscle mass and strength right after a 4-5 day fast when we have the right prep work and support during and a post-fast regimen.
During fasting your insulin levels go down greatly, and if not metabolically trained well your muscle glycogen can go down as well causing a flatter, less pumped look, but you are losing water associated with insulin and glycogen, not muscle fiber. Over time this can be avoided.
Our bodies are programmed to not eat periodically and seem to actually need it on a regular basis to function ideally. If every time we skipped a meal, or a day of eating, or even 2 days of eating we lost muscle vs. fat and we got lightheaded, confused, and dysfunctional, then our species would have been gone a long time ago. Eating 5-7 times a day every day is much more system damaging and disease-promoting for most people than fasting.
So, one by one my friends, let’s get rid of any excuses stopping you from giving this a real try. Just remember, “one-off” experiences are not likely to be pleasant, but when this fasting body mechanism is trained over time in the right way it can do great things and even be easy!
Fast well my friends!