Intermittent fasting for muscle gain

by - April 09, 2019


A lot of the time when people embark on intermittent fasting, it is for the purpose of losing weight. It is important to realize that without exercise, weight loss will usually come from a loss of both fat mass and lean mass.

Lean mass is everything besides fat, including muscle. This occurs with intermittent fasting and every other diet. Based on research though, it is likely that intermittent fasting will not cause you to lose more muscle than other weight loss diets.

A lot of research (though not enough because there’s a lot of questions that still need answering) has been carried out to answer the question “Can Intermittent Fasting be used to gain muscle?” and for this article, some of the results of this research works will be cited in a bid to answer this question to the best possible truth.

In order to gain muscle, you must eat more calories than you burn, have enough protein to build new muscle tissue and have a sufficient exercise stimulus to cause growth. This said, intermittent fasting might not be the best way to gain muscle because it could make it difficult to get enough calories to build muscle. This is based on the knowledge that the purpose of the fast is actually to burn calories.

Some research has shown that consuming protein regularly throughout the day could benefit your muscles, therefore you may have to make a bigger effort to get enough protein when eating less often than with a normal diet. The more protein you consume, the more positive your body’s nitrogen balance will be. This generally results in more potential for muscle maintenance.

Once again, these reasons don’t necessarily mean that it is impossible to gain muscle with intermittent fasting, but that it may not be the easiest diet for gaining muscles.

According to Bates, if you choose to use intermittent fasting to help gain muscle, working out during your fasting period (preferably in the morning) is recommended for you.
She noted that this tactic "will help your body take advantage of the boosted growth hormone levels that you achieve during the fasted state." The biggest consideration, however, is to be mindful of what you're eating. "Just make sure that once you are ready to break your fast, you eat a nutrient-dense meal with healthy fats, proteins, and carbs."

Lopez says. "What I have found with regards to building muscle [through IF] is a little complicated," he said, explaining that the primary use of IF is to "cut weight," which is typically counterintuitive if your goal is gaining muscle. "Basically, if you end up eating one less meal by Spontaneous meal skipping, you will end up losing weight — thermodynamically sensical," and from this, he typically sees muscle maintenance vs. muscle gain.

He went further to say that where he had seen the most lean mass gain is from people who continue eating the same or more calories, but fit all of their eating into a relatively small eating block (seven to nine hours a day where you can eat, which could be the16:8 fast)

He explained that this gives you the benefit of the fasting, plus the benefit of a high-calorie diet which you need to build new lean muscle tissue.

So with this approach, you're burning fat and gaining muscle simultaneously. "This is no small feat, as you realize you are constantly eating in your eating block." Easier said than done, apparently!

Research has shown that weight training can help maintain muscle during intermittent fasting. Weight training three days per week may help maintain muscle during fat loss caused by intermittent fasting.

In conclusion, gain muscle during intermittent fasting is no mean feat and would require a lot of dedication and hard work. If you do stick with it, however, you can be sure that the results will be phenomenal and you earn bragging rights to say “yes, I aimed for it and achieved it”!!!

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