You already know that food is fuel. But, what would happen to your strength training if you didn’t follow your standard meal plan? What would happen if you restricted your food intake? Would you start losing muscle? Quite the opposite. With intermittent fasting, you can increase your strength.
Fasting Your Way to Stronger, Leaner Muscles
Intermittent fasting involves restricting food consumption during certain periods of time. During fasting, you consume little to no calories, but you can eat normally during “feasting times.” The end result is not only weight loss but an increase in strength, too.
There’s more to it. This on-and-off eating plan can help prevent diabetes, slow the aging process, regulate blood sugar levels, and lower your risk of heart disease.
Different Ways to Fast
Intermittent fasting teaches your body to use food efficiently. There are a few different methods to fasting, but the two most common are:
- Fast for 24 hours – finish dinner at 7 PM and then not eat again until 7 PM the next day
- Eat regularly during a particular time frame – for instance, eat from noon to 7 PM, skipping breakfast. Some people prefer to eat within a 4-hour window; others within a 6-hour window.
Build Muscle While Fasting
You can fast and still build muscle with little to no increase in your body fat percentage. You can still eat the same number of calories you have been. Instead of spreading out your meals, you condense your calorie consumption into that time frame.
Not convinced? You can check out Nate Green’s story. Nate packed on an impressive amount of muscle when fasting for 24 hours just once a week.
Intermittent fasting flies in the face of old-fashioned bulking techniques. The ones that require you to overeat if you want to build muscle, while packing on the fat. With fasting, you burn the fat, build the muscle, and level out at a comfortable weight. It has revolutionized training.
Here are 7 tips to get you started with intermittent fasting.
1. Start Slowly
If you want to try intermittent fasting, there’s no rush. Pick a small thing to try at first. That could simply mean adjusting your regular mealtimes by an hour to get in those calories within your preferred window period.
2. Workout with Heavy Weights
If you’re going to fast properly, you should be training properly. Use heavier weights to build muscle and take full advantage of the benefits of fasting.
3. Try Late Night Sessions
If you choose to fast during a specified period, get your workouts done in the evenings. You should eat before any kind of resistance training, so after dinner, before you begin your fast is ideal.
Don’t forget about your post-workout carbohydrates and protein. You still need to get those in to kick-start your recovery process. That wouldn’t be allowed if you were fasting all day long.
Train later in the evening, and you’ll be able to have a smaller meal pre-workout and then a good post-workout meal before bedtime.
4. Have the Bulk of Your Calories After Your Workout
You already know that your body uses calories to generate lean muscle mass and boost recovery. But, only if you consume them immediately after the workout.
Figure out your caloric requirements to build muscle. Consume 20% of those calories before working out. Combine carbs and proteins. Then consume the rest right after your session.
5. Eat More Carbs
With this kind of diet, you need a higher carbohydrate intake to build muscle. You need fuel to keep your body going during your intermittent fasts.
6. Eat Before 5 A.M.
Eat something as soon as you wake up. If you’re fasting for convenience, or you’re new to fasting, you can eat whenever you naturally wake up.
Aim to consume a slow digesting source of high-quality protein, such as turkey or extra-lean red meat with cottage cheese.
You can add a small quantity of fat or carbs to your early morning meal. But, make sure you take in around 35% of your daily protein requirements with this meal. This will give your body a steady stream of amino acids as you fast during the day.
7. Break Fast with a Normal Meal
When you’re done fasting, consume a regular size meal. Don’t reach for junk food or an extra-large portion of something. Stick to a regular size meal that includes whole, unprocessed foods. Remember to eat slowly to give your body time to adjust and digest.
The Bottom Line: Fasting Works for Strength Training
Hardcore intermittent fasters have adapted to hunger. In fact, their strength training is thriving. They report feeling more focused, productive, and energetic.
But, if you’re new to fasting, remember that it takes time for the body to adapt to change. You may get light headed. You may struggle to finish a workout at first. This is normal.
Once you break the barrier, you’ll find living – and thriving – easier. Fasting will put you in tune with your body, and your strength training will know no bounds.