Intermittent fasting, also known as IF, is a way to time your eating, There are a variety of ways with the fasting being as little as 15 to 16 hours or increase into days of alternating fasting. Intermittent fasting can also be done by eating an extremely low calorie diet on some days and eating regularly on other days. You might not think that fasting is a wise choice, especially while building muscle, but it may actually help you build faster.
IF may actually help build muscle strength.
You probably think that your body will burn lean muscle tissue for energy, but that’s simply not true, especially on the 12-16 hour fast with normal eating the other 12-8 hours. One study compared two groups of men doing strength training. The first group used time restricted intermittent fasting and the second group ate normally. After eight weeks, the results of muscle strength and endurance were the same for both groups.
Another study found that people who combined IF with resistance training also received benefits.
This study had researchers from the US, Brazil and Italy. They focused on the IF diet where the participants fasted for 16 hours and ate normally in the other 8 hours. They also had a control group that followed the same exercise regimen, but ate normally. The group that fasted did lose more fat than the other group, but there were no differences in muscle mass or muscle strength between the two groups. The scientists deduced that using IF while building muscle could help decrease body fat, but didn’t affect muscle mass.
It’s more about what you eat when you eat.
While IF does help you lose weight, it’s partially because most studies find you eat less when you eat in a specific window of time. Make sure you have enough protein in those meals, such as a gram of protein per pound of body weight. Avoid taking large amounts of caffeine, but you can have a cup of coffee before working out to give your workout a boost.
- If you use IF to burn fat, schedule your workout during fasting time and within two hours of your window to eat or for best results, immediately afterward. If the window to eat was before your workout, you can skip the post-workout snack.
- Studies show that the 16hr fast/8hr eating pattern is enough to make changes at a cellular level. It starts the process of cell repair and increases HGH—human growth hormone.
- If you want to get rid of belly fat, IF is a good choice. Studies used two groups, one fasted, one that focused on calorie restriction. The group that fasted reduced their waist circumference by as much as 7%, losing more belly fat and lost less muscle mass than the calorie restricted group.
- Studies show that IF reduces inflammation, which may help slow aging, reduce chronic disease and prevent oxidative stress. It helps brain function and cardiovascular help, too.
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