Anyone who’s serious about lifting weights, fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle, knows that eating a healthy diet and consuming lots of protein is the fastest way to building a muscular and aesthetically pleasing body. And it’s not enough to build muscle only. Since you’ll inevitably gain some fat in the process, the end goal is to lose the fat while maintaining the muscle which will give you the ideal physique.
Millions of people around the world strive to achieve this and many succeed while following a strict diet and training regimen. However, one might ask if it’s possible to skip out on some meals and still get more ripped, muscular and stronger overall?
The majority of people think that fasting will only make them lose their hard-earned muscle. However, there’s mounting evidence against this claim. Fasting has been proven repeatedly to bring many health benefits. Besides, everyone has fasted numerous times in their lives, without even realizing it. People have been deliberately practiced fasting since the dawn of mankind. When you think about it, it’s where “breakfast” got its name from. When you sleep for 8 hours, you fast. When you eat in the morning, you break the fast.
What we’re suggesting here is planned fasting. Intermittent fasting, to be more accurate. What this means is that you’ll fast for a certain time period every day, let’s say 16 hours, and then eat all of your daily calories within an 8-hour time frame.
Usually, this “feeding window” begins with a post-workout shake or meal. You can change the fasting and feeding time windows and adjust them to your daily schedule. You can also try a 24-hour fast one or twice a week. So, instead of fasting because you were forced to due to some unexpected circumstances, you now know exactly when you’re going to fast.
Now, let’s go over the reasons why you should start planned fasting and why it works so well.
1. Fasting increases fat loss
The first reason on our list is just plain obvious. When you haven’t consumed anything for a prolonged period of time, your body starts looking for other sources of energy. The first thing it uses is stored carbs in the form of glycogen and fat. Pre-planned fast increases the period you are using glycogen even more, as well as burning fat. You get a double effect if at the end of your fast you start lifting weights. This works from both aspects.
You’re burning more calories, which will lead to increased fat burning. Your muscle gains won’t just disappear all of a sudden. It’s really hard to lose muscle tissue. In fact, a lot harder than the companies selling supplements would want you to believe. Once the fast is over, the body has as its utmost priority to replenish its glycogen stores as fast as possible, since glycogen is the preferred energy source. This, in turn, means that in the hours after you’ve trained the body needs to burn something in order to stay alive. The thing that is winds up burning is body fat.
2. Fasting will improve your body’s hormonal control and balance. This means more muscle and less fat.
When sleeping at night, growth hormone is released inside the body. This hormone plays a key role in repairing damaged tissue, rebuilding muscle and becoming ripped. Growth hormone is actually one of the main factors that contribute to gaining lots of strength and muscle. When you eat your breakfast in the morning, you shut off the secretion of the growth hormone. Fasting further prolongs the secretion of growth hormone. This translated to increased gains, recovery and increased strength.
Fasting does another little trick that forces your body to release more of the hormone known as leptin. This hormone is one of the key regulators of hunger, which directly impacts fat loss. It plays a major role in metabolism regulation and whether you’ll become a fat-burning furnace. This is due to the fact that it regulates other hormones like T3 and T4. These two are so powerful when it comes to burning fat, that pro bodybuilders take their synthetic versions before bodybuilding competitions to quickly shed the extra fat. They are extremely potent hormones and you can stimulate their release simply by including planned fasts in your diet.
3. Fasting can help reverse the damage done to the liver and induce neuron regeneration in the brain
So far, one thing is evidently clear: during a fast the body is forced to rely on other energy sources because there’s no food coming in. The alternatives are mainly glycogen and fat. Additionally, there’s also another process that’s triggered in the body called cellular autophagy. Autophagy basically means cleansing. You often hear a lot about so-called cleanses sold online or in a store which are totally ineffective, whilst fasting will really work in cleansing the damaged cells. The majority of these cells are found in the liver, the organ in charge of filtering all kinds of toxins and “bad” substances from your body.
It’s also been suggested that fasting seems to “turn on” a gene which is in charge of regenerating neurons. This is something that scientists long believed could not happen. This is a big discovery since it means that the brain’s health can be prolonged. As someone who trains regularly and intensely, but also likes to drink a couple of beers afterward, your body takes quite a beating. You go to the gym to get a quick pump and then go out and pound some beers. When you do this you burn lots of neurons, which in the long-term negatively affects your brain’s health. Fasting helps the liver do its job more effectively, and helps keep your brain healthy and always focused on the challenges ahead.
Fasting is also the easiest way one can add into his existing nutrition plan that will help him or her get ripped by the time summer arrives. It speeds the process of fat loss. It helps you gain strength. It helps reverse the damage done to the body by heavy lifting. Need we list more things, for you to try it out?