We all agree that the high-protein breakfast is the staple of the bodybuilding diet. Proteins in the evening, proteins in the morning, proteins in between workouts – all of this is crucial for muscle growth and repair, while eating many meals per day is as popular as it will ever be. Unless you’re following a crash diet (which we highly recommend you not to do) or simply starving for the purpose of extreme weight loss without any exercise involved, eating big and healthy a few times a day is the backbone of any bodybuilding efforts.
That being said, what if skipping some meals now and then could result in stronger effects? Let’s say you have a hard time with your cutting phase and your body resists being transformed into a more effective fat-burning machine – a bit of fasting is the push you desperately need.
No, we’re not talking bullshit in order to entertain you or increase profits for some dieting book out there – we’re talking about an activity done by human beings since the beginning of time which is approved by modern science. In other words, fasting has already been proven to do wonders in the process of shedding body fat, increasing ripped, lean mass and fixing many health issues.
We’re not claiming that every guy out there should stop whatever he’s doing and try this – it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, pretty much like everything else. In the end, different bodies will react differently to any given regime, and the type of training has a big saying in that. But if you’re willing to go outside the box in order to squeeze optimal benefits out of your diet, this might be the tool that will make you stand out from the average gym-going crowd.
The method we’re talking about is called intermittent fasting, which means it’s not that thing where you don’t eat for a week – it’s about incorporating planned intervals of fasting into your diet regime instead. All of us already fast for eight hours every single night during sleep, but doubling up that period can lead to greater gains.
The typical way of intermittent fasting is to have 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of regular food consumption every day (the latter usually begins with a post-workout meal). Then you have the harder way of doing it – 24 hours of fasting once or twice per week. No matter which path you choose, the results will become visible in no time. What kind of results, you wonder? Read further.
1. Intermittent Fasting Leads to Increased fat loss
It’s a no-brainer, really. When you fast for a longer period, your body reaches deep into the pockets of body fat and glycogen to get the fuel needed to keep you alive and functioning properly. Since the calories from the last meal you’ve ingested are long gone, the body has to burn stored fat in order to support your energy needs.
Add some weightlifting at the end of the fasting session and you’ve successfully doubled your daily fat loss, while keeping your muscle mass intact.
2. Intermittent Fasting Improves hormonal balance
Fasting influences every major body process, including the release of hormones. As you already know, the levels of the growth hormone, the magic chemical that helps in the building and rebuilding of muscles, get significantly increased during sleep. That’s why we keep repeating that rest is crucial for big gains. With prolonged fasting all through the morning and early afternoon, the production of growth hormone keeps being stimulated, providing you with better recovery and greater gains.
Furthermore, fasting increases the production of the anti-inflammatory kind of cytokines, which are associated with improved insulin sensitivity, decreased fat storage and improved muscle regeneration. At the same time, it stimulates the release of a hormone called leptin as well – you may have heard of bodybuilders taking synthetic versions of leptin to speed up fat loss before competitions.
Leptin plays a crucial role in controlling hunger and feelings of satiety, as well as regulating the metabolism and the size of fat cells. In other words, the release of leptin from the fat tissue signals the brain that you’ve eaten enough – the more of it you have, the faster your metabolism and the greater your control over food cravings will become, leading to an increased burning of fat.
And the best natural way to increase your leptin production is by adequately long periods of fasting. If you fast for too long and/or already have a really low percentage of body fat, the levels of leptin will become suppressed.
3. Enhanced detox and regeneration
The last but not least cool fasting-enhanced process worth mentioning here is cellular autophagy – a physiological process in the body that deals with destruction of damaged cells and stimulating new cell formation, which is really important for flushing out damaged organelles, pathogens, non-functional proteins and toxins, supporting tissue regeneration and preserving lean mass.
With the help of autophagy cells give themselves a nice spring cleaning and get ready to work more efficiently, thus protecting your overall health and enhancing performance.
Implementing intermittent fasting into your current lifestyle might take some time, patience and practice, but we assure you it’s totally worth your while. Once you get the hang of it and push your body to switch to fat-burning mode, it will get a lot easier. You’ll burn fat faster while increasing strength and lean mass, and on top of that you’ll feel refreshed and brand new.
Start fasting while regularly pounding those weights and you’ll get dudes approaching you to find out the secret to your insane progress in no time.