The Intermittent Fasting Guide To Building Muscle
Written by Frank Rich on October 8, 2019
In today’s age, fad diets are constantly rising and falling. If you’re like the majority of people out there, you probably want to figure out how to eat to get ripped while still avoiding meals that are barely enough to fill a toddler’s stomach.

You’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting and I’m sure you’re wondering why anyone would buy into a program that doesn’t allow them to eat for most of the day if they’re trying to gain muscle.
After all, you have to eat all the time to get big, right?

Not necessarily. Let’s set the record straight.

Starting with the basics, muscle is built by using the SAID Principle. In case you need a refresher, SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Therefore, lifting things up and putting them down will indeed help you build muscle, matter how you do it. (1)

The How To Guide

Now, in terms of building muscle through intermittent fasting, there are a number of things to consider.

First, going prolonged periods of time without eating (usually about 16 hours straight) will start to reshape your metabolism. The rate of activity will increase and, at first, the body starts to lean up a bit. (2)

This gets thrown into overdrive when doing cardio in a fasted state. When one hasn’t eaten in 8-12 hours, all of the body’s energy is going towards the exercise and fat burn, rather than digestion of nutrients, which will usually re-direct some of this energy.(2)

Following this plan for cardio has been shown time and time again to help achieve a more desirable aesthetic physique, as long as it is not in complete excess. Doing extensive cardio in a fasted state may actually cause the body to enter a catabolic state, meaning that tissue will break down. This will make gaining muscle very, very challenging. (3)

Secondly, it is important to plan out weight training sessions carefully to ensure that there is enough in the tank to get through the workout and that there will be a chance to refuel after. If gaining muscle is the top priority, it is essential that enough food is consumed prior to lifting to fuel the entire session. If not, less weight will be moved for less reps, meaning that the imposed demand we talked about earlier will be less significant with less significant results to show. (2)

A poorly understood aspect of weight training is a concept called “The Golden Hour.” While it’s not exactly 60 minutes, this period refers to the 1.5-2 hours post-workout that are critical to refueling properly, allowing you to recover and get back at it the following day.

During this time period, glycogen restoration is essential for helping tissues to recover quickly. Since we drain our energy stores during training, restoring properly prevents our body from breaking down muscular gains to sustain energy levels. This is done through the consumption of good sources of carbs, such as whole grain and wheat products. (2)

In addition to the focus on glycogen restoration during this period, protein synthesis is at its best immediately post-workout. Refueling with protein during this time is essential to promote muscle growth at maximal individual levels.

Third, the amount of calories actually consumed during periods of eating is an extremely important factor. It is close to impossible to make any type of significant muscle increase if calories are being restricted to excess.

The idea of intermittent fasting is usually to get the metabolism fired up during times of fasting, not to limit the amount of calories taken in over the course of the day. This is especially important for those who workout regularly. If energy levels become too low, the body will start breaking down bone and limiting testosterone production to conserve energy for necessary physiological functions. (3)

With this said, it is important that short cuts are not taken to reach caloric goals. Eating full, balanced meals every 1.5-2 hours with perhaps one larger meal mixed in will allow for optimal health and muscle growth during a period of fasting. Eating junk that’s high in calories won’t cut it and performance will almost definitely suffer.

The moral of the story is that like any more intense training methods, whether utilizing diet or workout modifications, results will happen with the proper discipline and an educated approach. Know the why behind every program you do.





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About Author:
Frank Rich

Frank Rich is an online fitness entrepreneur, fitness author, certified trainer & nutrition coach, and bodybuilder. He has close to 2 decades of training experience himself, and has helped thousands of men around the world build muscle, lose fat, and transform their lives. Frank has dedicated himself to helping 100,000 men build what he defines as a MASSTHETIC PHYSIQUE. 
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