Intermittent Fasting for Bodybuilding
How to achieve a good physique using intermittent fasting?
Recent research has shown that there can be fat burning benefits to increasing the amount of time you go without food. The key to intermittent fasting is finding the right balance between eating and fasting.
Daily fasts can last up to 12 hours followed by a 12 hour feast. Intermittent fasting practiced on a weekly basis can mean five days of normal eating and then two days of fasting. Only 0-500 calories are consumed during a fasting period.
Alternating between regular eating and fasting helps the body burn fat and can clear up metabolic issues. Intermittent fasting must be tempered for athletes to maintain muscle mass and enough energy for intense workouts.
Managing Intermittent Fasting for Bodybuilding
The idea of fasting might seem counterproductive to building muscle. The key to strong muscle definition, however, is eliminating the layer of fat around and between the muscles. You will achieve a tighter, more cut looking physique by burning off the excess fat.
Maintaining muscle mass is important, though, and requires protein intake, something you cannot do while you are fasting. This is where the balance between eating and fasting is essential to meeting your fitness goals.
Defining the Fasting Period
Out of the 24 hours in a day, the number that you spend not eating is important. You probably sleep for about 8 hours every night. As long as you do not sleep-walk to the kitchen for a sandwich, that time counts towards your fast. You want to fast for 16 hours every day.
During your fasting period, you should drink water to remain hydrated. You can consume any clear, unsweetened beverage you like. Black coffee and herbal teas are popular choices. Be cautious of drinks with artificial sweeteners. Part of the magic of fasting has to do with resetting your insulin levels. Artificial sweeteners may negate the effect by triggering an insulin response.
Breaking the Fast
At the end of a 16 hour fast, you are free to eat normally for the next 8 hours. You may want to break your fast with a piece of fruit to ease your body out of its hunger. After the first couple days, you won’t have much trouble maintaining your fast for the full 16 hours.
During the feeding period, you should eat normal meals and snacks with an hour or more in between. Your goal is to take in all of your required nutrients for the day in this eight-hour period. If you skimp on food, you will jeopardize your ability to build and maintain muscle mass.
You should find that by eating the same number of calories and macros each day, when you practice intermittent fasting, you see different results. If you are following a targeted eating plan for your fitness goals, the intermittent fasting will help you achieve those goals faster and without a super restrictive diet. It is safe and easy to stick with intermittent fasting long term, tweaking your eating plan as your fitness goals change.