Every day another fitness trend pops up online. You’ll see these suggestions posted on Facebook and on your favorite fitness blogs. One of the latest and most discussed trends is the concept of intermittent fasting. While this practice has been around for decades, it’s received a lot of attention lately.
The reason for this is that intermittent fasting really works, when done correctly. Though, you should always be careful before testing out a new fitness trend. You want to make sure that it’s right for your specific needs and goals.
So, how do you use intermittent fasting to build strength and is it safe? Those are the two main questions that we want to address in this article.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
You should first ensure that you understand how this process works. Intermittent fasting is not the same as traditional fasting where you completely avoid food for 24 hours or longer.
Instead of fasting for an entire day, you are basically setting an eating window or pushing back your meals to increase the amount of time that you go without food.
Intermittent fasting does not involve restricting your calories. If you want to build muscle, you need to reach a certain number of calories each day. So, you will still reach your target by the end of the day. You are just pushing back your meals later in the day.
One of the main reasons for using intermittent fasting is to build muscle mass while keeping your body lean. When you eat food, you are in a “fed state”. Your body digests and absorbs food for up to 6 hours after your last meal or snack.
While you’re in a fed state, it’s hard to burn fat. When you spread your meals out over the course of the entire day, then the only time that your body is fasting is when you sleep. Obviously, you can’t workout while you sleep.
So, by stretching this fasting period out into the morning, you can burn excess fat during your workouts, allowing you to build lean muscle.
Another benefit of intermittent fasting is that it makes it easier to plan your meals. You’ll be squeezing more calories into the meals that you eat and won’t have to worry about preparing a meal in the morning. You can simply get up and start your day.
How Can You Start Using Intermittent Fasting?
How long should you fast for? A lot of people choose to set an eating window.
You will eat during a specific period of time and avoid food during the rest of the day. The easiest way to stick to this is to choose a time frame that corresponds with your sleep schedule.
If you sleep from 10PM to 6AM, then you could set an eating window that goes lasts between 2PM and 10PM. This means that you would be in a fed state between these hours and fast from 10PM to 2PM – 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.
Another option is to simply avoid eating for the first 4 or 5 hours after you wake up. This is easier for people that work irregular hours.
Intermittent fasting really is that simple. Other than diabetics, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women, anyone can use intermittent fasting – even skinny people.
Can Skinny People Use Intermittent Fasting?
Okay, so you now know how intermittent fasting works, but does this really work for skinny people? One of the biggest obstacles for skinny individuals that want to build muscle is food.
Skinny guys have trouble eating enough to develop larger muscles. This may make you hesitant to try intermittent fasting.
As long as you are able to hit your calorie total for the day, intermittent fasting can definitely be used by skinny people. In fact, you should notice that your appetite increases thanks to the IF.
By putting off your first meal for 4 or 5 hours, you’ll find it easier to eat larger meals later in the day. So, determine how many calories you should eat, and then make sure that you reach this target during your eating window.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe and Healthy for Your Body?
Unless you’re following a high-fat, low-carb diet, such as Atkins or the Ketogenic diet, your body uses glucose as its primary energy source.
Stored glucose can keep you going for about six hours. After this, you start to feel hungry. Though, it can continue to fuel your body for about one or two days. After one or two days, your body begins using fatty acids to produce ketones, which is also the goal of the high-fat, low-carb diets.
What does this all mean? Your body does not actually reach a point of starvation until 3 days without food, as long as you remain hydrated. So, using intermittent fasting only provides the benefits discussed, without any potential risk, other than a couple minor concerns.
The main concerns with fasting include hydration and your intake of calories. Since you will still be getting enough calories later in the day, this eliminates one concern. Though, you will still want to remain hydrated during your fasting period.
Continue drinking water in the morning. Actually, having a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon can help get your body going in the morning while providing a quick boost of energy.
This is especially helpful during your first few days of using intermittent fasting until your body gets used to the lack of nutrition first thing in the morning.
So, intermittent fasting is safe for almost everyone, except for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and diabetics. Just remember to stay hydrated and still hit your caloric intake for the day.
Start Using Intermittent Fasting as Part of Your Strength Training Routine
If you want to make the most of your strength training session, you should think about including intermittent fasting in your daily routine.
Increase your ability to build muscle and get the physique that you’ve been working towards. Remember to share your experience and let us know if intermittent fasting works for you.