If I am lifting three times a week, can I have a 24h or 48h fast on the weekend (say, eat last meal on Friday evening and then next have on Saturday or Sunday evening)? Am I going to lose muscle mass because of this or am I safe and I can use this method to reduce my weakly calories intake?
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A 24 hour fast is not going to hurt you or magically cause you to lose muscle. In fact, there are several intermittent fasting (IF) approaches that talk about how to balance food, fasting, and lifting. The short list of these are:
Each of these have slightly different approaches to fasting, eating, and exercise, but the basic principles are the same:
The key to successfully pulling this off is to manage your recovery--the rules of which don't change whether you intend to fast or not. For about 48 hours after you lift, your muscles are sensitive to insulin. This is a good thing, because it takes the carbohydrates you eat post workout and feeds that energy to your muscles first. Of course you still need your protein, fat, etc. to rebuild your muscles while you are resting.
The idea behind the approach is that you continue to gain muscle while burning fat more effectively. The idea is not to give yourself a Caloric deficit. It's to give you the Calories you need, in a way that helps you stay leaner in the process. There are some people in the lifting forum I use who swear by IF, but I have yet to attempt it myself. The only thing I can say is that these guys lift very respectable weights, so that tells me you can incorporate fasting and weightlifting.
The biggest difference between the above dietary approaches is how long the fast is, and how long the feeding window is. Eat Stop Eat is closer to what you are discribing in your question where you fast on rest days, but feast on workout days. Lean Gains is where you have an 8 hour feeding window, and the other 16 hours are fasted. Bottom line is that it is possible to lift and fast.
I am a powerlifter I started intermittent fasting 10 weeks ago, I fast from lunch to lunch 2 times a week (from monday lunch to tuesday lunch, and thursday lunch to friday lunch) I don't eat anything, just water black coffee and that's pretty much it, I still lift on fasting days without a problem, I just lost fat and nothing else. While you 're on a fasted state your body will generate growth hormones to keep your muscle mass intact. Don't worry about losing muscle cuz you won't! Hope that helps, talk to you next time.
While @berin brought leangains into the topic already, he didn't address @gruszczy's concerns about any actual studies to this end.
Martin Berkhan, of course, addresses this topic to some degree at leangains in point #4 and #6 of the article Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked:
I've heard this as well, and honestly as a person who really wants to get ripped and lean all I can do is try the 16 hour fast and make sure my meals are healthy.
I have tried this fasting program for only one week now. I workout fasted and do low intensity cardio fasted and then I consume my meals throughout the 8 hour window.
Honestly, I am stronger and leaner from doing this program for one week. I can see the results.
However, your body is different than others so all you can do is try the program for a few weeks and see what your body looks like and how you feel.
It is all about nutrient timing in my opinion. Good luck!
Fasting is overrated and unproductive. I agree with Chris. You want to keep your body in an anabolic state and keep your blood sugar balanced as often as possible. These fasting programs are just a gimmick to sell, e-books, programs, etc. Your fasting for the day should occur when your head hits the pillow for 8 hours.
Good luck with your future endeavours,