Fasting does not negatively affect muscle growth or strength gains when done correctly. There are many myths about fasting and its effects on your muscles. Let’s get straight to it:
Myth #1: If I don’t eat anything for 24 hours, my muscles will atrophy and I won’t grow anymore!
Fact: This myth is based on poor research methods and faulty studies. Research shows that if you do not consume any food at all for 24 hours, your muscles will not lose their size and strength. You may have heard that you need to abstain from eating for a certain amount of time before gaining muscle mass.
However, this method doesn’t work because it only works on sedentary individuals with no exercise routine. It cannot be used on athletes or those who train regularly (like bodybuilders).
The reason why this myth persists is because most people believe that they would gain weight after fasting. But this isn’t true either. When you restrict calories, your body starts losing water and your metabolism slows down.
Your body needs to maintain a constant level of fluids in order to function properly. So even though you might lose some fat, you’re still going to gain water weight which could cause problems later on in life like dehydration and high blood pressure.
Myth #2: Fasting allows you to eat more during feeding periods.
Fact: This isn’t necessarily true. Since your body doesn’t store as much glycogen (a form of carbohydrates) when you’re in a fasted state, your body can’t hold as much energy which means that your body has to scavenge for usable energy sources. One of these energy sources is your muscles.
This problem is further compounded if you do excessive cardio along with doing an aggressive diet.
This means that your body is likely to break down your muscle tissue and use it as an energy source instead of using food you eat. This is why most people lose weight even when they eat a lot. You don’t gain muscle by fasting; you actually LOSE IT.
The best way to go about this is by doing weights along with eating a high protein diet. This will allow you to reap all the benefits of fasting while still building muscle.
Myth #3: Fasting helps you lose weight quickly.
Fact: True, but only in the short term. People usually resort to fasting in order to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Once again, this method only works on sedentary people and those who don’t exercise at all.
It doesn’t work on athletes or people who train regularly.
The reason why this method doesn’t work on athletes is because it puts your muscles at a metabolic disadvantage. Since your body is in a fasted state, your body has to break down muscle tissue in order to get the energy it needs for your workouts.
In addition, your body starts burning less fat because your body doesn’t have enough energy to perform the movements you’re doing.
This means that you burn less fat and gain less muscle while training less effectively. So in the long run, fasting actually slows down your weight loss progress instead of speeding it up.
The only people who should consider fasting are those who need to get really lean for a show or photo shoot. Most people should eat at least 5-6 meals a day consisting of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. This will keep your energy levels constant and your metabolism working at its peak efficiency which will speed up fat loss.
Myth #4: Fasting leads to a longer life span.
Fact: No it doesn’t. While there is some truth to the fact that starving yourself leads to a longer life span, this isn’t really a desirable outcome for most people. Prolonged dieting and starvation actually slows down your metabolism which means that it becomes harder and harder to lose weight as you get older.
In addition, your immune system starts to break down which makes you more susceptible to disease. Most people who resort to long term fasting do so out of religious reasons or some sort of fanaticism.
While your life span may be longer, it certainly isn’t what most would consider “quality.” While there is some truth to the fact that you can live without eating, humans were not meant to starve themselves.
Long story short, if you want to live a long and healthy life, you’re better off just following a good nutrition program instead of resorting to fad diets.
Myth #5: Fasting clears out your digestive system.
Fact: This is by far the most ridiculous myth about fasting that I’ve ever heard. Your digestive system is a complex network of organs that is there for the sole purpose of breaking down and absorbing nutrients from food.
For the most part, these organs digest and absorb all the nutrients they can from the food you eat and then expels the rest as waste.
There’s no “cleansing” that goes on in your body. Your body is actually pretty good at maintaining homeostasis and doesn’t need to expel stuff that would be seen as “toxic” by proponents of the colon cleansing craze.
If this myth was true, everyone who ate a salad would have incredibly toxic bowel movements.
Don’t waste your time fasting
As you can see, most of the myths about fasting are completely unfounded and aren’t based on any facts. It’s actually more effective to follow a good nutrition program that’s geared towards fat loss and muscle gain than it is to follow a crazy diet like fasting.
If you’re looking for a way to lose weight without having to starve yourself, I’d suggest checking out the Turbulence Training fat loss program. You can find out more about it at the link below…
Learn More About Turbulence Training Now!
Learn more about fasting and how it can affect your body composition at the other link below…
The Downfall of Fasting For Men
Fasting for Weight Loss: Can it Help?
Fat Loss Myths: Busted!
Sources & references used in this article:
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Ramadan fasting does not adversely affect neuromuscular performances and reaction times in trained karate athletes by N Zarrouk, O Hammouda, I Latiri, H Adala… – Journal of the …, 2016 – Springer
Two-day fasting evokes stress, but does not affect mood, brain activity, cognitive, psychomotor, and motor performance in overweight women by R Solianik, A Sujeta – Behavioural brain research, 2018 – Elsevier
Major determinants of fasting heat production and energetic cost of activity in growing pigs of different body weight and breed/castration combination by J Van Milgen, JF Bernier, Y Lecozler… – British Journal of …, 1998 – cambridge.org
Fasting ghrelin is related to skeletal muscle mass in healthy adults by K Tai, R Visvanathan, AJ Hammond, JM Wishart… – European journal of …, 2009 – Springer
Plasma ghrelin levels in rainbow trout in response to fasting, feeding and food composition, and effects of ghrelin on voluntary food intake by E Jönsson, A Forsman, IE Einarsdottir, H Kaiya… – … and Physiology Part A …, 2007 – Elsevier
… are inversely associated with overall and central fat distribution but are not directly regulated by acute fasting or leptin administration in humans: cross-sectional and … by A Gavrila, JL Chan, N Yiannakouris… – The Journal of …, 2003 – academic.oup.com
Comparison of isotope ratio mass spectrometry and nondispersive isotope-selective infrared spectroscopy for 13C-urea breath test by V Savarino, GS Mela, P Zentilin, G Bisso… – The American journal of …, 1999 – Elsevier
Effects of handling regime and sex on changes in cortisol, thyroid hormones and body mass in fasting grey seal pups by KA Bennett, SEW Moss, P Pomeroy… – … and Physiology Part A …, 2012 – Elsevier