Fasting can be described as simply consuming no calories for certain period of time. This can be hours or days. We probably all know that fasting is the ancient method of healing, but we have forgotten.
Fasting is a great way to give your body rest so that it can do whatever needs to be done, such as promoting healing, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy aging, reducing joint pain, improving mental clarity, and preventing or sometimes even reversing chronic diseases. Fasting has many, many benefits but most of us will never try it, even though it is proven to be beneficial.
Did you know that fasting also helps you to improve your body composition and increase muscle mass? You may think how you can possibly gain muscle when you are not eating? And it makes sense that you can’t, yes? Actually no, not really, because when we stop eating the body starts cleansing dead cells. This process is called “autophagy” from the Greek words “auto”, meaning self, and “phagy”, meaning eating. Autophagy is a normal physiological process in the body that deals with destruction of cells in the body. It’s basically the body just doing a little housekeeping and cleansing itself of damaged cells, aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes, as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens.
So when you start feeding again after fasting for a certain number of hours, the body replenishes itself and makes new, stronger cells. How many hours you need to fast to trigger this process really depends on your individual metabolic conditions.
Fasting should really be a lifestyle for all of us. Most of us forget to stop eating and are scared that we will even lose muscle if we don’t eat. Of course, not eating for too long or fasting too often can be damaging for your body — but controlled fasting is quite the opposite.
So fasting really is the best tool for healing and improving body composition for all of us. And it’s completely free… If you are new to fasting then you can start slowly, maybe with a 14 to 16 hour fast, 3 or 4 times a week. 14 to 16 hours is not as much as it sounds, you just stop eating a little earlier in the evening before you sleep and start eating a little later the next morning. If you find it too hard then you can just break your fast, and try again another day. Over time you can increase your fasts to a 24 hour fast once a week. Of course if you are taking medication then make sure to let your physician know too.
I will be sharing more in my coming articles about my own fasting experiences and the types of fasting that I do. Please share your experiences with me too!
And since the title of this article is how fasting can help you gain muscle, don’t forget that only practicing fasting is not enough to gain muscle — you do have to combine it with some resistance training as well…!