Intermittent Fasting has been getting a lot of attention in the fitness industry the last few years, so I wanted to answer a very popular question and give you guys my take on if it can help you build muscle mass effectively. I have actually tried IF at numerous times in my life and have seen some powerful benefits from this diet strategy.
Intermittent fasting simply means that you are going through stages of fasting, meaning you have an “eating window” and a “non eating window”. The typical intermittent fasting window is about 16 hours long, with some guys going as long as 20-22 hours for even greater results.
The reason that guys try this diet strategy for building muscle mass is that it can have a very positive impact on your energy levels, testosterone, and HGH levels.
Boosting your anabolic hormones is really important for building lean muscle mass, as your hormones directly impact your protein synthesis and nitrogen retention. There are several powerful research studies that indicate IF as a means to increase your HGH and Testosterone levels.
If you are eager to learn more about this and check out the research here are a few valuable links:
The Rules of Intermittent Fasting
Let’s first dive into the rules of intermittent fasting so you know how to pull it off. There are a few things you need to follow in order to get all of the benefits we are going to discuss in the next section. Don’t worry – this is really simple stuff and if you can tie your shoes you will have no issue picking up on intermittent fasting.
What you are about to read will challenge your way of thinking and will go against the grain of many things you have been taught.
I urge you to please keep an open mind, and most importantly try this out yourself. My body has reacted wonderfully to intermittent fasting, but other guys have tried it and struggled miserably. What’s important is that you respect the science surrounding IF and that you give this an honest try yourself.
1. You need to make sure you don’t eat for at least 16 hours
Wait – what!? Don’t eat for a full 16 hours! Yes – that is the first requirement of intermittent fasting and is the minimum time you need to go without eating. If you are new to IF you should start here, and as you get more experienced you will find it really easy to not eat for up to 20 hours (it’s actually not as bad as it sounds.)
2. No Liquid Calories
You are not allowed to have any liquid calories during your intermittent fasting period.
This means that you are not allowed to have anything that contains calories and sugar such as sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored coffees and tea with honey and sugar.
You need to make sure you limit what you are drinking to coffee and tea with no added sweetener, water, carbonated water, and in moderation energy drinks and soda with no calories.
No need to overcomplicate things – so these will be the only 2 rules we need to follow. Pretty simple – just don’t consume any calories for 16 hours and stay hydrated by drinking your favorite calorie-free beverages.
How to Build Muscle with Intermittent Fasting
Although you will have much higher HGH and Testosterone levels if you perform IF – that alone is not powerful enough to build muscle mass fast if you don’t follow these other rules.
1. Calorie Surplus Still Vital
Yes – you still need to be at least 250 calories over your maintenance level at the minimum if you want to make fast gains.
If you are having trouble trying to figure out how many calories your maintenance is – make sure to check out your Basal metabolic rate and then multiply by your activity level using the Harris-Benedict equation.
Whatever number that you get for this – you still need to be over 250 calories to make really fast lean muscle gains. I find that this calculator is accurate – but I need to sometimes be as much as 500 calories over this level.
How do we get a calorie surplus during IF? Very easy!
2. Workout at the end of your Fast
If you do it right and your body adjusts well to intermittent fasting, you should be able to get in an intense workout during the last stage of your IF window.
This means that your first meal “breaking the fast” would be your post workout meal, and you will be hungry as f*ck!
Say for example my last meal was at 9 PM the night prior. I will play my workout around 11:30 AM – so by the very end of my training I will be at around 16 hours.
Another benefit from doing this is that I notice when I take pre workout or drink coffee before my workout it hits me way harder – since I am on an empty stomach. I recommend you pick up some GAT Nitraflex on MOS.com for some serious skin tearing pumps and energy.
3. Post Workout Meals are HUGE
If you do everything that I have stated above, you should have absolutely no issue consuming 1,000 calories in your post workout meal. At the end of your IF window your body is in such a prime muscle building state, so load up on those carbs and protein! My favorite go-to is white rice and sirloin steak with avocado. If you have a big enough portion this meal is easily 1,000 plus calories. Add a little olive oil or coconut oil on top and you are golden!
Your post workout meal needs to be at least 1,000 calories if you are trying to build muscle mass, and the next trick is you should incorporate a high-calorie mass building shake for another 1,000 calories.
I have no issue consuming a 1,000 calorie mass building shake about 90 minutes after my post workout meal since its liquid calories.
Here is one of my favorite recipes:
1 cup chocolate almond milk
2 tbsp. liquid coconut oil
1.5 scoops chocolate protein powder
3 tbsp. peanut butter
¼ cup oatmeal
1 frozen banana
2 tbsp. honey
Blend this up and you have another delicious 1,000 calories! What do you guys think of intermittent fasting? Will you give it a try? Let us know in the comments below! [iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/j8e7UkNnKpM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen ]