Fitness Magazine

Intermittent Fasting- A Scientifically Proven Method to Build Lean Muscle & Loose Fat

By Becca1122 @fitnesscrazedd

According to Medical News Today, 16:8 intermittent fasting, which people sometimes call the 16:8 diet or 16:8 plan, is a popular type of fasting. 16:8 intermittent fasting is a form of time-restricted fasting. It involves consuming foods during an 8-hour window and avoiding food, or fasting, for the remaining 16 hours each day. In this eating method, we plan and eat all our meals in the 8 hour eating window and give our digestive system a 16 hour break.

Intermittent fasting is not a new concept. In many religions and cultures(especially South Asian) people have been practising fasting for centuries. However in modern society, most people who follow the 16:8 plan abstain from food at night and for part of the morning and evening. They tend to consume their daily calories during the middle of the day.

What happens to the body when you practise intermittent fasting?

As per Healthline journal, when someone is practising intermittent fasting the following alteration occur in the body:

  • Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
  • Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
  • Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
  • Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

In short when insulin level is dropping due to not eating for 16 hours and HGH increasing body starts muscle regeneration faster and uses stored energy to do so. This process helps our bodies to burn fat and produce leaner muscle faster. This effect has been proven scientifically and it is a safe way to get leaner.

What are the essential things in terms of lifestyle habits and nutrition during intermittent fasting?

It is important to keep in mind the following things before anyone starts intermittent fasting:

  • It is a time restricted eating method. It does not mean one starves oneself. So plan your meal accordingly in the 8 hour eating window and make sure you are consuming adequate calories.
  • Focus on taking balanced meal. Each meal should include fibre, complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein.
  • Avoid sugar and junk food. No point in fasting and then eating refined food or junk food as they give empty calories.
  • Hydrate yourself throughout the day.
  • Workout just before or during the eating window. Exercise can trigger hunger.
  • Ensure at least 6-8 hours sleep.

Even though it is a safe lifestyle change, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everybody. Please consult with your doctor before you choose to start fasting. It is not advisable to pregnant women and people who suffer from low blood pressure.

Also, be flexible and ease your way into fasting. Do not aim to do 16 hours fast on the first day. Start with 12 hours and see how you feel. Later you can increase fasting hours gradually. If you have social events or anything where you have to eat, adjust your eating window keeping that in mind.

People of Muslim faith get a wonderful opportunity to reap the benefits of fasting each year during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan offers an excellent window to regulate your food intake and build lean muscle faster. Level of HGH will be high as you are fasting for a month and fat burning will be accelerated. So, it is wise to use this month to incorporate weight training 2 hours after Iftar. You have to pay attention to nutrition as well to get necessary macros and nutrients. To conclude, intermittent fasting is undoubtedly a good tool to lose fat, develop immunity and build muscle faster. Plan your meals well, focus on compound movement in workout and you will see a change in no time!

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