If you think that such a diet should lead to the destruction of muscle fibres, then this is not surprising. Most people think so. We are used to the opinion that it is necessary to consume protein every few hours, otherwise the proteins in the muscles begin to break down and the metabolism is disturbed. And yet, it turns out that the frequency of food intake is not so important. So here we are going to discuss Periodic Fasting and how it causes in loss of muscle mass.
When it comes to muscle growth, how often you eat (and consume protein) is not as important as how much you eat every day. To understand why let’s see what needs to happen in order for the body to start using muscles as fuel for energy.
Glucose or blood sugar is an excellent source of energy for all cells and organs. The brain especially needs it, which consumes up to 25% of the total amount of glucose in the body.
The easiest and most effective way to supply her with organs and cells is to consume carbohydrates. Glucose can be supplied to the body by various nutrients:
- One such provider is glycogen. Which is stored in the liver and muscles.
- The second source is body fat. They contain glycerine, which can be transformed into glucose.
- Finally, amino acids that are found in proteins and muscles can be converted.
Here is what many people don’t know about the amino acids:
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The process by which amino acids are converted to glucose is known as “gluconeogenesis,” and it does not start until the glycogen stores in the liver are exhausted. That is, the body will not begin to use muscle proteins for glucose production until hepatic glycogen is over.
In the liver of an ordinary person, about 100 grams of glycogen is stored, which are able to nourish the body for 6-24 hours of fasting, depending on the level of physical activity, metabolic rate and much more. For example, studies have found that after 16 hours without food, about 50% of glucose is produced by gluconeogenesis, and after 28 hours – 100%.
That is why most of the protocols of periodic fasting, designed for athletes and bodybuilders, are not forced to fast for more than 16 hours. The bottom line is that the body seeks to preserve, not burn muscle, and under normal conditions, a serious loss of muscle fibbers cannot occur until you reach the mark of 12-16+ hours.
Therefore, you need to beware of intense physical activity during the fasting. This can significantly increase the rate at which glycogen is consumed, and significantly accelerate the process of muscle destruction.
What about hungry workouts?
You must have heard this before: when you don’t take food for too long, the body concludes that it’s hard, hungry times. It is being rebuilt. Therefore, when you start eating again, the body begins to actively store fat.
This is the so-called theory of the “regime of hunger”, but it is not supported by any facts. Quite the opposite.
Studies have noticed that the basal metabolic rate does not decrease during 60 hours of fasting, and after that the decrease occurs by a negligible 8%. One authoritative study found that metabolism even accelerates after 36-48 hours without food. This may seem illogical, but if we look at it from the point of view of evolution, then the meaning of this phenomenon becomes quite understandable. It’s important that you take up Vitamins like vitamin b17 supplements while you are doing fasting.
When we have not eaten for quite some time, what does our body want us to do? Of course – go in search of food. And how can the body stimulate us to do this? With the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which give a surge of strength and make the brain work better. And as a result, the metabolic rate increases. The real “hunger regimen” begins after about 3 days (72 hours) without food. From this moment, muscle proteins become the main source of energy for the body. So, there’s nothing to worry about.
No reasonable protocol of periodic (interval) fasting, which we will talk about now, will harm either your muscles or metabolism.
Do hungry workouts burn fat faster?
Most periodic fasting systems recommend performing certain exercises. That is, to exercise when the insulin level is low, and body fat is the main source of energy.
There is nothing wrong with “well-fed” workouts – any exercise burns energy and leads to weight loss. But training in a “hungry” state offers some unique benefits in terms of burning fat:
Exercise in a “hungry” state increases the rate of lipolysis and fat oxidation. This means that when you perform the exercises on an empty stomach, the body can mobilize and burn more fat than in a “full” state.
Blood flow in the abdomen increases when the body is in a state of hunger. One of the reasons why it is so difficult to lose fat in the abdomen is precisely a decrease in blood flow. And hungry workouts help overcome this problem.