Extended Fasting -- Minimize Muscle Loss?
Hi! I'm a 20 yr old male, 178 lbs, about 15% bodyfat, been primal (roughly speaking) for about a year now, and for various reasons have decided to fast for anywhere from 5-10 days. I'm sorta experienced with fasting -- have done IF for roughly two years, but never anything longer than 24 hours. Naturally, I'm going to lose some muscle... but I'd really like not to lose too much. This is the plan so far:
The day before:
--Hard, full-body, ~3 hr workout
--Large, energy-dense meal with about 100g protein. Will probably end up eating around 2k-3k calories, tons of veggies, rice, butter, potatoes
The goal for the day before is to swell up the glycogen stores as much as possible, as well as give me some momentum toward muscle conservation.
During the fast:
--No food, only water
Now for the questions:
Do I do any strength training whatsoever during the fast?
Is there anything non-caloric I should be consuming (caffeine, vitamins, tea, coffee, etc.)?
Anything else I can do to preserve muscle?
End the fast with a good strength training session and then eat a nice post-workout meal.
Caffeine can boost fatloss during a fast because it causes a temprary release of free fatty acids into the blood stream. Just be aware that when fasting, your stomach will be empty and you will absorb caffeine more efficiently. You might not need as much to achieve the same effect. The source doesn't matter, although tea antioxidants might slightly boost the effect.
You don't even need to worry about "swelling glycogen" to preserve muscle, and here's why:
When you don't consume food, your body is forced to draw on its own stores for energy. It instinctively KNOWS that fat is more energy dense than muscle and prefers to eat through fat stores before it gets into catabalizing muscle. Only EXTREMELY lean people really have much to worry about during fasts of reasonable length.
Will do on the tea. Will probably leave the heavy workout + meal in just because it feels great going that hard... so, no workouts during the fast?
That was something I've been wondering about. I've been fasting 3 days, feeding 4 days and I'm not really sure about how to incorporate exercise.
Anyone got thoughts on that?
And I think Drumroll is right- you probably don't have to worry too much about losing much muscle. Our bodies are pretty intelligent. I'm sure whatever muscle is lost is the stuff that needed to be recycled anyways. (Autophagy rocks like that.)
I would still exercise, just not the heavy lifting variety.
Some light cardio is probably fine, and ABSOLUTELY continue walking, maybe even daily since it can aid a fast by burning some fat and take your mind off of food.
Originally Posted by Anonymouse
But I'd be wary of weight training since you do need a post workout meal. I'm not a strict believer in eating immediately post workout. You can probably go a bit longer, but if you did weight/bodyweight activity I'd at least eat by the end of the day.