It seems counter-intuitive to believe that you’ll gain muscle size and strength from intermittent fasting. However, from my personal perspective and what I have seen from my clients, I have found that intermittent fasting is highly valuable.
There are various ways to implement intermittent fasting (IF). The one I prefer, and the one that I’ll discuss here is a 16-hour fast followed by an 8 hour eating window. If you follow this protocol, you consume all your calories in the 8-hour window (of your choosing) and sustain from calories during your fasted state. Water, tea, and coffee are acceptable during your fasted window, assuming that you don’t add in cream or sugar.
Ideally, I prefer the workouts to be “fasted.” No caloric consumption prior to workout. Fasted workouts seem to work best for those who workout early in the morning through early afternoon. That way, you can train fasted and consume all your meals post workout.
What I have found through this protocol is that people are able to put on size and strength at a normal rate. The extra benefit I have found is that people are able to stay a lot leaner while gaining size and strength. To date, I haven’t found official research to back this up. This is merely a first-hand perspective that I have seen quite often on clients who decide to do an IF protocol. If you have any research to support my hypothesis, please share below. Please also share if you find research that goes against my opinion too.
I am by no means saying that this is the most effective program to implement. If you’re goal is to put on an enormous amount of muscle, this is not the protocol for you. Realize that most of my clients are people looking to optimize their body composition, whether it is for a bodybuilding competition or just to look better naked.
Having said that, I believe you are able to put on a significant amount of muscle mass through this set up. As with any protocol, it will take time. Do not misinterpret this as a short cut. It is not. It’s merely a way that I have discovered and implemented through personal use and that of my clients.
The following points are my speculation as to how this phenomenon works: