T Nation

Fasting to leaness...sort of. :)

I recently read an article on a study about people who fasted every other day but ate the same calories over a given time period of people who did not fast. In other words group A ate 4000 cals. every OTHER day and group B ate 2000 cals. PER DAY. Well the people in the fasting group had lower body fat levels and if I remember correctly better blood profiles with respect to insulin and probably glucagons etc. I also remember something about other health benefits. (Apologies for this lacking synopsis.) The scientists in the study concluded that the stress fasting places on your cells/body is actually good for it in the long run. Now obviously fasting every other day would be far too catabolic for muscle gains or even losing fat while trying to retain muscle. (I?m sure I don?t have to tell anyone on here that!) Regardless I remembered oddly enough that Sly Stallone used to fast one day a week to help with getting in shape. Okay not the best source of information but possibly evidence that one stressful situation(ie: fasting) per week is enough to elicit the response that the test group had in this study. I?m assuming one day fasting a week won?t sacrifice too much muscle. Also correct me if I?m wrong but doesn?t glucagons levels go up when fasting? I guess I should read JB?s hungry hormones article. Doh! Any thoughts? Thanks All. Ciao. :slight_smile:

A bumpa bump bump!!! :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’d love to learn more about this as well.

An article on fasting or how it might apply to lifting would be a fabulous idea in my most humble opinion.


Berardi already wrote about fasting in his T-mag column. See archives.

This is a very intriguing line of possible implication

Fasting, followed by refeeds has been shown to have some positive influence on endocrinological variables, blood profiles and the like.

If one thinks about it, a CKD, or even a refeed/overfeed type diet is basically along these same lines. The radical changes in body states associated with fasting and overfeeding seems to help with insulin sensitivity as well as a host of other hormones. Also, depending on one’s fast level (i.e., no calories, versus PSMF type calories) will go along way to determining how much muscle is lost.

I currently am using a modification of this approach to stay within the boundaries of 5-6% bodyfat year round. Search the forums from bygone days and one will find that mntc. of bodyfat levels that are relatively low is harder than getting there in the first place.

This approach deserves further review, research, and application to our lifestyle.



(Search is down, I was trying to look for that).


This study was done on mice. There could definitely be a human benefit, since caloric restriction has had positive effects in every animal studied to date. The abstract, with link to the full text, can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/10/6216?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Mattson%2C+M&searchid=1053353235880_4214&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0

An article in layman’s terms showed on Betterhumans.org, here: http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2003-04-29-4

Zulu - I don’t remember where. It was in his “Appetite for Construction” column, but may have been here or in the newsstand edition of T-mag. Once the search engine is working, a search for “fasting Berardi” should bring it up if it’s here.

If I remember right, his view of fasting was balanced (he had tried it in the past) but ultimately negative for T-man types.

Zulu, it was definitely online (12 or so months ago??) and JB was against fasting.

Okay finally some responses. JB was against fasting all together? Would fasting one day a week really be that negative. Specifically what was JB’s reasoning for against fasting? I’m assuming the catabolic effects on muscle mass? Aslong as you stay hydrated I’m betting one day a week wouldn’t be too bad. Especially if it improves insulin responses etc. You could eat more during the rest of the week or be leaner etc. Vain how does fasting work into your diet? Please explain if you have time. Quantum thanks for the links. I’ll check them out. Ciao. :slight_smile:

Fasting is a way for me to maintain rather low levels of bodyfat for extended periods (say the summer months). Obviously, fasting in some sense is not good for muscle gains, but then again, I am not concerned about that during the summer months as I like to stay ripped up as much as possible.

In that regard, I incorporate a refeed situation in which weekends are usually refeed or load based while during the week I go fat fast type dieting with the regular cardio and lifting. I have modified this approach somewhat and of course it changes at times due to current situations etc. Basically it sucks trying to maintain lower levels of bodyfat, but if you can go crazy for a bit, and then respectfully take advantage of the benefits of increased muscle/liver glycogen, it helps to stay in ripped up shape.

Thats just my 2cents.


Here is the summary from the in depth article.

So here are the questions a T-mag reader might ask and the answers I’d give:
Are there any muscle building or fat-loss benefits with healthy fasting?


Are there any benefits to fasting when my diet is already very complete and I’m making excellent food choices?

Probably not.

Are there any spiritual or mental benefits with healthy fasting?


Are there any benefits to fasting for my sedentary, overweight, Krispy Kreme eatin’ mother-in-law?

Yes. (Now be nice and try not to convince her to drink her own urine!)

The full comprehensive discussion can be found at http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/214app.html

My guess of a year or so wasn’t far off, 47 weeks.

Thanks Hyphnz. But check out Vains links. Plus he is in favour of some type of fasting. I would just be interested to know what his exacte plan is. Thanks all. :slight_smile:

Vladimir Zatsiorsky wrote about this concept in his book Science and Practice of Strength Training. He theorized that the reason a brief period of fasting would allow for weight loss without any deceleration of fat loss was because the body needs more time than 1 day to adapt to a slowed caloric intake. So in theory, you could fast for a short time while maintaining a raised metabolism. This is also the same reason why most people will find themselves getting stronger before they see any hypertrophy taking place.

Thanks Mass. :slight_smile:

When I speak of fast, I simply am referring to semi-starvation or drastic cut diets a la fat fast.

I find this approach to be the one that is going to get the person super ripped.

Approaches like don’t diet are good for some time but when you want ultra rip, you are simply going to have to BOTH cut calories and up cardio.

Now I realize this will vary via individual style and body type. I tend to drop fat quickly and retain muscle, so this approach works for me. This approach is particularly beneficial coming off a refeed/overfeed/binge, or series of binges. It rids one of the water retention very quickly, thus allowing for less “time in a psychological battle zone” and also re jumpstarts fat loss.