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How Long Until Body Eats Muscle?



I was wondering how long it takes for your body to start using up muscle for energy. It makes no sense to me that it would happen overnight even after lifting, as some claim. From what I understand you are either catabolic or anabolic at any given time. I even heard someone say to eat peanut butter at night to slow down the catabolic effects after lifting. I think this guy just likes peanut butter!

I want to know because it seems to me it would really affect intermittent fasting. If you eat only at night have you been burning muscle as well as fat all day long? If this is true then to get any success with growth the muscle would have to be built at a much greater pace than it is lost! Is there a way to counteract this by somehow keeping the body anabolic throughout the fast? Would exercise during fasting turn you catabolic from lack of nutrients? And lastly, how long would that huge meal at night really keep you anabolic for?


Intermittent fasting works because of: Hyperaminoacidemia

Dont over think this. You arent going catabolic from not eat for a few hours.


I like to over think things. That's why I am looking up hyperaminoacidemia.

Ok just looked it up. So how does denying your body food and then feeding it a large amount enhance hyperaminoacidemia? Seems it would die off over time.


Stop over thinking and start doing.

You obviously just read the wikipedia version


And countless journals.

Start reading.


On the whole subject of fasting, I would like to reference a post that i agree with fully. A post by The Mighty Stu.

'Referencing a post by The mighty Stu'




Ok been reading. First, thanks for the link. Great info! Second, I have yet to find anything saying how intermittent fasting would prevent catabolism. If anything the morning fast would stop hyperaminoacidemia. If anyone knows the answers to the questions I've posted and would like to expend the effort of typing a few sentences to explain that would be cool.


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After sleeping 9hrs (and not eating for 2 hrs before bed), I woke up and mulled about for maybe 20-30 mins.

Then I had a handful of cashews.

Then about 30 mins later, I had 8 eggs, a 50g protein shake, and some toast.

I have no idea if this is on topic or why I'm typing this response. It just... feels right.


Ok you guys helped! Although no-one really answered my questions, you guys made me realize that IF works great for keeping Hyperaminoacidemia going all night through a big meal, but then sucks at it through the morning fast, which is why some of you take a small protein drink in the morning or some BCAAs. I've decided to eat big at night, and have ONLY PROTEIN IN THE MORNING. I haven't heard anyone mention this but from what I understand that will keep the hyperaminoacidemia going and still burn calories even with a morning jog. I will have an apple for fiber and insulin. Besides that I think it will have the benefits of both fasting and hyperaminoacidemia!


You arent getting an answer because you are assuming your body goes into a catabolic state any time you dont have food in your stomach. Thats not how it works.

Catabolism has more to do with nitrogen retention than when you've eaten last.

Dont assume that your body goes catabolic at X time of day and your questions dont even need to be asked.


Then answer them! I didn't assume. I read. The body turns catabolic at night. It continues until you eat. Protein or AAs produce hyperaminoacidemia which stops the muscles from being eaten. The effects of a big meal at night induce hyperaminoacidemia but according to the reading I've done there is no way it will stay in place for the whole 16 hour fast. The way I've worked it out is that if you eat only protein in the mornings you will still get the benefits of fasting while inducing hyperaminoacidemia. If you know any reason why this doesn't work or if my concept is wrong then please tell me! I genuinely would like to know so I don't waist time on a bad diet!


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While sleep can be catabolic, cause you are going many hours without food, its also anabolic, cause thats the best time you actually recover from workouts and grow.


It's kinda like you are saying "2 + 2 = 5, now answer my questions based on that fact." No dis man, I am not a genious. But I do know that a body with nice high levels of Nitrogen does not necessarily go catabolic at night. You aren't exerting too much energy when you sleep.

A better thread title would have been, "How long at night before your body turns catabolic?"


I looked at your original post again, and I am guessing (due to mention of Interm Fasting) that you are under 30. I have yet to see a guy over 30 think they can build serious mass while fasting. That's like thinking you can drive farther by putting less Petro in your gas tank. And don't misinterpret my angst toward I M as hate to you sir. :slight_smile: Just like NorthFace, I Phones, and every other trend...I know people who like I M are just following the latest trend. God Bless em.... :frowning:

Also I read that you joked about why a guy ate Peanut Butter at night pre bed. I think as you age, you will see that eating solid food is a key to building mass. I say that not to diss you, but to tell you I have seen a lot of people go through that learning process...

Peanut butter has a little fat in it, and some protein, and is substance that seems to stay in your stomach overnight a little longer than some things. I have read and read about Casein Protein powder shakes pre bed are the best. I am sure they are they best powder protein for pre bed. But I wonder if solid food would go farther...... I went thru tons of powder protein pre bed for two years. Then I gave it up, and just started eating solid food later at night. After solid food, I never woke up with my stomach girgling wanting more food right away. I always woke up after protein with my stomach completely empty...sometimes in the middle of the night. That said, powder protein may or may not be a better source of protein, quicker and better absorbed, etc......but with my body, solid food is winning.


All I can say is..I train fasted..at 6pm at that with just BCAAs 15mins before and more BCAAs during. I eat all of my food after I train at night. So..I go from 10pm the night before until approx. 7-8pm the following day with nothing but the BCAAs I had during training...

Yes..I've gained weight doing this.


Thats a pretty small feeding window. How much food do you manage to cram in?


Stop reading. Start doing.

But if you insist on chasing your own tail at least post the damn source of what you think youv've read. So somoene kind find out where you've confused yourself.


12 minutes... on the dot. A guy who knew a doctor told me. There's your highly sought after answer, OP. Eat every 12 minutes (or every 11.5 minutes, just to be safe) for supreme anti-catabolic anabolism!!!



SWEET !!! :slightly_smiling: