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Staying as Strong as Possible During a 40 Day Fast?

Hello @Christian_Thibaudeau

I am entering into a 40 day fast (for religious purposes, not health). For 3 days I will be fasting from food (drinking only water and 1 small cup of coffee in the morning). Then following I will be eating only 1 bowl of rice in the evening while drinking water through out the day. This will continue for 37 days.

I have been training either a 4 day push/pull or upper/lower split on a good diet quite some time.

I know from experience how much size and strength I lose during a fast similar to this one, which in all honesty, in the past, has been almost all of my muscle mass.
However, if at all possible I would like to continue to train (very lightly, as I get very weak)

My question is this: Should I train a few basic movements (I train the big 4, but during a fast there’s no way) using weights on maybe a 3x10 (I know, I know, the worst rep scheme there is) OR should I stick to body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, dips and squats)?

I am under no delusion, I fully understand that I will lose virtually all of my strength. Last time I fasted I went all the way down to a 95lb bench press! However, I did not train during that time because of my job I couldn’t afford the wasted energy.

Any and all tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks Coach, I highly value your time and thoughts.

Can’t you have at least some protein in there? A shake with 3 scoops of protein with your rice for example?

As for training you must avoid any rep scheme that uses glycogen for fuel, so anything above 5 reps should be avoided. I would likely stick to 4-5 x 3 on big basic lifts. Going as heavy as you can, I would pic 4 big lifts and do 2 per workout

Yes, I certainly could and have thought about it. But I have chosen for this particular fast to abstain.

That sounds like a very doable and not very taxing way to keep up at least the mechanics of the movement. What would you recommend for frequency? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday OR should I fit it in to Monday, Wednesday, Friday OR maybe just 2 days per week in order to save more energy for the 2 lifting days?

Thank you for your responding. I thought about that rep scheme but to be honest I thought that being so weak that it would be spinning my wheels. But I trust in your experience and will certainly stick to a 5x3

I’m wondering about my movements though. Should I stick with basic barbell free-weights or find modifications to help support my body (squats, DL, and Overhead Press) in order to try and accommodate a weaker core to maybe get into a higher weight range. Or would I be hurting my long game by doing that?

It’s possible for your body to preserve muscle mass and strength with mainly protein and some essential fats. Eating carbs only will result in major muscle loss as your body has to break them down for amino acids which are essential.

What are the exact limitations you have in this religious fast of yours?

Actully the more I think about it, ghe more I think that ONE lift per day would be best… but do that every day but Sunday. The workout will last about 15-20 min. I find that in a depleted state you can be good for thst fime. But whenyou go over, your energy tanks and your focus drops.

Day 1 squat
Day 2 bench
Day 3 deadlift
Day 4 overhead press
Day 5 Front squat
Day 6 chin up or row

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Be mentioned that he chose not to have protein

This is quite brilliant. Thank you. I do believe this will benefit me the most. I get the benefit of being able to do a lift everyday which will help with overall morale (and some body composition if were honest, I hover at 15-18% body fat). As well as allow me to be at my strongest possible state during my actual lifts. Given this frequency would you still prescribe the same 5x3?

I can help you out here. First if your gonna do a fast you can’t have that bowl of rice in the evening. By eating that your body never goes into “fast mode” where you will switch over into ketosis which will prevent most muscle loss and instead your on starvation mode which is the worst. And if it’s for religious reasons you need the absence of all food to receive that clarity your looking for, it’s hard to explain but something to experience. I’ve done a cpl 14 day, 19, 20 day strict water fasts and lost little muscle and a large amount of bf but gotta go all in to receive the muscle wasting benefits. Enjoy…