Intermittent fasting and bodybuilding: benefits, challenges and results

Intermittent fasting (IF) has recently sparked a genuine interest in the fitness and bodybuilding world. It has quickly risen from being just a trend to a lifestyle that is practiced religiously by many people including A-list celebrities and star pro-athletes. Ever since IF has rose to popularity, gym freaks can’t help but wonder if pairing intermittent fasting and bodybuilding can give them the same success too. However, before diving deeper it is essential to understand the science behind IF.

What is intermittent fasting?

IF is unlike any other fitness routine. Instead of making changes to your diet like the keto diet, IF calls for an eating pattern that alternates between fasting and non-fasting windows. The fasting windows can vary between individuals depending on their goals and commitment. An ideal IF pattern aligns well with your body and goals. These spells of fasting are thought to aid people to get in shape quicker than fancy restricted diets. Even though it will be limiting to quantify the fasting and non-fasting windows, practitioners report the best results with a 16-hour fasting window and a 8-hour eating window. Most people doing IF fall in this category.

For the 16:8 IF routine, you will have to fast for 16 hours a day and have an eating window of eight hours. Most people like to skip breakfast and have their first meal at noon. And then have dinner at least four hours before sleeping. Even just limiting your eating window can also make a difference despite having the same amount of calories.

One of the biggest misconceptions about IF is that one can eat whatever they want in their eating window. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. IF amplifies results. It’s only a contributing factor. Eating carelessly in your eating window can result in weight gain. For the best results, one should keep a count of their calories. IF is not just about skipping meals when everyone else is savouring them. It’s about eating clean in specific periods with discipline.

Will IF build muscle?

Like most other scenarios, it depends on a variety of factors. To gain muscles, you need to be on a calorie surplus. If you eat clean and exercise regularly, you can gain muscles while burning fat. This fasting routine works best either to get in shape or while cutting. If gaining muscles or bulking is your primary goal, it would be best to spread your meals over the entire day. Having short meals throughout the day encourages a healthy metabolism.

Many people doubt if IF can prompt muscle loss. That depends on your diet and the number of calories you consume. Unless you’re not on a significant calorie deficit, IF will not prompt muscle loss. 

Challenges of pairing intermittent fasting and bodybuilding

Even though pairing intermittent fasting and bodybuilding can prove fruitful in most cases, it’s essential to understand that it comes with its fair share of challenges. To begin with, IF is not for insane bulking where you will be able to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a month. When you’re restricting your eating window, you’re limiting the time you can consume your meals. Doing so can make it difficult to go on a calorie surplus.

Also, it’s not easy to lift weights on an empty stomach. Even though the body gets used to it with time, the first phase can be challenging. You might even feel dizzy for the better part of your day. However, the day your body gets used to it, you will feel fresher than when you weren’t doing IF. So blending intermittent fasting and bodybuilding shouldn’t be a bad thing if you give it some time.

Intermittent fasting and bodybuilding

Are there any side effects of doing IF while bulking or cutting?

There are no adverse side effects of pairing intermittend fasting and bodybuilding. However, IF is not the best diet for muscle gain if you’re a heavy lifter and want to bulk. It will be challenging to fit all your calories in a restricted eating window. On the other hand, pairing IF with your cutting routine can work wonders. In that case, IF is a quick route to shed unwanted pounds and replace them with rock-hard lean muscle mass in the process. So you better think twice about your goals if you are looking to combine intermittent fasting and bodybuilding.

Results of pairing intermittent fasting and bodybuilding

While IF might not be the best route to bulk if you’re a professional bodybuilder, it’s a great way to get in shape if you’re a recreational bodybuilder. Because IF accelerates the fat-burning process, you can replace fat with muscles relatively quicker by doing IF. On average, following all the protocols of cutting and IF can help you shed around 15 pounds of fat in a month. Therefore, it is a great idea to combine intermittent fasting and bodybuilding if you want to accelerate your fat-burning process as a recreational bodybuilder.

How to make the most out of intermittent fasting?

To get the best results, it is essential to stay hydrated throughout your day. Also, try consuming high-volume foods that are more filling and have adequate proteins, such as eggs, fish, red meat and beans. In addition, be disciplined with your routine. Many gym enthusiasts commit the mistake of not taking enough rest, which is counter-productive to their progress. At the same time, it is also important to grind out hard in the gym and do exercises that align with your diet and goals. 

Conclusion: intermittent fasting and bodybuilding

After all of this information, we can conclude on intermittent fasting and bodybuilding. IF is one of the most efficient ways to get in shape and the combination of intermittent fasting and bodybuilding works great for recreational bodybuilding. The internet is full of success stories, and there’s every reason to believe them. However, IF is not for professional bodybuilders trying to win competitions, especially in higher weight classes. Neither is IF for guys who want to build muscles quickly and experience results, like gaining 15 pounds of muscles in a month. To get those kinds of results, you need to cycle compounds like SD Matrix and Matrix Black.