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Can water fasting make you more muscular?

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I'm currently working out at home using simple 10 kg dumbbells.  I use a mix of milk , honey and eggs as a protein shake pre-workout .

But I decided to do something different to gain more muscle weight instead of fat weight. I want to look skinny muscular instead of skinny fat (I have a belly ).

Building muscle while water fasting

So ive Been water fasting on and off since July 20th. . I want to start lifting to gain muscle around July 30th mark , while continuing to water fast to break down fat. 

Anyone know a safe way to build muscle while water fasting? Will lifting, and breaking up my muscles, cause my body to use my muscles as fuel to burn  excess skin/scar tissue/fat ?

Thanks for your help 


"life is not a problem to be solved ..its a mystery to be lived "

-Osho

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Generally water fasting will be sub-optimal for recomping your body. Simply lifting,  focusing on progressive overload, increasing protein intake will give you great results. Id start there before attempting to combine strength training, body recomposition, and water fasting. 

The issue with water fasting is it will use both muscle and fat as fuel. You’re going for fat loss, not weight loss. However, the lifting will help stave off some of the muscle loss, as the body will bias towards fat. But with that level of calorie restriction, muscle loss is inevitable. 

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11 minutes ago, Consilience said:

Generally water fasting will be sub-optimal for recomping your body. Simply lifting,  focusing on progressive overload, increasing protein intake will give you great results. Id start there before attempting to combine strength training, body recomposition, and water fasting. 

The issue with water fasting is it will use both muscle and fat as fuel. You’re going for fat loss, not weight loss. However, the lifting will help stave off some of the muscle loss, as the body will bias towards fat. But with that level of calorie restriction, muscle loss is inevitable. 

So does Strength training during a fast  help you maintain and keep muscle.?. You will most likely NOT build muscle during a fast.. i need to really be in a caloric surplus to do that. I should definitely strength train while on a fast...but focus on building muscle once I'm done.. and incorporating something more like intermittent or alternate day fasting.

I finished a 14 day fast.. and am finishing up a 12 day on friday.  After this, I plan to alternate day fast so I can focus at lifting.  During my first fast.. I gained strength.. but this time I've gone down about 10% on my lifts.  I'm not as strong as I was on my first fast. 


"life is not a problem to be solved ..its a mystery to be lived "

-Osho

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Water fasting is a regenerative/catabolic state where you should be relaxing, meditating and retrospecting. Muscle building is an anabolic, highly energy-demanding process. Exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve with the fast 

What you'll get as a result is fatigue, brain fog, low-quality exercises, half-assed fast and feeling low & grumpy. 

Pick one and leave the other. Also, don't oscillate between them too often or you'll wreck your metabolism with all these shock waves. 

 


“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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@Michael569 can't I build muscle because of changes in hormone levels?... During periods of fasting your body drastically increases GH production, a hormonevassociated with lean tissue growth, fat reduction, etc. The body is quite adept at repairing itself even in the absence of  nutrients. 

How can you build muscle during water fast? Is there a chance ? How else can I get a skinny muscular shape ?I wanna lose as much fat as possible and gain as much lean muscles as possible. 

I mean, i've seen many people say that you can keep weight training during extended water fasts, but what's the benefit of it?

Don't you need to consume protein in order to build-maintain muscle? (I'm asking, I have no idea)


"life is not a problem to be solved ..its a mystery to be lived "

-Osho

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You wont gain any muscle during a water fast but you’ll certainly lose body fat so that can help with leaning out and getting the lean, muscular look you want.

Yes you still want to weight train during a prolonged water fast but you’ll need to dial back the intensity.

Simply focus on getting your 7-9 hours of sleep per night, getting enough protein in (at least 1g per pound of lean body mass) and do resistance training on a regular basis.

Doing those things will help you gain muscle then the fasting can help you drop BF%


The game of survival cannot be won. 

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Water fast is not the magic pill that will help you to your dream physique. You will only get there with time and consistency. (weight training, healthy diet with enough protein and calorie reduction).

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@Someone here fasting is not for building muscle.

If you want to put on size, you need to do the opposite and eat like crazy.

What I’d recommend instead is the following:

1) Eat a clean diet. This is critical. Many people put on fat simply because of what they eat.

 2) Intermittent fasting. This will give you time in a more catabolic state for using fat, without necessarily cutting calories or nutrition.

3) Move your body. Take cold showers. Sauna. Basically, find ways to burn energy.

4) Hypertrophy lifting. A 5x5 Starting Strength program in the gym is nice, but that’s not really going to help you put on muscle size. You need a higher rep range and less recovery time in between sets.

Do all that for one year + and you should see a noticeable difference.  


 

 

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@King Merk @Jannes @aurum

I do Strength training during a fast which will help me maintain and keep muscle.. even if I don't get the enough nutrition ?

Im Basically water fasting for the last 10 days or so . I lost a LOT of weight in the first two weeks . so I suspect I had a lot of water weight and crap in my digestive system. After that it was about 1lb/day on average, which is on par with what people here say. I'd break the fast every now and then due to temptations but hopped back on pretty quickly. 

Helps that I walked about 2 hours a day. So can I water fast for 3/4 of the day and exercise during that time and only eat one meal per day before sleep consisting of nothing but healthy protein? 


"life is not a problem to be solved ..its a mystery to be lived "

-Osho

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13 hours ago, Someone here said:

can't I build muscle because of changes in hormone levels?... During periods of fasting your body drastically increases GH production, a hormonevassociated with lean tissue growth, fat reduction, etc. The body is quite adept at repairing itself even in the absence of  nutrients. 

HGH does not only build muscle, it is anabolic, that's true but not just to muscle cells. HGH builds everything, it repairs cells of the gastrointestinal lining, bones, hair, nail, it stimulates skin cell replication. It's like a systemic handyman repairing everything. Even if you have an increase of it, it may not translate into more muscle, you need to be in excess of calories to gain muscle. A body in starvation is not going to waste resources to gain muscle (from the biology standpoint, carrying excess muscle is a useless trait anyway and during a period of famine your metabolism switches to low maintenance mode)

13 hours ago, Someone here said:

I wanna lose as much fat as possible and gain as much lean muscles as possible. 

then start focusing on muscle mass building and you may lose that belly fat as a side product. Wasting, in general is a yo yo weight loss strategy. You stop eating, you lose weight but you shock the body so once you start eating you gain it back. Not to mention the overload of stress hormones flooding the body during prolonged fast. 

Also, I guess, make sure you are not trying to shortcut a process that takes a decade (building a muscular body) by finding a "hack" such as extended fast because someone said it gives you more HGH. It does but HGH is a bottleneck anyway. You can only use so much of it in a day. 

You can't be both in a catabolic and anabolic state at the same time. The same way you can't be awake and asleep at the same time (well, maybe there are certain trans states which put one halfway in, but most people can't do that) 

13 hours ago, Someone here said:

mean, i've seen many people say that you can keep weight training during extended water fasts, but what's the benefit of it?

yes but what quality of training? They can do yoga for 15 minutes, sure and then spend the whole day meditating and sitting because they have no energy for everything else. And don't forget that not everything you hear on youtube is true. 

Also, how are you going to extend effort in the gym and push hard to stimulate an anabolic state if you are running low on glycogen, low on sugar and depleting your fat stores too? Where will you get the energy? The only remaining way to obtain glucose is through gluconeogenesis of your own muscle tissues. So not only will you not be making gains but you'll be breaking down the existing lean mass. The exact opposite of what you want to do. 

I seriously doubt there are people out there who are making big gains while doing 40 days on water fast, or they are full of shit. The most realistic depiction of what extended water fast does to a human was the case of Tim Shieff, the ex-vegan ninja warrior competitor. He was a hallmark of health and radiance in his prime days before he turned himself into skeleton, wrecked his digestive system and went a little bit nuts into the head and started drinking his own piss. Yes, he was an extreme case but I am yet to see a healthy demonstration of a prolonged fast. Vegetable Police had an interesting story too. He went all in yet in the end most of his symptoms of IBD came back and he took forever to regain a decent body weight. 

13 hours ago, Someone here said:

Don't you need to consume protein in order to build-maintain muscle? (I'm asking, I have no idea)

You do. But you also needs sufficient amount of carbohydrates and fats. And those are all hard to get on extended fast. 

But I mean look. If you don't believe me just do it. Go to the gym during a second week of water fast, load some weights on benchpress and see how it goes. Also then observe your recovery time compared to the usual times. Chances are you'll have the worst workout of your life. 

There is time and place for extended fats. Absolutely. But it should not be the same time when you are trying to grow, stimulate cell replication, stimulate growth pathways and generally need to be in abundance. Fast in summer and bulk in winter or the other way around. 


“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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@Michael569 thanks for the information. 

So the bottom line is i Can't  build muscle mass while water fasting? 

Since you theoretically need just a calorie surplus and enough protein, and can’t you get this from fasting?  Why can't I get it from protein powders? 

Is it because You break down adipose tissue while fasting? but since every living cell has some protein, why can’t you take sufficient protein from this breakdown?

Another point ..I hear the “you only get 31 calories per pound of fat a day” line a lot. It’s been attacked by some(some fat-adapted people lose more, some very lean athletes have demonstrably lost more fat in a day than this theoretical limit allows, and water fasting increases GH to some extent to prevent the loss of muscle mass, and their refutations make sense to me. You can always leech out more fat from a seemingly endless reservoir of it, so you might think a calorie surplus wouldn’t be a problem, but maybe fat is just harder to derive energy from? It’s obviously not as prioritized in most people’s bodies as glucose or glycogen.

I thought about just going on a simple 500-calorie deficit and working out, but since I already have successful prolonged water fasts under my belt, I thought this wouldn’t be a problem.

However, if I can’t lift during an extended water fast(or at least can’t lift with the expectation of hypertrophy rather than preservation), then I might just fast until I’ve gone below 20% body fat and then start lifting with that increased nutrient partitioning?

 


"life is not a problem to be solved ..its a mystery to be lived "

-Osho

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1 hour ago, Someone here said:

@Michael569 thanks for the information. 

So the bottom line is i Can't  build muscle mass while water fasting? 
 

Yes

Quote

Since you theoretically need just a calorie surplus and enough protein, and can’t you get this from fasting? 
 

The calorie surplus and protein comes from food. When you fast you don’t eat.  

Quote

Why can't I get it from protein powders? 
 

Protein powder is food. 

Quote

I thought about just going on a simple 500-calorie deficit and working out, YES!!

However, if I can’t lift during an extended water fast(or at least can’t lift with the expectation of hypertrophy rather than preservation), then I might just fast until I’ve gone below 20% body fat and then start lifting with that increased nutrient partitioning?

 

You will just rebound. Your body will make you super hungry, you relationship with food will be unhealthy because you treat yourself so extreme. If you don’t know exactly what you are doing you can wreck your health with this. Water fasting is dangerous especially when done so long. You can seriously damage your digestive system. And while the fast itself is only mildly dangerous, the break of the fast can be even more dangerous if you don’t slowly ease into little easily digestible food.  I am not saying it doesn’t have its uses but you have to be clever about it. I had a friend who thought that water fasting was the solution for everything. He could make an 1 hour Ted talk about how great water fasting it, how it repairs his cells and how his hormones grow super anabolic in that time allowing him to build insane muscle. Just mindlessly repeating shit he heard from the internet. Well he blacked out in school once at the "peak“ of his health  :D He never got jacked, he never got a healthy relationship with food and he actually stayed skinny fat over the years. He told me some time ago that he wanted to get back into fitness and that he wanted to start with a water fast for a week and I just cringed. He wants a magic pill because he isn’t motivated enough to do the work. 

So. Do you eat healthy? Do you eat a good amount of fruits and veggies? Are your proteins mostly from lean sources? 
Just ease into a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle and become aware of how much better your body and mind feels because of it. You need around 3 weeks I think until things become a habit. So when you can follow through for that long with a healthier lifestyle then it becomes easier. The longer you do it the easier it becomes. 

Edited by Jannes

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I feel like the ultimate question here is "how do I drop my belly and get jacked?"

The answer was already provided several times here. Start exercising regularly, eat a clean diet in slight surplus and don't jeopardise your sleep quality. Give it a year of consistent effort and you'll get there.


“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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@Michael569 agree. Although @Someone here said he is above 20% bodyfat. So recomp (Building muscle while losing fat) is definetly possible. If you are also a beginner when it comes to weight training you can ABSOLUTELY build a good amount of muscle while slowly loosing fat. 

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Water fasting is counterproductive for your goals. This is one of the only times when the phrase “______ is killing your gains” is accurate. 


“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — a disciple of mine sees all consciousness as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” - the Tathāgata

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5 hours ago, Something Funny said:

ichael569 what is the optjmal frequency and length of fasting in your opinion? So that yoh can get some health benefits but not ruin you body and turn into a skeleton?

I've never done any deep dive into the literature on fasting so take this response with a pinch of scepticism but I really like the concept of fasting for 24hrs once a week as a sort of mini-cleanse. Alternatively another option is simply to skip a few dinners during the week or just restrict them to small portions. 

I don't see much point in water fasting and that sort of stuff unless fighting a chronic disease where it has been shown that fasting can help otherwise one may actually be harming their body's skill to cope such as fasting-induced cachexia during cancer therapy etc. 


“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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You might get muscles revealed, due to water and fat loss.

But if you are not maintaining your muscles with enough protein and enough exercise they will start degrading.

Your body will take protein away from muscles and use it elsewhere in the body, or turn it into sugar if needed. This is how you are surviving during a fast. Your body is still using resources, but they are coming from within. It sees muscle as a liability and will take any chances to reuse that muscle protein if the muscles are not needed.

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