Ever wanted to gain muscle mass and strength while staying incredibly lean at the same time?
If yes, anabolic fasting is the solution. Often dubbed as the “Holy Grail” of dieting, anabolic fasting was first discovered by Cory Gregory, who is a power-lifter, bodybuilder and fitness model.
He says that this diet has increasingly helped him gain muscle mass and get bigger while not making him look bulky.
What Is Anabolic Fasting Diet?
Anabolic fasting is a combination of two popular concepts; intermittent fasting and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale's anabolic diet. Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale is a world-famous nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition and performance.
Intermittent fasting is when you eat all you want for 8 hours of the day and then fast for the rest of the 24 hours. The fasting time is when your body burns the fat cells to use as an energy source.
An anabolic diet is when you manipulate your hormonal response to the consumption of carbs and fats. This is a process that optimizes muscle building and fat burning.
How Does Anabolic Fasting Work?
According to Gregory, anabolic fasting entails the consumption of low-carb, high-fat food items throughout the week, which helps in getting your body into a fat-burning mode. Then, on the weekends, you recharge on the carbs by eating high-carb foods.
This replenishes the glycogen stores in your muscles and activates the anabolic effects of insulin that is released by your hormones as a response to the carbs consumed.
Gregory, himself, eats two large meals over the span of 8 hours during the day and then gives himself an insulin spike right before bed by eating something that has high carb content.
The first meal of his day is mostly vegetable-based. This is because he does not want to achieve an insulin spike early in the morning and then crash just a few hours later.
Vegetables are a good source of healthy fats and proteins, which is why they are so highly recommended. “If you control insulin, you control how you feel, and you control how you perform,” says Gregory.
Anabolic Fasting Diet Plan
For beginners, the first two weeks are the most crucial. For the twelve days of the start, you have to come as close to a zero-carb diet as possible. This means cutting down on carbs to the maximum. As explained above, this puts your body in a fat-burning mode, and it starts burning fat cells for energy.
These first days can be difficult for you, especially if you are fond of carbohydrates. You will feel irritable and frustrated, but always remember that a little motivation and hard work goes a long way!
On the thirteenth and fourteenth day, you are required to recharge your carbs. This will revive your insulin levels and make our metabolism start the fat burning process immediately.
Once you make it through the first two weeks successfully, your task is now to regulate our carb intake by a five-day low-card diet followed by a two-day high-carb diet every week.
This schedule is designed to provide the necessary nutrients to your body to keep it running while also maintaining a steady pace of the fat-burning process.
Since anabolic fasting is a combination of anabolic diet and intermittent fasting, we can consider the advantages of both these concepts individually.
As far as intermittent fasting is concerned, studies show that by restricting your food-intake time to a few hours in a day works to improve the cleansing process for our body, according to the Executive Director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, Wayne B. Jonas, M.D.
Additional benefits include a lower risk of inflammation, improved alertness, and better resilience against all types of illnesses.
Moreover, eating mindfully is not a bad habit, and making sure that you're eating healthy is never harmful. In fact, you should be doing that regardless of the diet.
According to a study conducted in 2017, it was concluded that anabolic fasting might not be a sustainable approach to losing fat or gaining muscle mass for several reasons.
For example, the irritability and frustration that you feel in the adjustment period might interfere with your everyday life and cause problems.
Moreover, the 16-hour-fasting might make you feel fatigued early in the morning, which can hinder your performance at college or work.
Furthermore, there is a risk of you having low blood sugar levels as a result of restricting food intake for 2/3 of the day.
Is Anabolic Fasting for Everybody?
Like all designer diets like keto, anabolic fasting comes with a note of caution.
Depending on your body type and history, there might be some factors that can have severe negative implications, for example, a low blood sugar level, as mentioned above.
Moreover, anabolic fasting might also cause deficiencies in other areas of your body that you might not be aware of. Especially since there has not been much research conducted on a diet so far, it is always recommended to adopt it with care.
Be smart about your meal choices and make sure you are getting as much protein and fat content as your body requires.
Before starting anabolic fasting, make sure to consult a nutritionist to fully understand your body and its nutritional needs before experimenting with it.