How Can You Tell If You're Losing Muscle With Intermittent Fasting?
Updated: May 27, 2020
It's day 3 of the Summer Intermittent Fasting Challenge!!! It's been incredible to see the conversations going on within the AEN Private Facebook group during this Challenge. The #AENpeeps are all so supportive of one another's wellness dreams!!
If you haven't already joined in on the Summer Intermittent Fasting Challenge (or you don't know what it is) it's not too late to join in and feel AMAZING again! Head over HERE for the deets on how to get started.
A question I've been seeing lately is whether or not Intermittent Fasting leads to muscle loss. My OG #AENpeeps know the answer to this one - but today I want to dive into this subject on whether or not Intermittent Fasting leads to muscle loss as well as the best way to measure your progress.
First things first... Will Intermittent Fasting make you lose muscle?!
Intermittent Fasting on it's own will not make you lose muscle. Pairing Intermittent Fasting with caloric restriction/calorie counting, on the other hand, can and most likely will make you lose muscle. But this also goes along with long term calorie restriction in general, not just with Intermittent Fasting. Check out the video below for how this can happen.
Starvation vs. Intermittent Fasting
The confusion around Intermittent Fasting is that many people believe it is a starvation diet which again, isn't true. I totally understand where this confusion comes from! In fact, I was a little skeptical of Intermittent Fasting when I first started diving into the science. The word fasting is what can seem a bit daunting. But as #AENpeeps, you know how important it is to eat until satiated (especially with all of the bomb recipes within The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle!!🌮🥑🥗🍪☕️). With Intermittent Fasting, you aren't eating less, you're eating less often! Calorie restriction on the other hand is when you are limiting the amount of food you eat in general. With extreme calorie restriction, this can lead to starvation which causes your body to tap into your muscles for fuel - which is what you DON'T want! This is exemplified (on the extreme end) with the Biggest Losers contestants. Years after extreme calorie restriction many contestants experienced slowed metabolism and difficulties losing weight.
Want alllll the science-y deets on how Intermittent Fasting works? Check out my Intermittent Fasting Workshop HERE.
Keep track of your progress
One way to ensure that you are eating enough during your eating window and not falling into the trap of calorie restriction is by periodically doing a complete body fat and muscle mass percentage scan (learn how HERE). If your body starts to tap into your muscle stores, then you will see a decrease in muscle mass percentage and likely an increase in body fat percentage.
As we discussed earlier, this can happen with long term calorie restriction (not necessarily Intermittent Fasting, unless you are pairing it with calorie restriction). The goal is to see an increase in muscle mass percentage while also decreasing body fat percentage. This is what I personally experience while following The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle protocols and AENpeeps such as Elizabeth have seen too (see Elizabeth's body fat scan results during the Program below).