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You’ve set up the perfect intermittent fasting schedule. And After deciding which 8-hour portion of the day you’ll spend eating and which 16-hour portion you’ll be fasting,
you think this is going to be the easiest diet plan you’ve ever been on. And it really can be,
Not only is intermittent fasting one of the most flexible diet plans that get you to burn fat & actually keep it off, but it also can be great for preventing muscle loss while losing that weight.
For a long time, most experts were against the idea of skipping meals because of two big fears….muscle loss and slowing down your metabolism.
But since then research has shown that intermittent fasting provides the same kind of results as the regular calorie restriction type diets where you’re typically eating more times per day.
One of these studies compared a group on a traditional calorie restriction diet to intermittent fasting over a period of 6 months.
In terms of the total amount of muscle loss, fat loss, and overall weight loss both groups experienced almost identical results.
Another study on alternate day fasting which required participants to spend some days having less than 25 percent of the number of calories they required for maintenance,
surprisingly resulted in no changes to lean body mass, and only fat was lost. While studies like this make intermittent fasting sound like the magic bullet that breaks the rules of thermodynamics,
it doesn’t, it’s just a different way to restrict your caloric intake that happens to go smoother for a lot of people,
but just like any other calorie restricting diet there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
And just like any other calorie restricting diet when you do it wrong, you can wind up losing more muscle than you have to.
So in this video, I want to go over 3 very common intermittent fasting mistakes that set people up for this problem.
Let’s start with the first mistake, which is not paying attention to your macronutrient intake.
Most people start intermittent fasting to lower their body fat, and again if your goal is to burn fat whether you’re fasting or not you will have to maintain a caloric deficit.
If you don’t consider the macronutrient content of your meals and you think that simply eating whatever you want during your eating window,
will get you to look and feel your best…you’re in for a big surprise. Choosing food at random based on your cravings and what you feel like eating at the moment with no target or goal for the day,
will probably cause you to overeat, and even after overeating, you’ll most likely not get enough grams of one very important macro nutrient…protein.
Without an adequate protein intake, you can lose more muscle while in a caloric deficit whether that caloric deficit is spread out intermittently or continuously.
One study, in particular, found that having about 35 percent of your daily calories from protein is much better for maintaining muscle mass when compared to having only 15 percent of your total calories coming from protein.
This study along with many others found that aiming for around 0.8 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight is the sweet spot for maintaining muscle while in an energy deficit.
However, the interesting thing is that some studies show that protein breakdown rates slow considerably while fasting especially for extended periods of time.
One human starvation study found that during the first 3 days of fasting protein breakdown rates drop to only 75 grams per day for an adult man weighing about 150lbs.
That’s less than 1/2 a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight although it’s important to note that in this study participants weren’t exercising and exercise would increase protein demands probably right around the .
8 grams per pound of bodyweight that other studies recommend. Now what’s even more surprising about this starvation study is that after 3 to 4 days of not eating, protein breakdown drops to a tiny 20 grams per day.
The decreased protein breakdown rate is believed to be caused by a large boost in human growth hormone levels, in fact, in one prolonged fasting study growth hormone levels increase by over 1200 percent at its peak.
Now, most of you will only be fasting for up to 16 hours a day so your body won’t hit that point where it’s super conservative with protein nor will you have this kind of huge effect on your growth hormone levels.
So the bottom line is that once the exercise is factored in you should aim to get a minimum of around .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight and possibly even higher as you get leaner and have less body fat to use for energy.
Speaking of exercise… you want to make sure you avoid this second mistake which is either decreasing the intensity of your workouts or not working out at all.
Since intermittent fasting is a popular diet right now a lot of people try it strictly to lose weight.And if you’re only concerned with the number on the scale,
you won’t be too happy with the end result because the number on the scale doesn’t directly represent the amount of fat you have on your body.
It’s a combination of bones, connective tissue, organs, fat, and muscle mass as well as water weight.
When you lose weight not only will a lot it be water weight, but if you’re not smart about it a lot of that weight loss can also be muscle mass.In a large meta-analysis, researchers looked at the effects that restricting your calories has on your muscle mass.
One group in the study only altered their diet to be in a caloric deficit while the other group maintained the same caloric deficit,
but they also incorporated resistance training regularly. The resistance training group lost 93% less muscle than the group that just restricted calories with diet alone.
And both groups pretty much lost the same amount of weight and body fat. The researchers concluded that resistance training can help prevent almost 100% of the muscle loss that comes from restricting calories.
So you might be thinking…what does that have to do with intermittent fasting. Well like I said most people use intermittent fasting to restrict their caloric intake so they can burn some body fat.
Don’t make the mistake of dieting and doing tons of cardio without also incorporating resistance training because diet and cardio are great for burning fat,
but they’re not so great for preserving muscle mass. Studies show that resistance training,
especially when performed at a high intensity is much more effective at not only preventing muscle loss but also at preventing the slow down of your metabolism even with really low-calorie diets.
Whether you intermittently fasting or cutting calories some other way almost everyone will experience a point where they’re still continuing to eat less,
but they can’t lose any more weight and they get stuck at a fat loss plateau. This is because your resting metabolic rate slowed down,
and it turns out that intense resistance training helps prevent that from happening. The best way to incorporate high-intensity resistance training is by lifting heavyweights.
Now it might be hard to lift really heavy weights while fasting since you’re not getting as many calories as your used to getting,but it’s important to not just lower the amount of weight you lift just because you’re feeling tired.
Aim for a set rep range for each exercise… like let’s say 5 to 8 reps for example and only drop down in weight when you can no longer do the lower end of that rep range.
Which in this example would be 5 reps, once you ABSOLUTELY can no longer do those 5 reps no matter how much you struggle,then decrease the amount of weight you’re lifting by just enough to squeeze out at least 5 reps.
Usually dropping by 5 to 10 pounds will be enough. Don’t drop the weight by such a large amount that the exercise becomes easy.
Remember you shouldn’t be able to exceed the upper limit of your rep range which again in this example is 8 reps.
It might be hard but if you keep your compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and bench press, If you keep them heavy while cutting I promise you you’re going to be a lot more impressed with your results at the end.
Let’s move on to the next mistake that causes unnecessary muscle loss..
combining intermittent fasting with a really large reduction in your daily calories. You don’t want to do both of these at the same time.
A lot of people will not eat for 16 hours and then they try to continue keeping their calories really low during their 8-hour feeding window.
They do this in an effort to try to burn fat faster. But just by limiting the amount of time you have to eat per day to only an 8-hour interval you’ll most likely be reducing your daily calorie intake already.
If you try to blindly keep calories really low on top of that when you’re allowed to eat, you’ll be more likely to quit and binge which will ruin your progress,
and if that doesn’t happen you’ll still be more likely to lose more muscle throughout the process.
This is because studies show that really large deficits accelerate muscle and strength losses.
This why I only recommend more aggressive diet plans only for people that have a lot of body fat to lose.
And those people absolutely need to have a long term plan in place, that they can transition to after a few weeks of sticking to a more aggressive cut.
Otherwise, over time you’ll have less energy for your workouts, which will lead to losses in strength and muscle.
So we don’t want to just eat whatever we want during our eating window, we do want to set a target,
but we also don’t want to just drastically cut calories. For most people, a 20 to 25 percent reduction from maintenance calories during that 8hour eating window will be enough and it’ll be easier to sustain for the long haul.
An easy way to figure out what that would mean for you is by multiplying your body weight by 12.
That’ll give you the number of calories you’ll want to aim for during your eating window. Now I already mentioned that out of those calories you want to make sure that you’re having enough protein.
But another mistake people make is they try to avoid carbs.
Studies show that people that have a moderate amount of carbs when dieting will be able to perform better at higher intensities.
Which is exactly what we want, we want to maintain that high intensity throughout a cut. Both low fat and low carb diets work equally as well for fat loss over time,
but if my goal was to strictly preserve strength and muscle mass while dropping body fat I would lean towards a diet higher in carbs.
This same study notes that if you’re doing a higher fat diet, like let’s say keto, after you adapt to using fat for energy,
the only advantage that higher carb diets have is with higher intensity levels. But for maintaining the strength that is important.
So even though I recommend keeping carbs at least at a moderate level to preserve strength while cutting,
If you’re dead set on a low carb diet like keto I want you to know that it’s not impossible to preserve most of your muscle mass.
You can try a cyclical ketogenic diet where you carb up 1 or two days a week and stay in ketosis the other 5 or 6 days.
Or you can try a targeted ketogenic diet where you have 25-50 grams of carbs before your high-intensity workouts.
This will temporarily kick you out of ketosis, but with a high-intensity workout using most of that glycogen, you’ll be able to get back into ketosis pretty fast.
Also If you’re going the keto route just remember to at the very least make sure you’re eating enough fat to maintain your energy levels while.
My final tip to prevent muscle loss with intermittent fasting is to avoid excessive cardio.
I’ve mentioned this before, but too much cardio in combination with a calorie deficit can lead to muscle loss.If strength and muscle gains are your priority I recommend avoiding frequent long duration cardio sessions,
and instead of keeping cardio sessions high in intensity for a total of 15 to 25 minutes in length no more than 2 to 3 times a week.
Also, I recommend starting with no cardio at all and gradually incorporating it in when you need to break through fat loss plateaus,
or if you want to slightly increase your daily caloric intake.That’s it guys all the studies I mentioned today are linked up below if you want to go through them.
But as always I really hope this tip has helped you out, Also if you’re looking for a done for you approach to intermittent fasting,
we include intermittent fasting plans as well as a number of other diet plans with our free 6-week challenge that has my clients losing an average of 20 pounds or 5 percent body fat in only 42 days.
This challenge will come with a customized meal plan, a 42-day workout plan, and an accountability coach to help guide you through the whole process.
The challenge is free, but there is a catch, and the catch is that you actually have to stick to the plan.
If you’re serious about making a transformation in the next 42 days and you want more than just another diet and workout plan that’ll just sit there gathering dust because you never actually do it,
then click the link below in the description to find out more about how our challenge works. or you can just visit the website directly at gravitytransformation.com.