Bulking is the act of purposely increasing the number of calories you consume to grow your muscles.
This process requires an intense strength training routine to provide the body with endogenous signaling pathways that promote muscle growth.
Many athletes who start bulking consume multiple meals during the day, exceeding their daily caloric needs to be able to gain half a pound of weight per week. In general, this is the metabolic limit of muscle growth without using steroids.
However, this begs the question of whether fasting stands as an obstacle in the way of muscle growth.
In this article, we will discuss the relationship between fasting and muscle hypertrophy and see how they affect each other.
How does fasting affect muscle growth?
People often believe that fasting is synonymous with weight loss. In reality, some athletes use fasting to increase their muscle mass without gaining fat. Albeit, some modifications are necessary.
“How is that possible?” I hear you asking.
Well, the main concept is quite simple.
Bulking to build muscles is all about increasing your caloric intake to meet the demands of the muscle-building process.
This might seem to contradict the goal of every weight loss diet out there; however, fasting is the exception to this rule.
As you may know, fasting does not restrict the number of calories you can eat per day nor does it eliminate a certain food or macronutrient from your diet.
With that said, you may experience weight loss since you can no longer consume more calories than your body needs in a small time window (e.g., 8 hours).
When trying to increase muscle their muscle mass, some athletes consume up to 4000-5000 calories a day – a number that is difficult to achieve when fasting. However, it is not impossible.
Here are some tips to help you grow your muscle mass while fasting:
- More fat
The vast majority of people on a weight loss diet get scared of consuming calorie-dense foods. However, for the purpose of muscle growth, you should not take this into consideration.
Therefore, you should consume more fat since this macronutrient contains 9 calories per gram – protein and carbs only have 4 calories.
- Diverse your meals
It is important to stop obsessing about eating healthy chicken breast and brown rice during the bulking phase.
It is your chance to binge on those pancakes, Big Mac, and large pizzas you’ve been craving for years. Of course, moderation is key here.
- Eat more snacks
Since fasting only allows you to eat during a restricted time window, people often stick to eating 2-3 meals because they don’t feel hungry in-between.
However, if you are trying to reach an intake of 4,000 calories per day, three meals just won’t cut it. You need to consume as many snacks as you can.
Fasting does not stunt muscle growth when done correctly. This common misconception stems from the idea that fasting makes your liver break down muscle fibers to produce energy.
Hopefully, this article managed to address the comment misconception around fasting and muscle hypertrophy.
If you have any questions, our comment section is open for discussion.