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IF and muscle loss

by (12407)
Updated October 30, 2014 at 3:10 AM
Created October 14, 2010 at 5:54 PM

I'm a 4 month convert to paleo after being off and on low carb for the better part of 6 years. i love what it's done for me as far as the body comp and the general way i feel. i can see myself eating this way for the rest of my life.

i am 6' and now weigh 255 with 210 lbs of lean body mass. my workouts are 3 days of powerlifting and 1-2 days of cardio a week. being that i like the amount of lean body mass that i have, i take in somewhere between .8-1.1/g of protein per lb of lean mass a day from free range eggs, grassfed beef, lamb and lots of fish. recently i've started messing around with IF. right now i do 18 hour fasts with 6 hour windows once or twice a week. when i do IF, i have a hard time squeezing in my normal amount of protein. If i started IFing more, am i in danger of losing some of my lean body mass?

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513 · October 17, 2010 at 7:56 PM

I just eat when I'm hungry. I'm hungry fivish times a day :P They are usually small meals or snacks, though.

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2399 · October 16, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Why the fivish meals ?

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960 · October 15, 2010 at 4:07 AM

Stephen makes a good point. When I was even on a CW, 1400 cal/day diet, I still managed to build muscle because I was lifting. However, when my lift intensity decreased, I lost my glutes almost immediately. (They're back now--hah) In any case, eat when you're hungry, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

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22913 · October 14, 2010 at 8:32 PM

I've put on muscle and lost fat all the way down to visible abs with IF, I did PSMF for a while where ALL calories but minimal protein were restricted and still didn't lose muscle... Because I was using it. It's very much use it or lose it when calories are restricted.

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22913 · October 14, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Yup, use it or lose it

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12407 · October 14, 2010 at 7:52 PM

btw, i'm having no problem losing fat being that i'm only taking in between 50-70g of carbs a day...

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12407 · October 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM

ok, i lift pretty heavy on those days and there are times when i'm very hungry. but on lighter days, i can IF with no hunger issues. i guess what i'm asking is, is the inability to say, do 4 hour windows daily, ok if i'm doing heavy intense lifting several days a week?

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5 Answers

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2604 · October 14, 2010 at 8:21 PM

I think you'll be fine. Remember multiple animal studies have shown that muscle tissue is the last tissue to be used - as long as it is stimulated to growth sufficiently often.

Starved rats put through their paces lose fat but preserve muscle, but starved sedentary rats lose both.

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22913 · October 14, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Yup, use it or lose it

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216 · October 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Can't find the exact source at the moment, but I've read De Vany and others argue just the opposite to the premise of your question. That is, IF actually promotes lean muscle gain and that worrying about your muscles "cannibalizing" themselves is unfounded. Just make up the calories after you break your fast.

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1781 · October 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM

I can only agree with what everyone above has said and add my n=1. I have IFed 36-48 hour, eaten to hunger and found that to be ~1000 calories, tried high and low protein and always while quite high fat and have been consistently gaining muscle throughout it all. I lift heavy weights 4-5 days a week and have experimented with Escalating Density, Slow Burn, Max Contraction and often use a combination of all of them. I think protein needs are overestimated most of the time. Keep lifting and I don't think you will lose muscle.

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513 · October 15, 2010 at 1:39 AM

I am 6'0" and I started eating paleo almost 3 months ago. When I started, I weighed 168 lbs.; I weighed in yesterday at 159 lbs. I do not IF, but I don't force myself to eat either. I usually eat about 5 times a day and still manage to lose body fat, but maintain my strength. I'm pretty skinny, but as my friend put it "deceptively strong". I started curling 50 lb. dumbells last week and I bench about 185 (5-8 reps at a time). I was worried about losing strength and muscle with this type of diet, but I just saw a plateau and a decrease in energy for about the first two weeks, then after that things went back to normal. I lift hard with little to no rest between super sets, 6 days a week. I do 4 different split training days, then a day of rest then repeat.

When my back is better, I will probably start doing yoga again also (so a 5 day rotation, then a rest day).

Short version

I do not IF and I am burning a noticeable amount of fat while maintaining steady strength gains. :P

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2399 · October 16, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Why the fivish meals ?

Ddb0e3a41f15d69d30677339ccf9c7b6
513 · October 17, 2010 at 7:56 PM

I just eat when I'm hungry. I'm hungry fivish times a day :P They are usually small meals or snacks, though.

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22913 · October 14, 2010 at 7:06 PM

I eat in 4 hour windows most days, I've been steady increasing strength while doing so...but I have no problem downing a lb of grassfed moocow in a sitting...

I only eat when I'm hungry tho.. Some days that means I eat alot some times I've gone 48hrs without food...

Heavy intensity increases food cravings. If your body is turning to gluconeogenesis, you'll know because you'll CRAVE like no other hunger.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6
12407 · October 14, 2010 at 7:52 PM

btw, i'm having no problem losing fat being that i'm only taking in between 50-70g of carbs a day...

C90eecdd76cf57a387095fa49de23807
960 · October 15, 2010 at 4:07 AM

Stephen makes a good point. When I was even on a CW, 1400 cal/day diet, I still managed to build muscle because I was lifting. However, when my lift intensity decreased, I lost my glutes almost immediately. (They're back now--hah) In any case, eat when you're hungry, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1
22913 · October 14, 2010 at 8:32 PM

I've put on muscle and lost fat all the way down to visible abs with IF, I did PSMF for a while where ALL calories but minimal protein were restricted and still didn't lose muscle... Because I was using it. It's very much use it or lose it when calories are restricted.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6
12407 · October 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM

ok, i lift pretty heavy on those days and there are times when i'm very hungry. but on lighter days, i can IF with no hunger issues. i guess what i'm asking is, is the inability to say, do 4 hour windows daily, ok if i'm doing heavy intense lifting several days a week?

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