Intermittent fasting or IF is currently among the most talked-about weight loss tools worldwide. It comes in different types, but each one involves fasting and eating for a predetermined time window. Many studies and anecdotal reports have shown its effectiveness on weight loss, maintenance and improved metabolism.
But some who have yet to try intermittent fasting are concerned about the possibility of losing muscle mass.
Will you lose muscle mass when doing intermittent fasting?
Almost all studies regarding IF relates to its effectiveness when it comes to weight loss. That being said, it’s vital to understand that weight loss will typically be achieved from losing both lean and fat mass, even if you don’t exercise.
Lean mass is basically everything in your body, including your organs, blood, skin and muscles, except fat. This applies to weight loss due to IF and other kinds of diets. Due to this, certain studies have indicated that muscle in small amounts, about 1kg or so, may be lost following a couple of months of consistent intermittent fasting.
On the other hand, other studies didn’t find the loss of muscle or lean mass, and some even posit that IF may work better for maintaining muscle when losing weight than diets that don’t require fasting. Put simply, you will lose muscle and fat when you shed excess pounds, particularly if you don’t work out regularly.
However, keep in mind that IF won’t probably make you lose more muscle mass when compared with other kinds of weight-loss diets.
How to maintain muscle when doing IF
One of the best things you can do to maintain muscle mass when doing intermittent fasting is to exercise regularly. Recommended workouts include weight training and bodyweight exercises that promote building muscle mass.
You should likewise be careful not to lose weight too quickly, as studies have shown that individuals have an increased risk of losing muscle mass if they lose weight rapidly. So when starting out with IF, you shouldn’t lower your calorie intake drastically.
Although the ideal weight loss rate will vary from one individual to another, experts usually recommend a maximum of 0.9kg each week. But if your priority is maintaining muscle, you should stick to losing about 0.45 kg at most per week.
Additionally, your diet will play a very crucial role in preserving muscle mass when doing IF. Generally speaking, you must consume ample protein, like a serving or two of Korean chicken in your go-to restaurant in Singapore.
This is particularly vital if you aim to shed excess pounds while maintaining or building muscle mass since some studies have found that a diet rich in protein could aid in preserving muscle even when you’re trying to burn fat.
Doing intermittent fasting won’t lead to the loss of more muscle mass than other diets for weight loss. To ensure this, however, you need to do weight training exercises regularly to help preserve muscle mass. Lastly, losing weight as slowly as you can and eating sufficient protein could likewise help ensure the best possible results.