Do you fear fasting will eat away your muscle?

A common misconception with intermittent fasting is that during ‘non-eating’ time (aka fasting) the body eats away your hard earned muscle, leaving you looking weak and frail. But, this could not be further from the truth backed by science and our 13+ year accumulative personal experience.

Both Victor and Dupi (authors of this article) have been practicing intermittent fasting since 2013 and working-out in a fasted state.

Our struggles with weight-loss and low energy levels began in our thirties, as life responsibilities and young kids left little time for self-care. We wanted to keep fit with less time in the gym and simplify eating without counting calories.

In this article, we explore the science behind a lean and energized body attained with fasting protocols. We also share helpful links to our IF-friendly and delicious Spiced Teas. 

woman doing yoga

If you ever struggled with weight-loss, you’re not alone. Weight gain and obesity rates in United States have been steadily rising upwards of 40 percent. [1] Plus, the extra pounds translate into little energy leaving us tired for daily tasks.

Weight gain and low energy are connected, as new research describes excessive weight gain and obesity as an illness of the metabolism. As the internal fuel producing process, our metabolism can be adjusted towards continuous energy supply along with healthy weight-loss.

There are numerous methods of correcting disarrayed metabolic pathways. These range from diet, supplements, drugs and even surgeries. But, a much safer, ancient practice has been gaining the wellness fame. It’s used to not only lose weight, but correct body’s organ function and energy pathways—all the metabolic mechanisms.

It is called intermittent fasting (IF) or time-restricted feeding. In this post, we’re going to look at intermittent fasting and how it can help enhance metabolism, increase energy levels and assist with weight-loss; all while keeping your muscle mass in place. [2]

Related Posts:

Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting and Brain Health

Women’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting vs. Calorie Restriction

There is some confusion between “low-calorie diets” and fasting protocols. Some low-calorie diet research shows harmful effects of damaged metabolism which can slow down long term and revert weight loss results in many people. [9] 

Fasting does not necessary restrict calories but, the times the food is consumed. Furthermore, such protocols have been shown to enhance metabolic activity in both men and women. [4,10]

Yes, intermittent fasting can inherently reduce calories, but that is not the goal of these protocols. Meals during an eating window should make you full and satisfied.

Fasting boosts metabolism by adjusting key hormones (low insulin and higher norepinephrine) that revs up energy production. During a fast, the body taps more into stored fat (due to dwindling glycogen levels) for all the metabolic needs.

The longer the fast the more stored fat is utilized for sustainable energy. This method increases metabolism (up to 13%) producing plenty of steady energy. [11]

Enhanced Mitochondria Activity

Another big topic is the energy production within the cell itself and the power-plant organelle called mitochondrion.

Mitochondria are where majority of energy produced by braking down fat and sugar stores while using oxygen.

Different cell types vary in mitochondria quantity. For instance, muscle cell has more mitochondria than skin cell.

Fasting studies show mitochondria within cells link up into a network and work together becoming more efficient in generating more energy for longer. [12]

Intermittent Fasting: Keep Muscle & Lose Fat

IF is a powerful weight loss tool, as overwhelming majority of research shows significant results in humans and animals. [13] The body uses metabolic hormones (low insulin) to tap into its energy stores; first using glycogen followed by stored body fat. [8]

Bonus: the fat we burn during fasting is harmful visceral kind (stored around the belly and internal organs) that increases risk for many metabolic diseases. [13-14]

Another big benefit of IF weight loss is longevity, as more people are able to take the weight off and keep it off. The body uses fat stores for energy while maintaining lean mass. [15]

Muscle tissue isn’t burned during fasting but remains intact and active. This includes reconfiguring of another metabolic hormone called human growth hormone (HGH).

Fasting increases HGH levels as much as 5-fold, further reducing waistline size while maintaining muscle and bone. [16] And, exercise of all levels during fasting maintains lean mass while accelerating fat burn as fuel. [4,14-15]

Personal Experience: Both Victor and Dupi strength and power train in a fasted state. On average Victor eats 6+ hours later and Dupi 3+ hours after a workout. Feel free to visit our IG profiles to see results. @godupigo @victory.rising

Extent your fast, stay hydrated and meet your micronutrient profile with our IF-friendly and healthy Spiced Teas.

chai teabags product photo

Not all IF-Teas are created equal as many companies shortchange their versions of this traditional drink using flavours and sprays to create the feel without substance.

Health benefits of chai come from wide range of active ingredients found within spices and herbs.

These ingredients possess compounds called polyphenols which are released during the brewing process.

A chai tea with purpose and more benefits must be:

  • High Quality and Quantity of Ingredients: no dust, presses or extracts.
  • More Spices: as most potent superfoods, spices are what give chai its benefits.  
  • No Sugar: #1 ingredient in most chai blends, sugar and/or substitutes have been linked to cascade of health issues and should be avoided.
  • No “natural” or artificial Flavours: majority of Chai tea brands spray their blends with spice essence, flavours and alike rather than adding real ingredients. Cost saving strategy for them and no health benefits for you. 

Enhance Fasting Results

To maximize on fasting benefits, no (or very little) calories are consumed during fasting periods. To keep hunger at bay, many drink plain coffee or teas which don’t increase insulin to noticeable levels. [17]

Besides caffeine for alertness and cognition, tea and coffee contain polyphenols. [17-19] Many polyphenols are strong antioxidants that carry wide range of health benefits further complimenting fasting results. [20-21]

Spices also don’t noticeably increase blood sugar while improving fasting experience by limiting hunger, revving up metabolism and burning fat. [22]

Spice Bonus: catechins in plain tea and caffeine is black coffee can lead to upset stomach for many peoples. Spices like ginger, cardamon and alike shown to soothe stomach lining and alleviate IBS symptoms. Furthermore, the natural, calorie-free sweet flavour of cinnamon, star anise and alike actually improve the beverage experience. Adding flavour (not calories) while keeping hunger at bay.

Spiced Teas to the Rescue: at Dupi’s Chai we combine specific spices with teas into superfood blends containing potent polyphenols that amplify fasting benefits. [23-25] These functional blends are convenient, tasty and diet-flexible.

Final Thoughts

Intermittent fasting raises metabolism, improves energy and weight loss while preserving muscle mass. Along with smaller waistlines IF comes with numerous other benefits including better insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, improved organ function, less inflammation and lower risk of illness and disease. [2,4]

Water, coffee and tea are often used during the fasting periods. Teas and coffee carry numerous active ingredients including polyphenols. Polyphenols offer wide range of health benefits and found in many plants including spices, herbs, teas and coffee.

Dupi’s Chai works perfectly within any IF protocol offering blends of spiced teas that enhance fasting experience and benefits while tasting delicious.

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