Losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass are two things that all gym enthusiasts and bodybuilders share in common. However, getting a chiseled physique that would be the envy of your gym buddies is lots of hard work.
On the one hand, increasing your food intake to gain weight could also increase your body fat composition. On the other hand, dieting can cause you to lose both your body fat composition and muscle gain at the same time. These contradictions make it difficult to gain and maintain a natural physique that is all muscle with very little body fat.
But everyone wants to achieve the balance between gaining and maintaining their skeletal muscle mass while simultaneously burning fat. It has resulted in diet experts creating something called anabolic fasting (AF).
This guide will teach you all you need to know about anabolic fasting, including an anabolic fasting meal plan, anabolic diet foods, and anabolic fasting results to expect if you do the fasting the right way.
What Is Anabolic Fasting?
The phrase “anabolic fasting” combines two words that seem to contradict each other. For starters, you are in an anabolic state when you build muscle mass, and this means adding some amount of weight. But when you are in a state of fasting, you are shedding weight, including body fat and even muscle mass.
Nevertheless, the term anabolic fasting is hugely popular amongst fitness gurus who want to shed body fat while building muscle in the process.
For your body to lose fat, it must be placed in a state of caloric deficit. That is where you burn much more calories than you eat. In a caloric deficit state, you will indiscriminately lose both body fat and muscle mass. Also, by consuming more calories than normal, you will build and repair your skeletal muscles while increasing your body fat composition at the same time.
With an anabolic fasting plan, you reap the benefits of both worlds. You will gain lean muscle mass while also burning fat in the process. Anabolic fasting provides you with a structured dietary plan. This plan consists of a weekday fat-burning ketogenic diet immediately followed up with high fuel skeletal muscle-building carbs taken during the weekend.
With anabolic fasting, your daily workout routine will ensure that you burn body fat without diminishing your muscle gains. That is the overall goal of anabolic state fasting.
You are provided with a meal plan that states the type of foods you should consume and when you should consume these foods to attain your respective bodybuilding and fitness goals.
A Typical Anabolic Fasting Meal Plan
A typical anabolic diet plan runs for an entire week. The plan sees you fasting for 12 to 16 hours daily while giving you between 8 to 12 hours to eating window every day.
While your anabolic fasting plan can be modified according to your specific needs, most dieters consume anabolic diet foods between the hours of 12 noon and 8 pm.
The whole point of the anabolic fasting plan is for you to consume low amounts of carbs under a 5-day window. You then follow this up with 2 days of a high-carb diet. Consuming high carbs over the weekend replenishes your glycogen reserves to cater to your HIIT and strength workout routine.
In effect, you adopt a 5:2 diet ratio anabolic fasting plan. But note that before you begin this plan, you first need to spend about two weeks or around 12 days conditioning your body with a low-carb diet. For 12 days before you start anabolic fasting, you will consume low carbs (less than 25 grams), then follow this up with a couple of days of eating high-carb foods.
During the days when you consume low-carb anabolic diet foods, you should aim to consume meals with 60% of fats and 40% of protein. It means that your meal during this time should consist mainly of meat consisting of a high-fat content. With little or no carbs, your meat diet with high-fat content should provide your body with enough fuel to enable you to have your daily workouts.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can substitute the fatty-meat protein diet with plant-based protein sources such as tempeh and tofu.
During your two days of a high-carb diet, you need to aim to consume 60% of carbs, 30% of proteins, and 10% of fats. The whole point of eating this amount of food is simply to give your body the replenishment it needs for you to gain some lean muscle mass.
You should avoid consuming sugary and salty snacks during this time. It is important to consume only nutritious meals that will provide you with the right amount of nutrients needed to meet your dietary goals.
What is Anabolic Food?
Anabolic foods are those meals that will help you to achieve your 25 grams of carbs intake during your five days of fasting. You will consume these high-carb meals during the two days of eating in an anabolic fasting regime.
These meals will help you attain a state of caloric deficit during the five days of your low-carb intake while also helping you reach an anabolic state during the two days of your high-carb diet.
What can I eat while doing Anabolic Fasting?
When it comes to nutrition, there are many different types of foods that you could consume to help you achieve your dietary goals. Because of your reduced caloric intake, you are likely to experience hunger pangs during your fasting. You need to consume protein meals that will give you a full feeling after eating to help satisfy your hunger.
To this end, you can have protein food like fatty steak and chicken breast. You can complement this protein meal with spinach salad or greens with avocado. Bone broth is also a great meal to have when you are fasting.
Eating vegetables is very important to nourish your body with vital nutrients. You can eat as many green vegetables as possible, including leafy green veggies, zucchini, and broccoli. You can rely on seeds and nuts to give your body the right amount of fat needed to fuel your workouts.
Fruits are equally crucial to your anabolic fasting meal plan. You should consider consuming apples on the two days you need to eat high carbs. Bananas are also high-carb foods, with a single banana giving you up to 30 carbs alone. So during weekdays, you are advised to avoid eating apples and bananas.
You should avoid consuming dairy products, as dairy foods contain a high amount of carbs, making it extremely hard for your carb intake to be less than 25 grams.
During your fasting days, you can drink carbonated or plain water. You can also drink tea or coffee, but avoid adding cream, milk, or sugar.
Anabolic Diet Results
Finally, with anabolic fasting, your body will substitute the burning of carbs for energy fuel with the burning of body fat in what is known as fat oxidation. It can significantly drop your body fat composition from 2.5% to 9.9%, especially when you engage in a daily workout routine.
Anabolic fasting will also provide bulking gains as you rev up your carb intake during the two days. At this stage, you will gain or maintain lean muscle mass because AF will make your body release more IGF-1, testosterone, and growth hormones, which are essential to promoting lean muscle mass gains.
If you need help planning your fasting meals, check out 21-day intermittent fasting meal plans for weight loss. It’s customized for your gender, age, and activity level, with tasty recipes and a shopping list to make things easy.