Experimenting with periods of fasting can help reset your body’s response to insulin and improve its ability to burn fat as fuel, says Dr John Berardi
Dr John Berardi is a nutrition and exercise coach, sport scientist, author, and a founder of Precision Nutrition. He is based in Toronto, Canada.
If you’re a bodybuilder or training to add as much muscle as possible, you’re probably eating around the clock. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but doing so may mean your response to carbohydrates and insulin becomes a little bit blunted.
If so, there’s a chance you may start storing more body fat, you’re less likely to be able to burn off this fat as fuel, and there’s less insulin being put towards muscle mass growth.
Therefore, experimenting with intermittent fasting may offer you some body-composition benefits because it can help reset your body’s hormonal response to food, and to periods of going without food.
Fasting is not an all-or-nothing approach, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. So you need to try it in little doses – I often skip breakfast and have my first meal of the day after my workout – and play around with how long you fast until you find a way that works best for you.
Tough at first
The only thing I ask is that you don’t judge it until you’ve tried it and built up a tolerance for it. I have never met anyone who got to the end of their first period of fasting and said, ‘wow, I feel awesome’. No one says that because it’s really hard at first but that’s a sign that your physiology isn’t able to quickly switch to using body fat as fuel.
Indeed, the harder you find it at first, the less flexible you are to tap into body-fat stores, so the more you need to try fasting to restore your body to an optimal condition.
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