How to AMPLIFY fasting, muscle gain, and fat loss
For years I’ve been organizing these details and I’ve been burning to write about them. There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of fasting, intermittent fasting, and ketogenic diets (mentioned at the end). There’s a ton of science supporting these benefits. Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture and maybe we can see how fasting could be useful IN YOUR LIFE and how to best feed the body- to restore healthy muscle. After years of experience with this stuff, this is my summary.
Our genetics developed to manage periods of feast and famine. Let’s call these the Fed and Fasted states.
The Fed state is easy to get into. You eat carbs and proteins, then BAM, you’re there. It’s easy to see how most of us spend too much time in the FED state. That’s why we are excessively fat. That why cancer rates are higher than ever. We are overloaded with crap in our body.
These are the things that accumulate as we age from stress and over feeding:
Microbes and parasites
Rogue cells- cancer cells
Dead cells, dying cells
Pathogens, viruses, bacteria
Dysfunctional mitochondria give off damaging free radicals
Heavy metals- Mercury and others
These things create dysfunctions in our body. They reduce the length and quality of our life. We want to get them out! Fasting is the simplest way to remove dead crap, while sparing the healthy cells. But fasting is miserable. What’s the least you can sacrifice to still get the benefits of fasting? More on that below.
3 things happen when you fast.
Your body releases toxins that are stored in the fat that you burn while fasting.
You trigger autophagy (self-eating)- to eat away at dead cells and reduce risk of disease.
You release stems cells as your body begins to regrow when you break your fast. You may need longer fasts for this effect. Stem cells heal a variety of systems in your body.
I’ve been experimenting with these things for a while now. People ask me,
Is it’s safe to fast for 5-10 days?
How much fasting is too much fasting?
Here’s the truth. There’s no forced famine in the modern world. Fasting helps us restore balance. So, the more you can fast, the better. But here is the caveat: after you fast, your body is prime to grow and repair new healthy cells. If you fast too much without ever repairing them properly then you’re going to break down. The foods you eat post fast can have a significant impact on your ability to regenerate cells.
You can go deeper into fasting to amplify its effects. Monks and Yogis understand these practices well.
You can also do things to amplify growth. Athletes and bodybuilders understand these principles.
Let’s get into your life. How old are you?
Doesn’t it make sense that a young person under 25 needs to grow? There’s not a lot of dysfunctional crap in the body of a young person. They are in a state of perpetual growth. They should stay in the fed state most of the time. I don’t suggest children eat vegan or fast until they are older.
As we get over 25, our bodies are fully developed. We’ve now encountered STRESS. Many of us have begun to use alcohol, excessive eating, or other stressful things that can damage cells.
Between ages 30-60 it may be best to incorporate more periods of fasting. Injecting these periods of cleanup and regeneration will keep the system running smoothly. It will also help keep the fat off. We all struggle with this as we age. By fasting, we can hit the reset button before these dead cells begin to accumulate and cause problems.
But over time, as we inevitably age. Our body begins to degrade.
We lose muscle mass. Our digestive system doesn’t assimilate food as well as it used to. Our cells don’t repair well.
Over age 65, it becomes more important to maintain strength and muscles mass. The regenerative feeding phase and the need for more protein becomes important again, as it was in our early life, but we’ve also accumulated a lot of the dead crap mentioned above. Now, we will have to be even more precise with how we feed and fast if we want to delay the effects of aging.
What are your exercise goals?
If you don’t exercise, if you only walk, do light cardio, meditate, or practice yoga then you will require less repair and feeding. And consequently, because stress is so low, you will also require less fasting. Most people reading this are not living that lifestyle!
We live in America. We compete. We want to be productive and accomplish things like career goals, family goals, and aesthetic goals! Almost everyone wants to look better! Intense exercise helps us look better. But stress is the side effect of all of those goals. It’s the stress relieving activities like over eating and drinking alcohol that compound the problems. We can mitigate this stress by amplifying our fasting and our feeding.
By age 60, the average American is over fed and under repaired. This explains why it is hard to reverse a lifetime of unhealthy behavior. At this point, to restore health, you have to get very detailed at feeding and fasting. We can amplify it with timing and precision. This has become my focus.
How can we amplify fasting?
There are different types of fasts. Most of the benefits come from activating autophagy. This is when the body eats itself because there is a shortage of fuel. Your body is smart! It prefers to eat all the damaged crap! And it will probably never get the chance to eat all of it.
The easiest thing you can do is fast for 12 hours every day. Don’t eat three hours before bedtime. Then, don’t rush to eat breakfast. If we stay in a fasted state for 12 hours, and a fed state for 12 hours every day, then it makes sense that we would maintain a balance. Your body needs time to process all of the food. Most people feed for 16 hours a day. Stop eating so frequently!
Imagine how much those hours compound on a yearly basis or over the course of a life. How many hours have you fed vs fasted over the course of your life? How much fasting would you need to get that math back into balance?
Most of us have fed excessively. For this reason, we may need longer periods of daily fasting to restore balance. Fasting is the most practical and data backed solution. It’s not easy, but it is simple. That’s why intermittent fasting has become so popular.
Here are progressive steps to incorporate fasting:
Start with fasting 12 hours every day.
Eat a smaller breakfast. Eat breakfast later.
Skip breakfast OR skip dinner to fast for 16 hours every day.
Only eat dinner, fasting for 23 hours every day.
Fast for an entire day, once a week, accumulating 36 hours of fasting.
Once a month, for 5 days in a row, eat only 500 calories.
Prolonged fasting over several days. Up to 4 times a year.
The longer fast, the more we cut the calories, the deeper we get into autophagy. Here’s the fun part, we can also amplify autophagy with food, supplements, and physical interventions!
Do this during fasting hours to amplify:
Practice yoga or stretch- inflammation will be low from fasting. This is great time to stretch and allow the release of toxins buried in your joints.
Go for a long walk- This will add to your calorie deficiency, burning more fat, and catalyzing the entire process.
Sauna- You will have an elevated heart rate in the sauna. It’s like exercising without stressing your body. Additionally, you will sweat out toxins. There’s tons of research supporting the benefits of sauna exposure.
Consume these during a fast to amplify effects:
You may see supplements labeled “amp-k activators”
Berberine, Quercetin, Elderberry, Apple cider vinegar, Curcumin/ Turmeric, Resveratrol, Milk thistle, Ceylon cinnamon, any herbal “detox tea”
Drink these teas during fasting hours:
Green tea (AM), citrus bergamot, earl gray tea, Ginger tea, chamomile tea (PM), peppermint tea, mint tea
These foods are low calorie so they may help with hunger and assist the detox pathways:
Red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, celery
I consume Phosphatidylcholine (any time) and magnesium (at night) to smooth out the detox process. I ALWAYS include these because they help me feel and sleep better. “Quicksilver scientific” is my favorite company for detox assisting supplements.
During a fast do not consume:
Too many calories in general
Animal proteins because they contain - BCAA- branched chain amino acids- they will promote growth. Fasting is a breakdown, we don’t want to impede it.
Sweetened powder or drops, even if they are sugar free, natural or artificial sweeteners of any kind.
After my organs and digestive system have rested from a fast, I find they are more effective at repairing and growing. After a fast, usually a fast lasting more than 2 days, the organs have shrunk, simply because you’ve cut calories and lost weight. To regrow these organs, the body naturally releases stem cells. Stem cells are magic. They repair whatever damage needs healing. Let’s assist them with fuel.
How to break a fast and fuel the growth process: (or how to build muscle)
Opposite of the “Amp-k” fasted pathway is the growth pathway is called “mTOR.”
You’ve just fasted. You want to gain muscle. You’ve been doing high intensity cardio. You just had surgery. Or, you’re an athlete. It’s time to eat and grow.
This is the fun part.
These are things to focus on to fuel and grow:
Have a calorie surplus. Eat more. Eat clean foods, specifically animal proteins and complex carbohydrates.
You want to lift weights while eating these foods because its triggers growth hormones. I try to break my fast with weight training. (You can do yoga, go for long walks, and sit in the sauna at any time. It will not disrupt growth as long as you maintain a calorie surplus.)
Whey protein shakes have all the right amino acids for growth. Those are called
BCAA’s, branched chain amino acids- Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
Of these, Leucine seems to be most beneficial at reducing damage induced from weight training. Less damage= faster recovery.
There is a concentrated form of leucine called HMB. It is best absorbed in a “free acid” form. I’ve only found one supplement with it- “Clear Muscle.” The research on this is getting stronger by the day.
While working at a hospital, I was introduced to a supplement called “Juven.” They give this to people post-surgery to reduce muscle loss and support healing. I’ve used it to gain muscle.
It contains HMB (mentioned above), Arginine, glutamine, collagen, and other micronutrients C, E, b12, and zinc.
Lastly, there’s lots of solid data on the benefits and safety of creatine monohydrate for athletic recovery and muscle growth.
Take that stuff as the stem cells release, and BAM! The muscle grows and body heals, EFFECTIVELY.
I would give the stuff mentioned above to my high school athletes. I took most of it when I was a young athlete and a college athlete. Size and speed were certainly my competitive advantage as an athlete. (My health problems in my 20’s were caused by obvious toxic behavior.)
Of all of these, I find the whey protein shakes to be most practical, well rounded, and effective. I use “Bio Chem.” Generally speaking, cheese and dairy are not the healthiest foods. But they do have lots of these amino acids. This would be the time to eat them.
Some professionals actually recommend these amino acid supplements DURING a fast to preserve muscle mass and suppress appetite. I don’t agree with that because BCAA’s disrupt the benefits of autophagy. And I find it unnecessary. I don’t lose much muscle, if any, during my fasts. And if you do, it will come back quickly.
Remember, these things are to amplify and fuel the growth process that will already be occurring naturally. You will have an increased appetite after training, fasting, surgery or because you’re young and growing. You don’t want to consume as much of this stuff if you haven’t been physically active.
How does this fit into my day?
You can amplify these phases on a daily basis by fasting in the morning while taking the amp-k activators with black coffee or green tea. Exercise and sauna in the morning. Eat for growth at lunch and in the evening. You will be okay doing any type of exercise at any time of the day. The food and the supplements should match the Fed and Fasted time windows. Eat as many plants as you want in the fed window. It will not slow growth or repair.
You may want to shift your focus on a monthly basis. One month, eat low animal protein and plant based while including longer fasting windows and moderate carbohydrate consumption.
Fast, walk, yoga sauna.
The next month, switch, do more intense exercising and eat lots of protein and carbs.
You could do 1-3 months in a row of each. Balance it out.
Start to incorporate these basics:
Aim for longer fasting windows!
Eat plant based on days you don’t exercise.
Consume the animal proteins when you do intense exercise or when you feel stressed.
Amplify muscle growth and recovery with the foods and supplements above.
If you plan on eating crap, do it in the Fed phase
The fundamentals always apply. Sleep, hydration, and happiness are still massively important.
Crappy food is still crappy food.
At all times, I still use these supplements to delay aging and to feel good:
Electrolytes, minerals, Coq10, Fish oil, Phosphatidylcholine, and Vitamin D.
There are lots of details and questions that can be answered in these 4 books.
Keto fast, Mercola- Cycle ketosis and a 36 hour fast once a week.
The Complete Guide to Fasting, Fung and Moore- all types of fasting and research
The Longevity Diet, Longo- 5 days of restricted calorie fasting, fasting and cancer
The Switch, Clement—all about Autophagy
Anabolic – Fed --- Growth phase
Mtor— (muscles grow)
More acidic foods
Do this more: Early life, late life, Athletes
Sympathetic – workout more
Excessive- gain muscle, grow cancer
Lots of meat and clean carbs
Exercise: Weight training, HIIT
Whey protein shakes
BCAA or HMB
Juven (glutamine, /arginine/ creatine/ collegen)
More alkaline foods
Do this more: Mid-life 30-65
Parasympathetic- relax more
Deficient- reduces disease risk, makes the body weak
Lower protein, eat plants, Time restricted eating, more low-calorie vegetables, less carbs more fats
Exercise: Walking, Yoga, Sauna
Anything “Amp-k activators”
1 last note about Ketogenic diets
This is tricky because fasting is a ketogenic state. Usually when you are in Ketosis, you are in autophagy. But there is so much meat on a ketogenic diet. Does that disrupt the fasted process?
Not really because the carbs are so low.
But, I would keep total protein at about 30% of your body weight.
At 200lbs, that’s 60g a day for me.
I would keep the carbs as low as possible and focus on getting 80% of calories from these fats:
Macadamia nuts or oil
Avocado nuts or oil
You’ll probably burn a lot of fat in ketosis. You will eliminate toxins.
It seems like you can get a lot of benefits of this fasted state from a ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diets are best for people looking to lose a lot of fat quickly. (also, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative disorders)
But a ketogenic diet is probably not optimal long term because:
It’s dehydrating. Think- carbo HYDRATE
Make sure you drink a lot more water and consume sugar free electrolytes!
Healthy gut bacteria feed on complex carbs and they can starve from long term Ketosis which creates some very subtle long-term issues.
The high fat content can stress your gall bladder and may not be good for heart health.
I ate a ketogenic diet for 4 years and it caused some of these problems. I’m good now, but I wouldn’t recommend doing a strict ketogenic diet for more than 2 months a year.
This was detailed. Message me with questions and ideas. I love to talk about this stuff.