Currently, most overweight individuals are overfat rather than overmuscled. Because of this, most intermittent fasting studies have focused on weight loss. Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting effectively loses body fat and gains muscle mass.
If you’ve been training for bodybuilding for a while, you may already know about bulking (anabolic) and cutting (catabolic). Bulking causes people to gain more weight than their target weight. They burn the maximum fat during the cutting phase without losing muscle mass. There may be several weeks of anabolic and catabolic periods during this cycle. The ultimate goal is to maximize muscle and reduce fat at any given time.
The anabolic window and catabolic cycle are compressing on an intermittent fast day. Evidence shows that restricting your eating window can improve your body composition, even if it may not be the best solution for competitive bodybuilders.
Extensive fasting enables one to secure an anabolic window, which lasts for almost 8 hours in total. As a result of fasting, the body’s metabolism is stabilized, protecting it from fatal medical problems like heart problems and high cholesterol.
To understand their relationship, let’s first discuss “What is intermittent fasting and what is the anabolic window?”
Anabolic window – what is it?
During the anabolic window, muscles heal and grow themselves after every workout. This appears to depend on the body’s anabolic response. The duration is 35-40 minutes. During this time frame, carbohydrates and proteins help catalyze this process. This is important for us to realize that there exists a particular state in which an individual does not eat anything after eating dinner since his last meal corresponds to this window.
Throughout this window, a person can benefit from fasting primarily by building up their protein levels. To boost protein production, a person must consume protein-rich foods and carbohydrate-rich supplements.
After a strenuous workout, the person benefits from this window since it accelerates protein synthesis, alleviates muscle protein loss, and compensates for the body’s glycogen demands.
Intermittent fasting, what is it?
In intermittent fasting, a person eats and avoids certain foods by a set schedule. Food type is not significant during this fasting, but the quantity and timing of the meals are. Unhealthy food is easily accessible and deliberate today, contributing to its requisite trend. Because of this, the obesity rate has risen over the past few years. Different religions practice similar rituals during sacred months to help people improve their health and control their weight and diet.
With intermittent fasting, you can gain numerous health benefits, such as preserving your heart from heart problems, lowering cholesterol levels, improving your mental and physical performance, and maintaining a healthy weight with good fats. It may also protect you from neurological conditions such as dementia.
The Intermittent Fasting-Anabolic Window Relationship
Fasting for 18 hours packs anabolic processes into a single day, according to multiple types of research. This may not suit ambitious bodybuilders. Research has shown, however, that eating within several hours can assist in maintaining body composition and shape.
There is a specified time for the anabolic window, starting right after the workout. The body is believed to be in its ideal state within that timeframe to accept nutrients for health.
In the same way, when you fast for 16-18 hours, the body is in the best condition to accept food and fulfill its needs. At that moment, the body consumes the nutrients it needs and converts them into energy that helps make muscles and create new tissues, and it achieves all the necessary reactions. Anabolic window and intermittent fasting share similar factors in the post-workout phase.
Although fasting is believed to decrease muscle mass, studies show that it increases growth hormone (GH) production, preventing muscle loss and encouraging fat loss. Increased GH stimulates fat burning by increasing adiponectin, activating AMPK, and influencing other genes and hormones. Insulin, blood glucose, and inflammatory markers were also reduced. Overall, these results indicate that metabolic health has improved.
Both intermittent fasting and anabolic window are optimal phases for the body. They are equally important for health. To achieve better results, both have certain terms and conditions.