“Hurting your metabolism”
These are the two biggest fears people have about fasting.
I think we’ve made a lot of solid progress debunking the metabolism-slow-down thing. Most nutritionists and weight loss experts are now shying away from making such an erroneous statement..however the muscle loss thing is still holding strong.
It doesn’t matter how much research you show people, it doesn’t matter how many examples and illustrations you give them, there will always be a small group of people (usually bodybuilders and fitness models) who are still petrified that they will lose muscle by fasting for 24 hours.
So…what’s it going to take?
I’ve thought about this for a long time and I realized that if research won’t do it and explanations won’t do it, then the only thing I left is real-life evidence like pictures.
The problem with pictures is that they are purely anecdotal: This means that it is not nearly as ‘concrete’ as sound scientific research…
Here’s a great example of anecdotal evidence from Wikipedia-
“Goat yogurt prolongs life: I heard that a man in a mountain village who ate only yogurt lived to 120.”
Obviously, there are a lot of issues here. No control, no scientific scrutiny, just a random story.
Despite these GIANT limitations, anecdotal reports are extremely powerful.
And since people typically use anecdotal evidence to support unscientific statements, I’m going to try using one to fight back.
So here it goes.
This is the absolute best example I can give you.
What you are going to see is two pictures of me.
The first was taken over 3 years ago (almost 4 actually), the day before my very first body building contest.
I’m proud of how lean I was able to get…(although I promised myself I would never show anyone these pictures…on well).
It took me a long time and a lot of hard work and old school traditional bodybuilding style dieting to get my bodyfat down to this level.
I recorded everything I ate, I had access to every supplement under the sun…and I was tanned, shaved and oiled up.
The second picture was taken on Friday (with an iphone)…after over two straight years of Eat Stop Eat. Yes I’m posing as best I can…however the point was to keep it as close as possible to the original picture from two years ago.
I’m not tanned (I’m actually kinda pasty), nor shaved nor oiled…and I think I look really, really sleep deprived.
Despite all of this, in my personal opinion – I haven’t lost any muscle.
I’m stronger in a lot of my lifts than I was four years ago, my weight isn’t to far off, and my measurements are almost the same or better.
It may be anecdotal, but outside of scientific facts, its the only other thing I can offer. I haven’t lost muscle and if anything I think I have gained some muscle after over two straight years of following Eat Stop Eat.
(Click the pics to make them bigger)
Bottom Line – The Eat Stop Eat style of fasting WILL NOT make you lose muscle as long as you are weight training or following some form of resistance training.
In fact most diets will not make you lose muscle as long as you are doing some form of weight training.
Body weight exercises, kettlebells, clubbells, giant rubber bands..you name it. As long as you are working hard, all of these tools can be used to keep you from losing muscle.
I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record but the scientific facts haven’t changed. For the best results and the best use of your time, use weight training / resistance training to build and maintain your muscles, and use your diet/nutrition to reduce body fat.
PS- Please forgive me for the speedo.