Fasting for your Muscles

Yesterday I released the newest version of Eat Stop Eat.

There’s a lot of new info in this edition, most notably the information on autophagy and gaining muscle while fasting.

So what’s the connection between autophagy and muscle?

Well, if you wanted to sum up weight training in one poorly written sentence it would be:

Breaking down muscle so that we can build it back up again.

I think most people understand this, but what gets very little attention is the role our diets play in this process.

Autophagy is the internal ‘maintenance system’  that your body uses to identify and discard the damaged or malfunctioning parts of a cell.

Simply put, autophagy is ‘cleansing’ on the cellular level – the clean up that needs to happen before growth and repair can occur.

Autophagy is actually necessary for the proper maintenance of  healthy muscle mass, and inhibition/alteration of autophagy can contribute to muscle degeneration and weakness in certain types of muscle disorders.

This is where your diet comes into play. Fasting is a very potent promoter of the autophagic process.

The strong connection between autophagy and fasting is due to the fact that the principle signal to turn up the ‘autophagy dial’ is
the act of entering the fasted state, and the principle way to turn down the ‘autophagy dial’ is by eating.

Sadly, it doesn’t take a feast or a junk-food binge to negatively affect autophagy.

Recent research has shown that as little as 10 grams of amino acids is enough to decrease markers of autophagy in fasting humans.

This means that even a small meal in the middle of a fast may be enough to blunt the increased autophagy associated with fasting.

So it’s not just your workouts that break you down and build you back up – your diet does the same thing.

By allowing for growth when we eat, and the autophagic process of cleansing and repair when we are fasting, we help restore a balance in the muscle building process.

The key is there needs to be a balance – You can’t overeat all the time or fast all the time without expecting some sort of negative repercussions.

It is the optimal balance of these processes that allows for the breakdown of damaged muscle proteins, and the build up of new, bigger, healthier muscles.

To learn more about fasting and autophagy check out the NEW 5th edition of Eat Stop Eat here ==>

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