Worried about losing muscle if you fast? Maybe this will put your concerns to rest: a single 24-hour fast increased human growth hormone (HGH) by 2000% in men and 1300% in women.[2]  HGH plays an integral role in building muscle. Boosting your levels this high will have huge effect on your physique. Research shows that higher levels of HGH leads to lower levels of body fat, higher lean body mass and improved bone mass.[3]
Human growth hormone, or HGH, is naturally produced by the body, but remains active in the bloodstream for just a few minutes. It’s been effectively used to treat obesity and help build muscle mass, important for burning fat. HGH also helps increase muscle strength, which can help improve your workouts, too. Combine these together and you have an effective fat-burning machine on your hands.
Mattson points out that, from an evolutionary perspective, the brain power that fasting generates makes sense. Mammals typically go days without food, often hunting on an empty belly. Semi-starved animals with enhanced smarts and energy would be more likely to obtain food and live another day. “If you are that wolf or lion, now a week with no food, you better be able to focus your mind and concentrate on what you need to do to get food,” he says.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I believe Muslims are urged to fast entirely, whereas the fasting diet plan or 5:2 diet allows people to eat and drink a small amount of food throughout the day. Having said this if this is something you have been doing your entire life perhaps you have some great tips you can share that makes fasting easier?
Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."

The physiology of fasting has been widely studied and documented by medical science. Beneficial effects such as lowered cholesterol and improved general functioning have been shown. Fasting as a treatment for illness and disease has been studied less, although some studies around the world have shown beneficial results. A 1984 study showed that workers in Taiwan who had severe chemical poisoning had dramatic improvement after a ten-day fast. In Russia and Japan, studies have demonstrated fasting to be an effective treatment for mental illness. Fasting has been featured on the cover of medical journals, although mainstream medicine has generally ignored fasting and detoxification treatments as valid medical procedures.
When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. For most of history, people weren’t eating three square meals a day, plus grazing on snacks. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting.[1] Nowadays, we don’t have to hunt for food (although hunting for your own meat isn’t a bad idea!). Rather, we spend most of our days in front of computers, and we eat whenever we want — even though our bodies aren’t adapted to this behavior.
Intermittent fasting is a diet regimen that cycles between brief periods of fasting, with either no food or significant calorie reduction, and periods of unrestricted eating. It is promoted to change body composition through loss of fat mass and weight, and to improve markers of health that are associated with disease such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Its roots derive from traditional fasting, a universal ritual used for health or spiritual benefit as described in early texts by Socrates, Plato, and religious groups. [1] Fasting typically entails a steady abstinence of food and beverages, ranging from 12 hours to one month. It may require complete abstinence, or allow a reduced amount of food and beverages.
Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of “simple enough that you'll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.”
To achieve a ripped/lean look your body needs to use your stored fat as fuel. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first. When you lift weights, you typically use glycogen as fuel. By lifting weights before cardio, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores. Knocking out your cardio after you crush the weights will burn more fat!
Thank you very much for the great article. As a Muslim, we are encouraged to fast two days a week (Monday and Thursday)! It is not a must, just preferred. We fast from sunrise to sunset. No food or drink is allowed during this period (no water). As you mentioned a true fast can be a mental and physical cleansing time. From a personal experience, fasting is really great. I strongly believe it has many benefits on the mind and body as well if done correctly.
The drawbacks were clear. The men became obsessed with food to the exclusion of everything else in their life, and when the calorie restriction ended, they all over-reacted. Within a few weeks, they regained all of the lost weight plus about 10 percent more. Other studies have come to similar conclusions. So starvation-type diets may not be ideal for the average person. Your body will tend to shut down various processes in order to survive. For example, by reducing thyroid function, your body will not burn as many calories.
Studies show that intermittent fasting accelerates weight loss. In a 2015 review pooling 40 different studies, participants shed on average 10 pounds in a 10-week period.[1] Another study found that obese adults following an “alternate day” intermittent fasting schedule (eating 25 percent of their daily calories on one day, and eating normally the following day) lost up to 13 pounds over 8 weeks.[2]
Secular Music Fast: Instead of listening to Top Hits on the radio, you can choose to listen to the Christian radio station for a period of time. Pop in a CD of your favorite worship leader when you're driving to work. Listen to a Christian podcast or audiobook. You can even turn the stereo off completely and spend that time in prayer. You'll be amazed what this little change will do for your life. 
Zero-calorie beverages are okay.  I drink green tea in the morning for my caffeine kick while writing. If you want to drink water, black coffee, or tea during your fasted period, that’s okay.  Remember, don’t overthink it – keep things simple! Dr. Rhonda Patrick over at FoundMyFitness believes that a fast should stop at the first consumption of anything other than water, so experiment yourself and see how your body responds.
"There is a good evolutionary explanation for the difference in the calorie restriction response when comparing short-lived and long-lived species: famines are seasonal, and a season is a large fraction of a mouse lifespan but a small fraction of a human life span. Thus only the mouse evolves a relatively large plasticity of life span in response to food scarcity."

In a randomized trial of 107 overweight or obese premenopausal women, researchers found that participants who followed an intermittent food energy restriction plan (25 percent restriction two days a week) lost a comparable amount of weight to the participants who followed a continuous energy restriction plan. After six months, participants following the intermittent calorie restriction plan lost an average of 14 pounds each. Results were published in 2011 in the International Journal of Obesity.

The very simple and direct conclusions I draw are these: First, if the Bible teaches us to do something, I want to do it. I want to obey the Lord in every way that He commands me to obey Him. And second, if fasting and praying are means to a breakthrough that God has for me, I want to undertake those disciplines so I might experience that breakthrough!
Although it’s possible that fasting helps manage blood sugar and insulin, fight inflammation, and ease sleep problems, most people follow a fasting diet to lose weight. Fasting is believed to help in this goal because of the effects that caloric restriction and extended periods without food have on metabolism, or simply because people eat less during the restricted feeding window. (Some dieters benefit from the structure and clear boundaries fasting plans offer.)
How It Works: This one’s easy: Eat very little one day, and eat like normal the next. On the low-calorie days, that means one fifth of your normal calorie intake. Using 2,000 or 2,500 calories (for women and men, respectively) as a guide, “fasting” (or “down”) day should be 400 to 500 calories. Followers can use this tool to figure out how many calories to consume on “low-calorie” days.

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God has reminded me the importance of preparation. I am not much for planning or preparing food in advance. However, since beginning the fast, the Lord has shown me that if I don't plan and prepare my food I will trip, fall or fail. There are so many temptation in an office setting. But, I was reminded that it is the same in the spirit. If I don't prepare by seeking him in prayer and worship daily, I will also trip, fall or fail.
For Eastern Orthodox Christians, fasting is an important spiritual discipline, found in both the Old Testament and the New, and is tied to the principle in Orthodox theology of the synergy between the body (Greek: soma) and the soul (pneuma). That is to say, Orthodox Christians do not see a dichotomy between the body and the soul but rather consider them as a united whole, and they believe that what happens to one affects the other (this is known as the psychosomatic union between the body and the soul).[47][48] Saint Gregory Palamas argued that man's body is not an enemy but a partner and collaborator with the soul. Christ, by taking a human body at the Incarnation, has made the flesh an inexhaustible source of sanctification.[49] This same concept is also found in the much earlier homilies of Saint Macarius the Great.
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