How Does Fasting Affect Your Metabolism

How Does Fasting Affect Your Metabolism


Since the early 1990s, fitness and body builders have always been neurotic about keeping their muscles in a fed state. Since then, it has always been thought that to recompose your body and change fat into muscle, you would have to eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day. I’m sure you’ve heard from someone or somewhere that you should try to eat six times a day.

Well, recent studies have taken a look into Ramadan fasting subjects and analyzed the its affect on metabolism.


For those who don’t know what Ramadan is, simply put, it is a Muslim observance of Islamic tradition. Typically, during the month of September, Muslims will undergo a month of fasting.

Now, I am not here to talk about religion and beliefs, but for the purposes of how fasting affects the body, studies have been conducted.

If you’re curious to read the articles, you’re welcome to purchase them on PubMed.

Pubmed Article #1: Influence of Ramadan fasting on physiological and performance variables in football players: summary of the F-MARC 2006 Ramadan fasting study.
Zerguini Y, Dvorak J, Maughan RJ, Leiper JB, Bartagi Z, Kirkendall DT, Al-Riyami M, Junge A.

Pubmed Article #2: Effects of Ramadan fasting on physical performance and metabolic, hormonal, and inflammatory parameters in middle-distance runners.
Chennaoui M, Desgorces F, Drogou C, Boudjemaa B, Tomaszewski A, Depiesse F, Burnat P, Chalabi H, Gomez-Merino D.

Pubmed Article #3: Effect of Ramadan fasting on some indices of insulin resistance and components of the metabolic syndrome in healthy male adults.
Shariatpanahi ZV, Shariatpanahi MV, Shahbazi S, Hossaini A, Abadi A.

Studies have shown that after fasting for  16 hours and beyond, metabolic rate is INCREASED. This means that when you fast for over 16 hours, your metabolism goes up.

However, beyond 72 hours, there is little change in metabolic rate.

So how does this apply to us? To boost your metabolism, you should intentionally fast for 16 hours. Under the Saiyan method, I advise that you uphold a 16 hour fast and an 8 hour feeding window. As time goes on and you adapt to this program, you should increase your fasting window and shorten your feeding window.

Occasionally, you can even throw in a 24 hour fast here and there. I don’t advise going beyond 24 so that you can keep your sanity. We also need to think about building muscle and strength.

Here’s a diagram to show what my typical window looks like – note that this is slightly more extreme than what you need to do.

eating_windowHere’s what my feeding and fasting times look like:

Monday: 4/20 (20 hour fast)

Tuesday: 2/22 (18 hour fast)

Wednesday: 4/20 (24 hour fast)

Thursday: 4/20 (20 hour fast)

Friday: 2/22 (22 hour fast)

Saturday: 8/16 (16 hour fast)

Sunday: 8/16 (16 hour fast)

I get one 24 hour fast by staggering my meal times on Tuesday and Wednesday. The remaining days, I take advantage of increased metabolic rate and maximizing fat burn.


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