Question:

I’m wanting to start intermittent fasting for the numerous benefits it has… yes, including a little fat loss as well! The only issue is that I’m also trying to add muscle at the same time. Subscribing to the 1-2 grams of protein per body pound theory, is that enough time in the IF window to ingest that much protein? (I weigh 230 now, that’s a lot in a short window of time! 😳 What are the recommendations in order to achieve this with IF and low-carb/high protein? Is it even possible? Thanks!

– Chris T. 

Answer:

First, I’d modify your protein goal to the lower end of the range you proposed: 1 gram per pound goal body weight. That’s still over the 1.7 gm protein/kg recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine to increase muscle mass. Since there is no physical storage of amino acids in the body, consuming large quantities of protein at once doesn’t mean you’ll use all of what you eat.  

For intermittent fasting, I’d advise breaking down your total so that you’re consuming 30-40 grams of protein* every 2-3 hours for the span of time you do eat. Remember to support your workouts with protein before, during and after to provide your muscles with amino acids when it needs them most and to promote muscle protein synthesis. 

* Amount of protein generally supported in the literature as that which can be utilized at one sitting. 

Schoenfeld, B.J., Aragon, A.A. How Much Protein Can the Body Use in a Single Meal for Muscle-Building? Implications for Daily Protein Distribution. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; 15,10 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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