Time Restricted Eating for muscle gain & fat loss

The simple eating plan that could allow you to gain muscle and lose body fat.

10th of October 2023

This article was written by Martin Khoo, who is the director and owner of the Bespoke-Fitness, personal training studio in Glasgow, West Regent Street.

Traditional bodybuilding strategies, such as bulking and shredding phases, often prove impractical, overly complex, and detrimental to overall health. The question arises: can we devise a simple yet effective eating approach that simultaneously promotes muscle growth, fat loss, and enhanced well-being? Recent scientific research and my personal experience with clients suggest a promising solution: time-restricted eating (TRE).

At first glance, the goals of muscle gain and fat loss may seem mutually exclusive. Building muscle requires increased nutrient intake, primarily through amino acids from protein, while shedding fat necessitates calorie reduction. However, research indicates that carefully timing our meals can effectively achieve both objectives.

TRE involves confining your meals to a specific time window. The duration of this window typically ranges from 12 to 8 hours, with shorter windows generally promoting greater fat loss. While there are various TRE approaches, let's consider a 8-hour window with two meals. This would mean having your first meal at 12 pm and completing your last meal by 8 pm. Within this window, your aim would be to consume all the nutrients essential for health, muscle growth, and energy.

The rationale behind TRE is simple: the 16-hour fasting period allows the body to utilize stored fat for energy. Even with a healthy diet, our bodies cannot simultaneously burn fat and digest food. Since body fat serves as a long-term energy reservoir, we must induce a period of energy deprivation to tap into its reserves.

Does this prolonged fasting mean muscle loss? Not necessarily. If we provide the body with the necessary nutrients during the eating window, particularly immediately after strength training sessions, our muscle mass can remain intact. The key to TRE and muscle gain lies in maximizing nutrient intake during the eating window, ensuring an adequate supply of amino acids from protein.

Moreover, TRE offers additional health benefits. Research suggests that extended fasting periods enhance the immune system, reduce the wear and tear of genetic material, minimize free radical damage, and alleviate inflammation. These benefits contribute to increased longevity and overall well-being.

In essence, TRE's fasting window promotes fat burning, while the eating window facilitates muscle growth, all while safeguarding overall health. I have witnessed clients achieve remarkable results, losing over 2 stone of body fat, gaining muscle mass, and enhancing their energy levels within 6 months. This approach is even the eating plan that Hugh Jackman adopted for his role in the "Wolverine" films.

Here's a detailed overview of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine diet plan, which would be eaten in an 8 hour window:

Meal 1: Porridge and Blueberries with Eggs

Porridge: A whole-grain carbohydrate providing sustained energy and fiber.

Blueberries: A rich source of antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients.

Eggs: A high-quality protein source, containing essential amino acids for muscle growth and repair

Meal 2: Steak, Sweet Potatoes and Brocolli

280 gram steak: A protein source providing the necessary amino acids for muscle synthesis

Sweet potato: A complex carbohydrate that releases energy slowly, preventing spikes and crashes

Steamed broccoli: A low-calorie vegetable rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals

Greek salad: A nutrient-dense mix of vegetables, feta cheese, and olive oil, providing essential nutrients

Meal 3: Chicken, Brown Rice and Greek Salad

Chicken breast: A lean protein source for muscle repair and growth

Brown rice: A complex carbohydrate for replenishing glycogen stores depleted during exercise Greek salad: A source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support overall recovery

Meal 4: Protein Shake and Nuts

Protein Shake Protein shake: A convenient way to consume a high-quality protein source to support muscle growth and repair.

Mixed nuts: A source of healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients to promote satiety and support overall health

Now, obviously Jackman was training alot here, easily 2 sessions a day 6 days a week, so you would tailor it to you output and activity levels. Personally I would drop the porridge for potatoes with the eggs and a side of greek yogurt, but thats just me!

TRE presents a promising strategy for individuals seeking a balanced and effective approach to muscle growth, fat loss, and improved health. By carefully managing meal timings and nutrient intake, we can harness the power of TRE to achieve our fitness goals while promoting overall well-being. If you want read more mens health have an intresting article on when one of their reporters performed intermittent fasting.

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