4

votes

Intermittent fasting + 6 hours of walking. Am I in danger of losing muscle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 18, 2012 at 1:28 AM

Wound up doing a 4 hour walk yesterday without eating. I ate a hearty meal afterwards, capping a 17 hour fast.

I was tired at the end, and the cheeseburger (with bacon) I crushed in about 30secs at the end had never tasted better. I felt like I could have walked further - still had some gas in the tank afterwards. Want to try a 6 hour walk next weekend, capping a 20 hour fast.

I crossfit 3X/week and eat plenty of protein (90% paleo diet).

MY QUESTION:

If I do a 6 hour walk on a rest day, and eat plenty/right ratios of protein and carbs the day before a 20 hour fast + 6 hour walk, then eat lots of protein and carbs afterward, am I going to be cannibalizing muscle during the walk (burns about 1600 kcals)?

Also, I am very conscious of not overtraining and giving myself plenty of rest days.

Is walking for long distances such that I'm describing considered overtraining?

Thanks!

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:31 AM

Kurp - I do walk in the fasted state frequently. Toward the end of a long walk I tend to feel pretty ready to eat something.

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:05 PM

I averaged 3 mph on my 4 hour fasted walk. (x6) = 18 miles walking.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:51 PM

This is close to LeanGains except that Crossfit is not a strength training program past the novice stage. Keeping muscle mass while cutting requires that you lift heavy (3-5X5 reps at 85-90% of 1RM) regularly (at least twice a week). Make sure you are lifting heavy all of your major lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, press) to maintain your lean mass. Depending on your BF%, you can still make gains while cutting.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Got units and numbers mixed up. Poster considering a 6 hour walk, Hadza walk way more than 6 miles a day. Also, fixed the link. Like cliff says, 6 hours of walking in a row when you are fasted is a lot. I can only find articles on muscle breakdown during marathons at the moment though, not on walks.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on June 18, 2012
at 09:19 AM

6 miles is not that much?

Medium avatar

(2923)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:37 AM

This is pretty close to the method recommended by LeanGains: compressed eating window with workouts done in the fasted state.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 18, 2012
at 06:09 AM

and some indigenous tribes do look very lean

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 18, 2012
at 06:06 AM

walking 6-12 miles a day is a lot different than fasting for 20hrs with 6hrs of walking unless you walk very slow although imo the walking is less important than the fasting since you can only eat so much in one sitting

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 04:13 AM

I skip breakfast everyday - and practice 16 hour fasts. So, my body is somewhat used to it. As far as body composition - I'm 195 lbs with 15-20% bodyfat. Been crossfitting regularly for past few months (took a 6 month break) and was doing it for a year prior to that. I'm plenty strong - just trying to get rid of the last ten (plenty of fat to burn off). I'm going to try it 2x/month - as a dedicated super-fat burning day. I'll see how my body handles it, and try it 1x/week from there

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Alright!!!! Just curious - do you ever do the walks in the fasted state?

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I have been doing 16 hour fasts daily for a bout a month now, so I've become quite accustomed to it. I also Crossfit in the fasted state fairly often. The idea is to burn fat, and my theory is that the last 6 hours of a 20 hour fast spent walking is a double-whammy of fat loss. But this is the first time I will be trying the 6 hour walks.

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6 Answers

4
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:56 AM

It's not a question of yes or no, me thinks. Fuel mix use is a continuous, not dichotomous variable.

Without doing any pubmed-ing, I'm going to guess that six hours worth of walking dips into gluconeogenesis for a few grams of amino acids from muscle. How many grams is "a few"? That is the question, I guess.

There are many variables at play. The degree to which you are keto-adapted, your bodyfat levels, the speed at which you were walking, etc etc.

Do note two opposite but important points: some indigenous tribes walk 6+ miles almost every day, and they don't become bean poles. But also-- for the modern dude/dudette who is trying to recompose their bodies, muscle gain is much slower than fat loss. That might just mean that walking for many hours many times a week could be counterproductive for certain goals, for certain people. How's that for an equivocal answer?

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 04:13 AM

I skip breakfast everyday - and practice 16 hour fasts. So, my body is somewhat used to it. As far as body composition - I'm 195 lbs with 15-20% bodyfat. Been crossfitting regularly for past few months (took a 6 month break) and was doing it for a year prior to that. I'm plenty strong - just trying to get rid of the last ten (plenty of fat to burn off). I'm going to try it 2x/month - as a dedicated super-fat burning day. I'll see how my body handles it, and try it 1x/week from there

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 18, 2012
at 06:06 AM

walking 6-12 miles a day is a lot different than fasting for 20hrs with 6hrs of walking unless you walk very slow although imo the walking is less important than the fasting since you can only eat so much in one sitting

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on June 18, 2012
at 09:19 AM

6 miles is not that much?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Got units and numbers mixed up. Poster considering a 6 hour walk, Hadza walk way more than 6 miles a day. Also, fixed the link. Like cliff says, 6 hours of walking in a row when you are fasted is a lot. I can only find articles on muscle breakdown during marathons at the moment though, not on walks.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 18, 2012
at 06:09 AM

and some indigenous tribes do look very lean

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:05 PM

I averaged 3 mph on my 4 hour fasted walk. (x6) = 18 miles walking.

3
A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

on June 18, 2012
at 02:31 AM

I've been doing this sort of thing for many months (lifting heavy 3x per week and walking 2-4+ hours on rest days). I have lost fat and gained muscle. I would say, based on my experience, that you are not in danger of losing muscle or over training.

Enjoy the 6 hour walk. What a great way to spend a day.

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Alright!!!! Just curious - do you ever do the walks in the fasted state?

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:31 AM

Kurp - I do walk in the fasted state frequently. Toward the end of a long walk I tend to feel pretty ready to eat something.

2
Medium avatar

(2338)

on June 18, 2012
at 01:40 AM

i doubt you would be breaking down any muscle. particularly if your body is used to using stored fat as a source of fuel. as for the overtraining, that's up to you to decide. are your workouts suffering because of the 6 hour walks? if so back off, if not have at it.

01109277e48838b58279b1719fc23e72

(75)

on June 18, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I have been doing 16 hour fasts daily for a bout a month now, so I've become quite accustomed to it. I also Crossfit in the fasted state fairly often. The idea is to burn fat, and my theory is that the last 6 hours of a 20 hour fast spent walking is a double-whammy of fat loss. But this is the first time I will be trying the 6 hour walks.

1
93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on June 18, 2012
at 07:31 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. It seems like you are eating a good amount before and after to repair muscle glycogen so it's fine. Plus H-G's were walking something like 20 miles a day with much less food and usually one meal late in the day, so I think our bodies can handle it. If you feel a gaping hole in your stomach while walking, then you know you are doing too much (this happens to me sometimes if I didn't eat enough carbs). As long as you don't feel hungry, enjoy your walks they are mentally and physically relieving.

0
3735c2c89285bafa33e3a066ab341d1c

on June 18, 2012
at 04:47 AM

Yeah do it! Perfect way to burn fat whil bulking just make sure to keep your low on your rest days. Either that or walk on empty stomach.

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:43 AM

In my experience; YES.

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