Essential Guide to Anabolic Fasting

Have you embarked on your fitness journey but are unsure of how to go about the diet portion of it?

Maybe it’s time you try anabolic fasting for it seems to be taking the world by storm!

What is anabolic fasting, you ask?

Well, it’s one of the most sought-after diets that claims to show positive results. It is essentially a method to ensure fat loss while you build muscle. It is a low-carb diet that follows a strict set of rules that we will go over in this article.

What is an Anabolic Fasting Diet?

Anabolism. Sounds familiar?

If yes, then you probably must’ve heard about it in one of your biology classes, along with the term catabolism.

Anabolism refers to muscle building or fueling your body, whereas catabolism refers to the process wherein the food is broken down and used as energy by the body [1].

Based on these terms, arise the terms anabolic and catabolic. These two terms are often used when we speak about fasting. The period during which we eat is known as the anabolic phase since we fuel our bodies; the catabolic phase is when we do not consume any food whatsoever; our body then uses the already stored energy to function.

Anabolic fasting revolves around anabolism, hence the name. It is essentially a low-carbohydrate diet based on alternating low-carb and high-carb days. It is also one of those diets that include certain principles from other diets, such as the keto diet.

Before entering the anabolic fasting zone, it is essential to get your body used to the reduced consumption of carbohydrates; and to do so, you eat as little or no carbohydrates at all for 12 days straight. After the 12 days are up, you consume as many carbohydrates as possible to reset your body and insulin levels, jumpstart your metabolism, and prepare it for the fat-burning process.

Once you’re done with these crucial steps, you can get into a regulated diet wherein you consume little to zero carbs for five days, followed by two high-carb diet days.

How does Anabolic Fasting Work?

Anabolic fasting has a no-carb and carb-heavy cycle because the idea behind this fast is to burn fat but also build muscle,

In other words, when practicing the anabolic fast, you ideally follow a cyclic ketogenic diet as well. 

The cyclic ketogenic diet focuses on low carb diets followed by a brief heavy carb diet to help restore the glycogen stores.

This diet is a tri-phasic diet that consists of a;

  • Maintaining phase
  • Bulking phase and a 
  • Cutting phase

These phases were introduced to help enhance and prioritize muscle building. He believes that this diet is the one-stop answer for low-fat levels and improved muscle presence.

The maintaining phase is essential just for your body to get accustomed to the macronutrient manipulation that it will undergo. This phase lasts for up to 4 weeks, and the recommended calorie intake level is around 18 times your body weight in pounds.

The bulking phase is when you load your body with carbs to achieve the desired bulk weight. Unlike the maintaining phase, the bulk phase does not have any said period; however, it is suggested to stay on it until the desired bulk is achieved. The ideal bulk weight would be to add 15% to your ideal body weight.

The cutting phase is when you cut down on your carbs and focus on your desired weight loss. Your ideal body fat percentage should reach less than 10%; stick to this phase until you achieve this goal.

During all these phases, your diet is split into two timeframes or cycles; 

  • Low carb weekdays
  • High carb weekends

On your low-carb weekdays, you focus more on increasing your energy intake from fat and protein sources. Your high carb weekends help replenish muscle glycogen and derive most of your energy by breaking down carbs.

You burn off most of your fat during the weekdays and work on your gains on the weekends through this cycle.

The Big Three macros and your weekly consumption for Anabolic Fasting

The stomach digests the consumed food in three parts – Carbs, proteins, and fats.


The first macronutrient to be digested. It gets converted to glucose and used for energy. Excess glucose and carbs are stored in the liver and get converted to fat.


They are amino acids that are a bit difficult for the stomach to digest. Adequate physical activity coupled with micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) from fruits and vegetables makes protein digestion easier.

Our muscles receive sufficient protein. Excess protein is stored in the liver for future use. If those proteins prove unnecessary for future use, it gets converted into fat.


The stomach digests fats only at the end of the digestion process. It breaks the fats into short and long-chain fatty acids. 

The first digested fatty acids are short-chains. Long-chain fatty acids are digested after a long interval.

Sources of long-chain fatty acids include fried foods. It is hard to break them into short-chain fatty acids and convert them to energy. 

Anabolic fasting works well when you consume saturated fats. It converts the excess fats into energy and uses them during the weekday when you deprive your body of carbs.

This process is also known as metabolic switching. In this process, stored fat is used for energy instead of consumed foods. It forces the liver to burn these fats [2].

Keeping this in mind, your food choices for the week should include,

  • Fatty cuts of animal proteins
  • Nuts and nut spreads
  • Fibrous and green vegetables
  • Oils like canola, peanut, flax, olive, and coconut varieties
  • Whole eggs
  • Full-fat dairy products like cheese, cream, butter, etc.

Ensure to limit your carb intake to a maximum of 5-10% of your tidal calorie intake during the week.

Although your weekdays will limit your consumption of starchy carbs and grains, you will have the freedom to indulge in this macro during the weekends.

Your ideal weekend should consist of,

  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Pasta
  • Beets
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, etc.

Anabolic Fasting Meal Plan and Portion Size

Weekday Plan

In a day you should try and consume,

  • 2300-2800 calories
  • 60-65% of fats
  • 30-35% of protein
  • 5-10% of carbohydrates

Meal 1 (Breakfast)

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Sausages
  • Cheese
  • Peanut Butter

Meal 2 (Snack)

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Almond Butter
  • Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tbsp Oil

Meal 3 (Lunch)

  • Chicken Breast
  • Hard-boiled Egg
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar

Meal 4 (Snack)

  • Red Meat, preferably ground beef
  • Cheese
  • Sausages
  • Peanut Butter

Meal 5 (Dinner)

  • Chicken Breast
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar

Weekend Plan

In a day you should consume,

  • No said limit to your calorie intake
  • 15% Protein
  • 25% Fat
  • 60% Carbohydrates

Meal 1 (Breakfast)

  • Pancakes
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Egg White

Meal 2 (Lunch)

  • Pasta with a sauce of your choice, preferably tomato sauce
  • Chicken Breast
  • Garlic Bread

Meal 3 (Snack)

  • Bagel, or any bread
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Turkey breast

Meal 4 (Snack)

  • Sweet Potato
  • Extra-lean ground beef hamburger

Meal 5 (Dinner)

  • Shrimp Tacos
  • Rice
  • Beans

Regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend, your pre and post-workout remain the same.

Pre and Post-workout:

  • 1.5 scoop of whey protein before a workout
  • 2 scoop of whey after workout

Pros and Cons of Anabolic Fasting


One of the significant pros of following this diet is the freedom you get while planning your meals. As long as you stick to a low-carb diet for five days of the week, you are good to explore your palette as much as possible. This diet can be fun and adventurous but also help you reach your goals.

Weekends are when you get together with friends and family and find the time to relax. This is also when you might feel like indulging in some delicious food, and what is more delicious than a carb-filled diet?!

Anabolic fasting is great because you get to do and eat everything you usually would on the weekend. No restrictions whatsoever!

This diet is excellent and one of the best to increase muscle mass without consuming any artificial additives or supplements. It also helps increase the production of insulin, your growth hormone, and testosterone in your body; this further helps in increasing your endurance and strength.


One of the major cons of following this diet is the side effects of depriving your body of carbohydrates during the initial stages. The lack of carbohydrates could cause fatigue, restlessness, lack of energy, and headaches [3].

It is very common to overdo something you have been restricted from doing for a long time; the same goes for what might occur during the weekends. Because your body would be so deprived of carbs throughout the week, you might tend to over-consume them during the weekends. This can leave you feeling uneasy and sick. 

This diet can not, and more importantly, should not be followed for long periods. This is a diet suitable only for weightlifters and bodybuilders. 

Low carb diets such as Anabolic fasting can be harmful to your liver and kidney; the fat substitute can negatively affect your digestive tract and heart.

The lack of fiber and micronutrients primarily obtained from vegetables, fruits, and legumes can have harmful effects on your body.

The imbalance will result in a lack of antioxidants required to combat oxidative stress that might be caused by exercise in the body. The lack of fiber can lead to constipation or an overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria.

Is Anabolic Fasting for everyone?


This form of extreme dieting is not ideal for everyone. 

If you happen to be a heart, kidney, or liver patient, you should avoid this diet. 

Anabolic fasting can also affect your blood sugar levels and insulin production; therefore, a person with diabetes should also avoid this diet.

It goes unsaid that if you are pregnant or lactating, this diet might not be suitable for you.

Regardless of whether you fall into the majority that can follow this diet or not, it is essential to always consult a nutritionist before making such drastic lifestyle changes.

Wrapping Up

Anabolic Fasting; is this a new diet that has been incorporated into the weight loss journey game? 

No, not exactly!

This diet has been around for a while and has ever since been gaining popularity due to the drastic results it can provide.

Ideal for people who spend most of their time at the gym or trying to attain a particular physique, this diet can help you reach your goals.

Like every diet and every workout regimen, this one too comes with a set of limitations; however, if you follow this stringently and with regular consultations with your nutritionist and your trainer, you will definitely enjoy the positive results that come with anabolic fasting.

Has anabolic fasting caught your eye?

Let us know in the comments below if this is something you would be willing to try!


Q: As a vegan, can I still follow anabolic fasting?

A: Yes!

There are no restrictions or limitations that stop you from getting on this diet. However, you might have to consider plant-based protein sources. The macronutrients in moong dal and macronutrients in paneer can be an alternative to reach your daily requirement during the low-carb days.

You can also consider taking protein supplements. 

Q: What supplements can I take on this diet?

A: As a vegan or vegetarian, you might have to take some supplements to fill in your requirements during your low-carb weekdays. However, do keep in mind to avoid mass-gainers and high-carb supplements during the weekdays.

Q: Why should we stick to the maintaining phase of the diet for around 4 months?

A: Our bodies are used to consuming every nutrient in a certain fashion and quantity; when it is suddenly deprived of anyone, it takes a while to adjust to the sudden change. You might even experience specific side effects of your body trying to adjust to this change. However, it is crucial to stick with it and stay disciplined if you intend on gaining good muscle composition.

Q: Can I get on this diet if I have a history of medical issues?

A: Regardless of whether you have a history of medical illnesses or not, it is always best to consult a doctor and a nutritionist before getting on this diet. 


  1. “Metabolism.” Better Health Channel. (2020)
  2. Anton, Stephen D et al. “Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying the Health Benefits of Fasting.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) vol. 26,2 (2018): 254-268.
  3.  “Weight loss and carbohydrates.” Better Health Channel. (2020)


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