So I walked into class today (all sweated out because I had biked there and we know even the slightest elevation in my heart rate causes me to soak my shirt) and a gaggle of petite twentysomething girls near my desk were all talking about their experiences with the Master Cleanse, the lemonade-cayenne-maple syrup fast. One of them was on it right now, and she mentioned that she'd had a hard time picking up her heavy book bag that morning, depleted as she was. I have to say it was pretty surreal to hear that discussion in a class devoted to the politics and sociology of food inequality.
I know people who have seen significant gains in health from doing the occasional Master Cleanse (hi, Doug). But for me, and again, everyone is different, I fear that fasting would be counter to my goals of building muscle. If my classmate was too weak to pick up her book bag, how would I be able to manage a set of six or eight 60-pound clean-and-presses?
Still, the jury is out on fasting. For some it does really make a difference. They lose weight and feel awesome. And in the course of researching this post, I found plenty of bodybuilding sites the actually recommend fasting (!) so maybe it doesn't erode as much muscle as you'd think.
Maybe we should all let David Rakoff be our guide (his story begins at 22 minutes in).