The effects of intermittent fasting combined with resistance training on lean body mass: a systematic review of human studies Academic Article uri icon


  • Diets utilising intermittent fasting (IF) as a strategic method to manipulate body composition have recently grown in popularity, however, dietary practices involving fasting have also been followed for centuries for religious reasons (i.e., Ramadan). Regardless of the reasons for engaging in IF, the impacts on lean body mass (LBM) may be detrimental. Previous research has demonstrated that resistance training promotes LBM accrual, however, whether this still occurs during IF is unclear. Therefore, the objective of this review is to systematically analyse human studies investigating the effects of variations of IF combined with resistance training on changes in LBM in previously sedentary or trained (non-elite) individuals. Changes in body weight and fat mass, and protocol adherence were assessed as a secondary objective. This review followed the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PubMed and SportDiscus databases were searched for articles investigating IF, combined with resistance training that reported measures of body composition. Eight studies met the eligibility criteria. LBM was generally maintained, while one study reported a significant increase in LBM. Body fat mass or percentage was significantly reduced in five of eight studies. Results suggest that IF paired with resistance training generally maintains LBM, and can also promote fat loss. Future research should examine longer-term effects of various forms of IF combined with resistance training compared to traditional forms of energy restriction. Prospero registration CRD42018103867.

publication date

  • 2020