Our bodies process nutrients into energy very differently, depending on how long it has been since we have eaten.

In a sense, you are always either eating, or you’re not.

Well, technically, you’ve either recently eaten, you’re pretty hungry, you’re dissolving, or you’re starving.

OK, so those aren’t technical terms, but they describe the four stages of the Fed-Fast Cycle. These stages are:

  • The Fed State (up to 3 hrs after eating)

In the Fed State, your body uses glucose from food for energy. Hypertrophy (Muscle Building) occurs best during this efficient body mode, which is one of the reasons we advocate eating every 3 hours.
  • The Postabsorptive State (from 3 – 12 hrs after eating)

In this stage, your body turns glycogen from your muscles and liver into glucose and uses that for energy. Not the worst thing in the world, but when you start to run out of glycogen reserves you can experience hypoglycemia, better known as “low blood sugar.”
  • The Fasting State (12 hrs to 2 days)

Your body breaks down the amino acids in your muscles (this is bad!) and uses them to make glucose (energy)
  • The Starvation State (after 2 days with no food)

Your body uses fat for energy, and your brain uses ketones to function (also known as ketosis). Don’t try this at home! Running your body in starvation mode may achieve dramatic results, but should only be attempted when working with a professional.


At HercuLean Meal Prep, we believe that for consistent results, the best approach is to stay in the Fed Cycle as much as possible. This makes it easier to build muscle, while forcing your body to burn calories through diet-induced thermogenesis. 

Imagine what your physique can look like when you have kept it in the Fed state with proper macros, healthy sodium levels and no refined sugar or processed foods for years at a time.

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