Intermittent Fasting & Working Out: A Quick Guide
Intermittent fasting has become very popular in recent years...
And for good reason:
By restricting your eating times to certain windows of the day or week... it's one of the best ways to lose weight and improve your health. 💪
But if you are trying it for the first time... it's normal to be concerned about how it will affect your lifestyle.
Whether you're intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, you have an existing health condition, or something else...
It's important to consider a few things before starting your own personal journey.
Today, we'll focus on how to integrate intermittent fasting (I.F.) into your workout routine.
This is one of the most common questions people have...
After all, our energy comes from food.
So, is exercising safe to do while doing I.F.? When should you eat? What are the best workouts to do?
We'll cover everything below 👇
Is It Safe To Exercise and Fast At The Same Time?
Everyone's health situation is different... so talking to a doctor before changing your health routine is essential...
For example, it's usually advised that people who are underweight or have a history of eating disorders should avoid I.F....
But in general: Yes, it is safe to work out while fasting if done carefully.
I.F. is often a "go to" strategy to get fit & lose weight.
In fact, one study showed fasting it could help increase metabolic rate by up to 14% — allowing people to burn more calories.
And since exercise helps us drop pounds, too...
Many people want to combine the two.
But some research suggests that there is conflicting evidence about fasting's effect on athletic performance...
And that people should "play it safe" by training at relatively low intensity-levels.
Others, like Dr. Eric Berg, say that the intensity of your workouts depends on how well you recover... and that you can slowly build up to more rigorous training.
It's also important not to overtrain so that you avoid inflammation, maintain good sleep quality, and allow yourself time to recover.
Ultimately, it's good to listen to your body and make a plan that works for you.
Intermittent Fasting Workout Schedule: When Should You Exercise During Your Cycle?
Many people believe you can't work out on an empty stomach...
But that's simply not true.
Our body has natural energy reserves...
And especially when it comes to consuming a lot of carbs (or "carbo-loading")... eating before activity could deplete your growth hormones, lessen your ability to burn fat, and more.
With that said, Dr. Berg provides a few good options when scheduling your meals and workouts...
Assuming you're eating at least 2 meals a day, you can workout:
Right before your first meal
In between your first & final meal
Or right after your last meal
If your main goal is fat loss, you may want to exercise after your last meal... because some data shows that sleeping soon after exercise could help accelerate the process slightly.
But again, it comes down to what works best for you — both for your routine and your health.
Take stock of how you're doing and only push yourself when it feels right.
Best Workouts While Intermittent Fasting?
Both fasting and exercise increase growth hormones...
So, when done in the right way, this can be a powerful combo.
Here are a few types of training you can try to do while doing I.F.:
It might sound simple...
But walking is one of the most commonly recommended workouts to combine with fasting.
This is because it’s a relatively easy, gentle way to get your body moving when beginning your new routine.
Also, if you're energy levels are low, it doesn't take much thought and can be done anywhere, any time.
2. Interval Training
Interval training involves alternating between bouts of higher-level activity with lower-level movement (or complete rest).
The high-level portions usually last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on your fitness level...
And the low-level periods are for resting, while still getting your heart rate up.
Examples: Switching between running and walking for 1 minute each... or going up and down stairs.
3. Weight Training
Since growth hormone activity increases dramatically with this combo...
Weight training could be a great option for those looking to build muscle mass.
It also assists in burning fat because the body is still working long after you've left the gym in order to recover.
Weight training can involve using machines... free-weights like the ones used in Crossfit... or your own body weight (pushups, pull-ups, etc.).
However, it’s important to remember that these can be advanced exercises.
If you’re new to exercising or haven’t worked out in years... it might be best to start with a personal trainer who knows you're fasting & can show you the proper techniques to help you build your way up.
Doing so will help you avoid injury & get more out of your time in the gym.
4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
As you might expect, HIIT is the more intense version of interval training.
It’s great for those who are looking to burn fat and build muscle mass.
It involves a series of short bursts of strenuous exercise — like weight lifting, sprinting, jumping, etc. — followed by periods of rest.
HIIT workouts typically last 20-30 minutes in total...
And can be done 3-5 times per week.
When doing harder workouts while fasting, it’s especially important to stay hydrated.
I.F. and working out can be an effective "one/two punch" when it comes to reducing & burning calories.
Whether you want trim your waistline, build muscle, get more energy, or simply feel better...
Adding these 2 tools to your routine could help you hit your health goals faster.