Intermittent fasting is a standard diet routine people use to achieve weight loss goals. The simplicity of omitting food for pockets of time throughout the day makes it easy, but a good eating pattern is only part of the key to reaching your wellness goals.
It is essential to integrate your fasting plan with regular exercise, but it can be challenging, and is it a good idea to combine the two? It is hard to know if you should work out while fasting, as you need more sustenance to ensure you’re doing it properly and healthily.
Let’s look at the science behind working out and fasting.
How does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The meal plan surrounding intermittent fasting involves a diet where you omit eating for a period. The variations can change, and there are a few different (but common) methods:
5:2 – People fast for two days out of the week or eat a restricted calorie diet of around 500 calories on those two days and then eat on a regular schedule for five days.
16:8 – the most common type of fasting, where people eat their meals during an eight-hour window every day, with sixteen hours of fasting.
Alternate-day fasting is where you fast every other day.
Having a fasting tracker helps ensure you keep to your specified method. Zero’s free tracker app for monitoring your fast is an excellent way to keep you on schedule.
There aren’t any special foods or food groups to follow for your meal plan. Eating to lose weight involves choosing healthy foods and paying attention to calorie intake. Sometimes with an intermittent fasting plan, it can be easier to overeat during the non-fasting time.
Can you Work Out While Fasting?
Your body still needs fuel for exercise, so if you plan to work out, you should look into how you feel while fasting before incorporating the workouts. Speaking to your doctor regarding your overall health condition, fitness level, eating habits, and age can be most helpful.
Intermittent fasting and workouts together can help increase your overall fat loss, but it depends on your priority, including your activities. You need to ensure you are still getting enough food. Muscle mass breaks down when it doesn’t get enough from your diet. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of incorporating workouts with intermittent fasting to reach your body goals:
Pros to working out while intermittent fasting:
- Losing weight: During fasting, your body uses glycogen stores for energy, then moves onto body fat so that you can reach your weight loss goals quicker.
- Boosts the autophagy process: the process where your body rids itself of damaged cells and creates newer, healthy ones are increased.
- Anti-aging effects: Combining intermittent fasting and exercise has a science-based change in your metabolism, which helps slow down the process of aging and lowers the risks of diseases.
Cons of working out while intermittent fasting:
- Muscle building: you’ll lose fat, but you can also lose muscle if you intermittently fast and work out in tandem. You’ll need to minimize muscle loss by adjusting your periods of fasting and paying close attention to your diet.
- Blood sugar levels – your blood sugar levels are reduced when intermittent fasting, which can be further exacerbated when you work out, making you feel more lightheaded and possibly causing fainting.
Tips for Working Out While Fasting
The key to incorporating exercise while you fast means staying healthy during the process as you work to reach your optimum health. Listen to your body and pay attention to what it tells you because if you feel your performance is slipping or you’re not feeling well, you may have to adjust your eating or exercise regime.
Staying hydrated is essential, even while you’re fasting. It will be far easier to replace the fluids that your body loses while working out if you keep yourself well-hydrated. Drink more water during your fasting days or periods or other electrolyte-rich fluids. Pay attention to the ingredients; if they contain sugar, you’ll want to avoid them during your fasting period.
Watch your diet, and consider tracking your macronutrients. Macronutrients include how many carbohydrates, fats, and proteins your body needs. For example, your body will need more carbs and proteins if you do strength training or weight lifting.
Consider incorporating low-intensity workouts, especially if you are just beginning with exercise. It helps with your energy levels and lets you get your body used to it.
There is no danger to working out while intermittent fasting, but the key is to ensure you’re doing it correctly and that you don’t deny your body what it needs. People tend to eat less while following an intermittent fasting diet, so the foods you eat when you aren’t fasting must be nutritious. It’s most beneficial to consult your doctor or a dietitian to ensure you take the proper steps while fasting and working out.
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