Intermittent Fasting and Working Out
If you want to get in shape and reduce weight, you’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting and exercise. But what are the advantages of combining these two approaches? And can they assist you in achieving your objectives?
Intermittent fasting is a common dieting technique that includes alternating between eating and fasting times. People usually fast for sixteen hours and eat for eight hours. However, there are other approaches to intermittent fasting, and you may adjust it to your own requirements and timetable.
There are many reasons why intermittent fasting may be beneficial for weight reduction and fitness. For starters, it may aid in calorie reduction. This makes sense since when you don’t eat for a significant portion of the day, you naturally consume fewer calories. Second, intermittent fasting may boost metabolic rate and fat burning (1).
Working out is vital for maintaining your body’s fitness and well-being. It not only improves your cardiovascular health (2), but it also strengthens your muscles and burns calories (3). Working exercise may also assist in relieving stress and enhancing your mood (4). If you want to reduce weight, regular exercise is one of the most efficient ways to do it. By burning more calories than you consume, you will generate a calorie deficit, which will aid in weight loss over time. As you can see, it’s one of the finest things you can do for both your body and mind.
There are a few things to consider if you want to combine intermittent fasting with exercise. First, make sure you’re drinking enough water. Your body will need extra water to operate effectively when fasting. This is because food accounts for around 20% of our water consumption (5). Water also gives you a feeling of fullness in your stomach, which keeps hunger at bay until your next meal. When working out, you should also consume lots of water. This is due to the fact that you lose water when you sweat and when you breathe quicker and harder. Drinking enough of water also aids in the efficiency and effectiveness of your workouts (6).
If you fast for twenty-four hours at a stretch or consume just one meal each day, you are almost certainly reducing calories. While this may be successful for weight reduction, consuming too few calories might decrease bone strength and density (7). To give the calcium and vitamin D that your bones need, consume lots of dairy products, leafy greens, and tiny fatty fish (8). This is also a good reason to incorporate exercises during intermittent fasting since regular exercise has been shown to maintain bones strong and healthy, lowering the chance of breaks and fractures (9).
What you consume during an intermittent fast is critical, particularly if you want to reduce weight and exercise regularly. You must properly nourish your body while avoiding foods that induce weight gain. Carbohydrates are required to offer glucose, which will provide you with lots of energy for your exercise (10). Whole grains, legumes, fruit, and vegetables are the greatest carbohydrate foods to consume. Protein is required to maintain your muscles in excellent repair. This category includes lean meat, fish, and eggs. If you are a vegetarian, you can receive protein from pulses, lentils, and certain vegetables (11). Consume lots of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, pears, and olive oil. Finally, attempt to limit your intake of sweet and savory snacks, as well as processed meals.
You’ve undoubtedly heard contradictory advice about whether to exercise on an empty stomach or after eating. So, what’s the final word? It turns out that both techniques have advantages. Working out on an empty stomach may help you burn fat by forcing your body to depend on stored energy sources (12).
However, keep in mind that exercising out on an empty stomach might be harmful to your health. In the absence of food, your body may begin to break down muscle tissue for energy, resulting in weariness and an increased risk of injury. Low blood sugar levels may also cause lightheadedness and dizziness (13). As a result, working out after a small supper may be preferable.
Finally, the optimal strategy for you will be determined by the style of training you enjoy and your personal objectives. Working out on an empty stomach may be beneficial for weight loss, but these exercises should be shorter. A brisk stroll, yoga, or brief bursts of high-intensity exercise are ideal.
Weight training may be done on an empty stomach as part of your routine. However, since your muscles will already be depleted of glycogen, weight training might put additional strain on them. As a result, it is critical to have a meal shortly thereafter to minimize harm. That breakfast should include carbs to restore glycogen reserves as well as protein to repair and develop muscles (14). In retrospect, if you are doing weights to gain muscle rather than lose weight, intermittent fasting is not advised since it might harm your muscles and diminish endurance and performance (15).
If you want to exercise on an empty stomach, the optimum time is just after you wake up. This is a wonderful time to work out since you haven’t eaten in many hours and hence have no food to utilize for energy. This indicates that your body will use fat storage for energy. Furthermore, stepping outdoors to exercise and being exposed to natural light is advantageous to the sleep-wake cycle. This is due to the increased release of the feel-good hormone serotonin. This not only enhances your mood but also plays a role in the circadian rhythm, which improves all aspects of sleep (16). Exercise may also help us feel happy by releasing endorphins (17). As a result, you’ll experience a double dose of enjoyment as well as a significant boost to your overall well-being.
Overweight people have lower levels of human growth hormone. However, when this hormone is elevated, it may aid in weight loss (18). It does this by inducing a cascade of processes in the body that ends in fat breakdown (19). This is where exercise, in conjunction with intermittent fasting, might be useful. Fasting, like exercise, may cause the release of human growth hormone (20). (21). In fact, high-intensity exercise, particularly sprint training, has been shown to increase human growth hormone levels more than any other sort of activity (22).
There is a worry that exercising while fasting promotes muscle loss since the body breaks down the muscle due to a lack of food for energy. This seems to apply solely to fasting for days on end, which is not what intermittent fasting entails. Even yet, after a few days, if there is a fat reserve available, the body learns to break it down and burns fat for energy rather than muscle (23). This is due to the high biological cost of utilizing protein as fuel. To put it another way, it takes a lot of energy to generate energy (24).
Intermittent fasting and exercise may be helpful solutions if you want to enhance your fitness and reduce weight. To fuel your exercises and safeguard your muscles, just drink lots of water and eat a well-balanced diet. Above all, pay attention to your body to prevent overdoing it.
- Comparison of High-Protein, Intermittent Fasting Low-Calorie Diet and Heart Healthy Diet for Vascular Health of the Obese https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5002412/
- Effects of Exercise to Improve Cardiovascular Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557987
- Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508
- Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
- How Much Water Do You Need https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need
- Keeping hydrated for exercise https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/exercise-fitness/hydration-exercise
- The effects of calorie restriction, intermittent fasting and vegetarian diets on bone health https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30903600/
- Food for healthy bones https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/bone-health/food-for-strong-bones/
- Exercise and Bone Health https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/exercise-and-bone-health/
- Carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism in muscle and in the whole body after mixed meal ingestion https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3374320/
- Legumes and Pulses https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/legumes-pulses/
- More than a store: regulatory roles for glycogen in skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00004.2012
- Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia
- Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/
- What to Know About Intermittent Fasting and Your Workouts https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a30300614/intermittent-fasting-working-out/
- Serotonin and circadian rhythms https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2011-17720-011.html
- From less stress to a boost in self-esteem, exercise is as great for your brain as it is for your body https://www.waldenu.edu/online-bachelors-programs/bs-in-psychology/resource/five-mental-benefits-of-exercise
- Growth Hormone and Obesity https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32418587/
- Low-dose growth hormone treatment with diet restriction accelerates body fat loss, exerts anabolic effect and improves growth hormone secretory dysfunction in obese adults https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10352397
- Fasting Enhances Growth Hormone Secretion and Amplifies the Complex Rhythms of Growth Hormone Secretion in Man https://dm5migu4zj3pb.cloudfront.net/manuscripts/113000/113450/JCI88113450.pdf
- Growth hormone, arginine and exercise https://paulogentil.com/pdf/Growth%20hormone%2C%20arginine%20and%20exercise.pdf
- The effect of a brief sprint interval exercise on growth factors and inflammatory mediators https://escholarship.org/content/qt8x86w742/qt8x86w742.pdf
- Hungry for your alanine: when liver depends on muscle proteolysis https://www.jci.org/articles/view/131931#SEC1
- Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/3/519/4597025