The Intermittent Fasting Workout: Benefits Of Exercising In A Fasted State
If you’re an intermittent fasting (IF) pro, or fasting for the first time, you may be wondering how this lifestyle will mesh with your workouts.
Or if it’s safe to work out at all while fasting.
The great news is that, yes, you can continue your fitness regimen.
As it turns out, training while intermittent fasting has some pretty impressive health benefits which I know you’re going to love.
The Benefits Of Exercising While Fasting
Did you know that exercise and fasting combine to cause oxidative stress on your muscles? It may sound bad, but in this case it’s actually beneficial.
Fitness expert Ori Hofmekler explains acute states of oxidative stress are:
” … essential for keeping your muscle machinery tuned. Technically, acute oxidative stress makes your muscle increasingly resilient to oxidative stress; it stimulates glutathione and SOD [superoxide dismutase, the first antioxidant mobilized by your cells for defense] production in your mitochondria along with increased muscular capacity to utilize energy, generate force and resist fatigue.
Hence, exercise and fasting help counteract all the main determinants of muscle aging. But there is something else about exercise and fasting. When combined, they trigger a mechanism that recycles and rejuvenates your brain and muscle tissues.”
Exercising in a fasted state can help you:
- burn fat (1)
- lose weight
- improve body composition (2)
- boost cognitive function (3)
- increase growth hormone (4)
All great reasons to work out before breakfast!
What Kind Of Workout Should I Do While Fasting?
Technically, you can simply fast and reap the benefits. But many people want to work out and further maximize their results.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to involve going to the gym everyday for an hour, unless you want it to.
The great thing is, this is highly individualized. You can find what works best for you and what activities you enjoy most and do that. Depending on your commitment level and your current personal fitness, your workouts can be tailored to your goals and abilities.
Because intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, you’ll likely find different workouts and schedules that best suit your goals and needs over time. Here are some examples of workout options you might choose while intermittent fasting:
- Many beginners starting out with IM enjoy taking a gentle walk 2 or 3 days a week for 20 minutes.
- If you’re looking for full-body training, you might want to check out 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout or The Health Benefits Of Rebounding On A Mini Trampoline for kettlebell and rebounding workouts, which are both fun and invigorating.
- Many people who love the IM lifestyle find that short, quick bursts of exercise followed by brief recovery periods, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective.
- Looking for muscle gains and definition? Strength training may be what you’re looking for.
- Swimming, hiking, yoga, rollerblading, skiing, jogging, dancing, Pilates, team sports, etc. Any activity that gets you moving it great!
So now that you have some ideas for how to train while fasting, I want to share some important tips to help you get the most out of your workouts, as well as some special considerations to be aware of.
Tips For An Intermittent Fasting Workout
- An easy way to get the fat-burning effects of working out in the fasted state is by exercising first thing in the morning before you eat your first meal of the day. This works great with the 16/8 (or other) IF plan and allows your body to tap into its fat stores.
- If you’re planning on doing heavy lifting, or other strenuous activity, make sure to eat a protein-rich meal within 30 minutes after your workout. Whey protein is especially beneficial and makes for a quick meal on the go. This is our favorite whey protein. It has 30 grams of whey protein per serving, is gluten-free and has no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.
- Listen to your body. Be mindful of individual factors such as medical history, whether you’re taking prescriptions, age, and physical fitness level. If you need/want to drink a whey protein shake before your workout, do it. If you feel light-headed, your ears are ringing, or you feel like you’re going to pass out during a workout, don’t “tough it out”. Use common sense and pay attention to warning signs like these. Plus, here’s something to consider: A study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise journal revealed that consuming 20 grams of whey protein 30 minutes before a resistance training session boosted metabolism for up to 24 hours after the workout. (5)
To sum up, working out and intermittent fasting can be done together, with many health benefits. These impressive benefits include fat burning, weight loss, improved cognitive and hormone function and improved body composition.
There are a variety of workouts you can do while enjoying the IF lifestyle. Keep in mind if you’re doing heavy lifting or other strenuous workouts, you should eat a high-protein meal, such as a whey protein shake, after your training session. Everyone is unique and requires a specialized fitness regimen. Always listen to your body and use common sense when working out and fasting.