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Can You Exercise While Intermittent Fasting

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What Should I Drink Before Fasting And Working Out

Exercise while Fasting – How to time your workouts with fasting

A fasted workout should mean you are going to be doing it first thing in the morning or after not eating anything for at least 12 hours before your workout. So, as long as you have gone a full 12 hours without eating or drinking any calories, you can drink water and black coffee .

Coffee is a diuretic, which means it will make you pee more than water would, but that doesnt necessarily mean you are getting rid of more electrolytes or hydration. On top of that, coffee contains caffeine, so if weight loss is your goal you may want to opt for water instead.

Related Post:What Supplements Should I Take When Working Out?

First Things First What Actually Is Intermittent Fasting

There are three main approaches I encourage people to try at The Fast 800, and they complement each other, so they can be utilised separately or together depending on your lifestyle:

  • A 5:2 approach where you restrict your calorie intake to 800 kcal for two days a week and eat a healthy diet for the other five days.
  • Time-Restricted Eating encourages you to extend your normal nighttime fast by eating an early dinner, or skipping breakfast, to condense your eating period into an 8-10 hour eating window each day.
  • Consuming 800 kcal daily for up to 12 weeks.

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Will Exercising While Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose More Weight

Weight loss is the main reason most people try IF, and you might think that adding daily workouts could help you lose weight faster. This type of thinking can backfire, though.

Extra workouts increase your hunger overall, which can make fasting feel harder. Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit and pretty much any type of diet will do that if you stick to it, Poyourow explains. You can definitely overeat during your eating window and gain weight, even if youre working out.

For Even More On Fasting…

I can tell you from first hand experience its plenty easy to eat all my daily calories in just a couple of meals. This isnt a problem for me as weight loss is not my goal Im already at a healthy weight.

But if weight loss is your goal, youll still need to track what you eat and use portion control, he says. In addition, you might want to rethink the number and intensity of your workouts. Even with IF, you should aim for slow and steady weight loss for it to be sustainable, he says.

Recommended Reading: Can You Get Into Ketosis By Fasting

How Can Intermittent Fasting Get You Better Results

IF makes losing fat extremely simple and enjoyable.

But IF can also improve your workout progress in some other interesting ways.

  • For example, when youre new to intermittent fasting , you can sometimes experience a dramatic recomposition effect.
  • Though you may be eating fewer calories overall, and in fact you may be in a calorie deficit for weight loss, because of the timing of your meals you actually have more calories available for your muscle recovery then you would on a standard diet of the same calories.
  • Intermittent Fasting on a bulk may help you gain less fat and stay leaner than bulking on a traditional diet
  • When youre deep into your fast, your body burns fat for energy and tries its damndest to preserve muscle. With proper training and nutrition, you should be able to lean bulk very effectively using IF.
  • Intermittent Fasting isnt quite a magical cheat code: The most important thing in your progress is still training and overall calorie and macro consumption.

    But IF definitely has some cool benefits that make it worth trying!

    Now lets take a look at the 6 best intermittent fasting workout routines!

    When Fasters Can Do Higher

    Success With Exercise During Intermittent Fasting

    If youre determined to practice intermittent fasting and still log high-intensity workouts, the time to do it is right smack-dab in the middle of a feeding period.

    This is the most optimal time for performance and recovery, says Martin. It allows you to hit the gym with fuel in the tank and properly replenish those glycogen stores and support your muscles with protein after.

    Unfortunately, that may not be possible for folks who need to exercise either before or after work. If youre in that boat, youre best off training at the end of a fasting period, which for most people will be in the morning, says trainer and nutritionist Jose Vallejo, R.D., C.P.T. This allows you to eat a protein-rich breakfastideally within 30 minutes of leaving the gymto support muscle recovery, he says.

    Recommended Reading: How Should I Start Intermittent Fasting

    Benefits Of Working Out While Fasting

    Some athletes swear by intermittent fasting as a way to improve their athletic performance. However, there is mixed research on the subject. Some evidence suggests that if you don’t consume enough carbohydrates, the duration and intensity of your training will suffer. Meanwhile, other research suggests that intermittent fasting offers benefits for athletes.

    What Not Exercising While Fasting Does To Your Fitness

  • It tells your body youre too weak to handle a fast. In previous incarnations of the human, fasting preceded food procurement. You didnt stroll over to the fridge for a meal. You worked for it. You hunted for it. You exerted yourself to fill that empty belly. Simply lying around during a fast meant youd die. Dont tell yourself youre too weak to handle the fast.
  • It tells your body you dont need all that muscle tissue. If you dont use your muscles during a fast, your body will consider them fair game. Those muscles can provide a big dose of amino acids that convert into glucose, and if youre not using them, youll lose them to make glucose. This bozo obviously doesnt need those biceps, lets dig in!
  • Indeed, one of the reasons most people lose muscle when reducing calories and losing weight is that they fail to lift weights. Another big reason is they fail to eat enough protein, of course, but simply by lifting weights during calorie deficits, we can retain muscle mass. Since a fast is by definition an extreme reduction in calories, exercise becomes all the more important.

    Okay, so exercising during a fast is a Good Move. How should you exercise?

    The short story is that for short fasts , you should exercise the way you normally do.

    For extended fasts, from 48 hours to a week or more, you should still exercise, but a little differently than normal.

    Lets get into it:

    Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight During Fasting

    Is It Safe To Work Out While Fasting

    First note that there are many different methods for IF, including the 5:2 program, which involves restricting your calorie consumption to 25% of your calorie needs two days a week and eating normally the rest of the days. On the 16:8 diet, you eat during an eight-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. While you’re fasting, you can drink water, black coffee, and tea, but everything else is off limits.

    More From Prevention

    “It is safe to follow IF and be physically active, but some things are more important to be aware of, especially at the beginning when you are becoming keto adaptivemeaning your body is learning how to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs,” says Wendy Scinta, M.D., president of the Obesity Medicine Association and member of Prevention’s medical review board. “Hypoglycemia initially can lead to increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea, and poor athletic performance, but this improves as your body learns how to run on ketones instead of glucose,” she says.

    The Best Low-Impact Workouts For Your Fast

    “Some people don’t do well when they eat and work out, but it’s important to have energy,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., creator of, and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table. “If you’re on the 5:2 program, you’re consuming only 25% of your calorie needs two days a week, so I would reserve exercise for the other days of the week when you’re eating normally,” she advises.

    What If I’m Trying : 2 Or Alternate

    4 Hacks for Maximizing Muscle Growth While Intermittent Fasting | Jim Stoppani

    If your fasting plan involves extreme caloric restriction on certain days, Schehr recommends only a light, low-intensity workout on those lower-calorie days.

    “I would not put anything that is going to increase caloric expenditure on a day when you’re trying to conserve,” she says.

    The reason for this? You don’t want to deplete your body further by burning more calories than necessary.

    “You start adding on exercise to a daily activity with just 500 calories, you really put yourself into a state of depletion, which could make you more exhausted, more tired, less likely to recover, increased risk for injury,” she notes. “So ultimately, the workout should change for somebody who’s on 5:2, who would want to make sure that their primary workouts are happening in the five days of eating, whereas there’s less happening on the two days of fasting.”

    Also Check: How To Speed Up Weight Loss On Intermittent Fasting

    Cardio And Intermittent Fasting

    The hormonal benefits you get from exercising in a fasted state are related to the depleted muscle and liver glycogen stores that occur when you fast. Doing cardio while intermittent fasting is fine, but your performance will hinge on how fat-adapted your body is . If youre new to fasting and exercise, you can expect your performance to drop a little it can take up to six months for some athletes to fully adapt their endurance to this new fuel source. For example, if youre a competing athlete, and your race performance is your primary goal, dont switch to fasted training a couple of weeks before a competition.

    If you are doing cardio in a fasted state, avoid extending the fast post-workout, and opt to refuel after you finish.

    An Increase In Human Growth Hormone = More Muscle

    Human growth hormone is essential for your body to repair and regenerate tissue. It also helps you build GH helps you build muscle and recover after exercise. Your production of this crucial hormone will typically increase after a workout.

    There is an ideal ratio between insulin and human growth hormone that promotes optimal health. Exercise helps to improve this ratio by increasing the amount of GH in your system. Having high insulin and low GH leads to increased fat deposition in the body. When you have low GH, it can slow down your post-exercise recovery, and it can be more challenging for you to build lean muscle.

    Studies showwhen you exercise in a fasted state, it can dramatically increase your HGH levels. If you practice shorter fasting periods you may not provoke a profound response, but the effects can still be impressive.

    Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight Through Fasting

    Choose The Type Of Workout Based On Your Macros

    Certified personal trainer and master pilates teacher, Lynda Lippin, says its important to pay attention to the macronutrients you take in the day before you exercise and when you eat after.

    For example, strength workouts generally require more carbohydrates the day of, while cardio/HIIT can be done on a lower carb day, she explains.

    Final Thoughts: Intuitive Exercise

    can you workout while intermittent fasting?

    Listening to your body and how exercise and eating habits make you feel is the most important thing you can do. For instance, if you find that you feel fatigued during fasted workouts, it may help to shift your eating window and have a bit of food before you get fit. If youre the type who doesnt like food in their stomach during a workout, light lifting before eating may be best for you.

    What it really comes down to is what pushes you to work hard, but makes you feel your best. Just keep in mind that lifting weights during the window of eating times will provide the best results.

    Recommended Reading: What Foods To Eat While Intermittent Fasting

    Losing Weight And Body Fat

    When you havent eaten for a long time, like after an overnight fast, your body is primed to burn fat. You use energy from your fat stores instead of relying on the carbs from your last meal. When you havent eaten for hours, your insulin levels are low, your glucose stores and blood sugar levels are down, and your blood is full of fatty acids. Combined, that means you oxidize, or burn, more fat when exercising in the fasted state than when youve eaten.12

    Burning more fat during exercise sounds great if you want to lose weight, doesnt it? But hold on, its not that easy. Fasted exercise, combined with a calorie deficit, is an excellent option when you want to lose fat, but its probably not more effective than exercising at any other time.34

    Scientific evidence does not support morning workouts or exercising on an empty stomach as a superior way to improve your body composition. Unfortunately, your body is too intelligent to be tricked like that. Undoubtedly, you burn more fat during the exercise when performed during your fasting window. But fat burning must be considered over the course of days, not on an hour-to-hour basis. If you look at the day as a whole, your body compensates by burning less fat or storing more fat during the rest of the day after fasted exercise. The result is no difference in fat loss over time.

    But what about your muscle mass?

    Ingredients That Disrupt Fasting

    Many pre-workout supplements contain a variety of ingredients, but they tend to share a few common traits. Common ingredients found in pre-workout formulas include beta-alanine, creatine, arginine AKG, and citrulline. These commonly used performance-enhancing agents each have the potential to disrupt your fast in one way or another.


    A pre-workout can contain various types of sugar, including sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, and maltodextrin. In order to break a fast and maximize your insulin sensitivity, its recommended to avoid consuming sugary foods or beverages for several hours before beginning a fast. The sugars in pre-workout drinks will decrease insulin sensitivity by raising blood sugar levels which will reduce fat-burning potential during your fast.

    Whey Protein

    Pre-workout Whey Protein shakes, even those with just 20 grams of protein, can throw off your fast. If your fast is 24 hours or longer and youre drinking a pre-workout that has whey protein in it , then you should break your fast prior to exercising on that day.

    Amino Acids

    Studies show that, for most people, consuming amino acids pre-workout will break a fast and reset your bodys metabolic state. However, if youre doing a longer fast , your body should be in an anabolic state by then.

    Fast or not, if you wanna get the BCAAs that Im taking for the best results. Look no further!

    NutraKey BCAA

    Recommended Reading: How To Do Intermittent Fasting

    Exercise Fasting And You

    When you participate in physical activity during IF, it can have a deep physiological impact. It will help you burn more fat, and it will affect the way your body responds to insulin. Exercise while fasting also lowers your blood sugar, increases your bodys production of human growth hormone, and increases the amount of testosterone you produce. If youre female, you need testosterone too. When you exercise during a fast, it revs up fat oxidation, boosting the potential for weight loss.

    If Every Workout Feels Miserable You Should Stop Intermittent Fasting

    I Tried Intermittent Fasting For a Month, Here’s What Happened

    It takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to any new routine so you cant make a judgement until youve given it at least a couple of weeks, Poyourow says. However, intermittent fasting isnt for everyone. So how do you know if its doing more harm than good?

    If youre experiencing mental fog, obsessive thoughts about food or weight, weakness, exhaustion, feelings of depression or burnout, insomnia, stress injuries, extreme muscle soreness and/or very slow recovery after your workouts, then its time to call it quits, Fine says. Intermittent fasting, particularly if youre under-eating, can lead to an increased risk of injury, lowered bone density, and mental illness, she cautions.

    There are lots of ways to achieve your health goals and if intermittent fasting isnt helping you reach them then move on and try something else, Poyourow says. Its all about figuring out what works for you and that may not be the same thing that works for someone else.

    Read Also: How Fast Will I Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting

    One Schedule Doesnt Fit All

    Remember that theres no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fuel, fasting, and fitness. If youre new to exercise or intermittent fasting, take your time adjusting to the new way of eating and consider adding workouts slowly.

    If youre following a fast which limits or restricts calories on some days such as the 5:2 diet, dont push yourself by going above a low-intensity workout. You may also want to consider not exercising on those days, other than daily activities such as walking.

    If youre only available for morning workouts and doing the 16:8 fasting plan, you can adjust the eating window so you can eat right after your workout. If you have availability around lunchtime to lift weights, this would be a great time to plug in strength training since youll have fuel before and after the workout. If youre focusing on lower intensity exercise such as walking or light yoga, you can be more flexible.

    Related Article: Strength Training While Hungry: Should You Do It?

    A Quick Primer: What Is Intermittent Fasting

    Fasting is defined as the avoidance of food and calorie beverages for a specific period of time.

    Intermittent fasting in particular has become a fasting fad being studied for its potential benefits including fat loss, inflammation reduction, and hormone regulation.

    Intermittent fasting focuses on the time window that youre eating. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains the different patterns of intermittent fasting:

    • Eating between six to eight hours per day, fast for the rest of the 24 hours.

    • Eating regularly five days a week, for the other two days, limit to one 500-600 calorie meal.

    • Longer periods without eating, such as 24, 36, 48, and 72-hour fasts.

    Some types of intermittent fasting, such as the 6:18 hour pattern has shown promising results in relation to metabolic switches from glucose to ketone-based energy, increased longevity, and decreased incidence of disease such as cancer and obesity.

    But this doesnt necessarily give you free rein to scarf down loads of your favorite fast food within that time frame. For intermittent fasting to benefit health, its encouraged to eat mindfully.

    Focus on these types of foods:

    • Daily fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains , and healthy fats .

    • Weekly fish, poultry, eggs.

    • Moderate dairy.

    • Limited red meat and wine.

    It can take about two to four weeks for the body to adjust to intermittent fasting in which there may be hunger and crankiness, getting used to the new routine.

    • Children under the age of 18.

    • Pregnant or breastfeeding women.

    Read Also: What Is The Best Time To Do 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

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