What Ramadan Can Teach Us About Intermittent Fasting
During the holy month of Ramadan, observant Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset for about 30 days. The fast-breaking evening meal is often a big dinner.
Over the years, researchers have studied observant Muslims in an effort to find out how fasting affects a range of outcomes, including athletic performance. As it turns out, Muslim athletes tend to do worse in the early weeks of a Ramadan fasting schedule, research finds.1
How someone performs depends on several factors:
- The individual athlete: Just as some athletes can train harder and longer than others, some also adapt to fasting more easily and more quickly than others. Hello, genetics.
- Recovery and nutrition: Adequate rest, sleep, hydration, and nutrition can all help the body to adapt more quickly to IF and heavy training.
- The fasting schedule: Less intense types of fasting pair better with heavy exercise than more intense styles of fasting.
- The type of exercise. Fasting is more likely to negatively affect more intense training. .
The following activities generally dont pair well with IF. If any of these are your jam, you can probably expect your performance to suffer as your body adapts to this new way of eating:
- activities that require intense effort
- speed endurance, such as repeated short, intense runs in soccer
- repeated power-explosive movements like jumping
- some types of strength and work capacity
But its not all bad news.
Pairing exercise with IF can boost results, too.
/8your Diet Is Not Nutritious Enough
One of the drawbacks of the plan is that it focuses on when to eat, but fails to convey what one should eat.
For those, who really want to reap the benefits of the plan must indulge in eating nutritious, healthy foods, rather than resorting to processed, high calorie foods. While you may have fasted for long hours, it is important that you only consume fibre-rich, low-caloric foods during your eating window. Only when you do this, will you find some amount of transformation in yourself.
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.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Intermittent Fasting
Yes. Water, coffee, tea or anything with zero-calories. Do not add sugar to your coffee or tea. Coffee hides hunger. No fruits or snacks. Make sure any supplement you take during this fasting period doesnt contain calories.
2. Isnt it unhealthy to skip breakfast?
No. Skipping breakfast is completely healthy. If you make sure to eat healthy food for the rest of the day then, youre good to go!
3. Can I exercise while on the Intermittent fasting weight loss plan?
Yes, you can. It makes everything even better. Stay hydrated
4. What if I want to gain healthy weight?
It is important to lift weights & eat more food during the feasting phase. And eat foods high in protein.
5. If I dont eat for some hours, I will die o!
No, you will not die! You may get very hungry or dizzy or weakit will pass. After few days, your body will adapt.
Take Charge of Your Health and Happiness!
Is Intermittent Fasting Another Weight Loss Diet
No! It is not a diet.
And it is for everyone underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
Intermittent fasting is exactly not a diet its a pattern of eating. Its a way of scheduling your meals in a healthy way.
Intermittent fasting weight loss plan doesnt change WHAT you eat. It changes WHEN you eat.
So you can eat all the groups of a healthy balanced diet: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, etc.
It is a great way to achieve healthy weight without going on a diet that is too strange or too expensive or difficult to sustain.
The beauty is that it burns unhealthy fat & spares healthy muscles & flesh. Fat accumulation in your body is bad for you even if you are slim or skinny!
So, if you want to LOSE unhealthy weight, you can use it.
Also, if you want to GAIN healthy weight & flesh, you can use it
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Working Out While Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting and exercise are components of cultivating longevity, but should you combine them? Lets review all the questions regarding exercising while fasting. We will explore the benefits of exercising in a fasted state, including the difference between cardio, sprint training, and weight training, as well as some simple tips on how to implement it to reap the most benefits of your fasted workouts.
Can I Exercise While Fasting?
Yes, it is OK to work out while fasting because the key to weight loss and muscle gain is not just calories and exercise, but hormone optimization. Studies demonstrate amazing benefits to intermittent fasting alone, but combining fasting with sprint training takes the benefits of each to a whole new level. Combining the two raises growth hormone and makes you more insulin sensitive, which is the key to staying youthful and lean.
Many people obsess over calories in versus out, and fear muscle loss that theoretically happens when you exercise without having refueled. But when you understand the beneficial impact that exercising during a fasted state has on the bodys hormones, youll see that fasting and exercise arent only OK, they are actually the optimal way to boost your health and body composition.
Make The Calories Count
Not all calories are the same. Although these fasting methods do not set restrictions on how many calories a person should consume when fasting, it is essential to consider the nutritional value of the food.
In general, a person should aim to consume nutrient-dense food, or food with a high number of nutrients per calorie. Though a person may not have to abandon junk food entirely, they should still practice moderation and focus on more healthful options to gain the most benefits.
Fasting has several effects on a persons body. These effects include:
- Reducing levels of insulin, which makes it easier for the body to use stored fat.
- Lowering blood sugars, blood pressure, and inflammation levels.
- Changing the expression of certain genes, which helps the body protect itself from disease as well as promoting longevity.
- Dramatically increases human growth hormone, or HGH, which helps the body utilize body fat and grow muscle.
- The body activates a healing process doctors call autophagy, which essentially means that the body digests or recycles old or damaged cell components.
Fasting dates back to ancient humans who often went hours or days between meals as obtaining food was difficult. The human body adapted to this style of eating, allowing extended periods to pass between food intake times.
Research also shows fasting to be beneficial for the management of metabolic syndrome and diabetes,
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Maybe Youre Not Using The Most Suitable If Method For You
Theres a handful of ways you can do intermittent fasting and all of them are effective ways to lose weight.
However, not all of them are probably going to fit your specific lifestyle. And, to me, forcing it will only stall your weight loss, if not lead to even more unhealthy habits.
For example, lets say you try a more extreme method of IF with an eating window of just 4 hours per day. If youre new to fasting, youre probably going to be famished by the time you get to your eating window.
This leads us to
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
A few small human studies have shown evidence that intermittent fasting can have health benefits for those with diabetes. These include:
- Weight loss
- Lowering insulin requirements
A long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that a fasting state can support several benefits including:
- Lessening inflammation
- Sleepiness during the day
- Low energy levels
- A significantly increased risk of low blood sugar
- High blood sugar resulting from a surge of stored glucose from the liver when low blood sugar levels result from fasting
Its important to note that more research is needed to definitively back up the claims of side effects from intermittent fasting and to confirm the severity of such untoward reactions.
Because of the likeliness of side effects from fasting when a person has diabetes, its important to consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to start any type of fasting diet.
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When Would You Do Intermittent Fasting Without Keto
I will typically using intermittent fasting without keto when Im on vacation or traveling. I find that intermittent fasting without having to follow a strict keto diet allows a lot more flexibility with my meals. It also eliminates a lot of stress about worrying about finding the perfect keto meal at a restaurant. I have found that I have more energy to walk the cities Im in and see all the tourist sites and find those non-touristy areas that really make traveling memorable.
Watch Your Portion Size
One of the leading causes of weight gain in the United States is out of control portion sizes. When we are served big quantities of food, we are more likely to eat past the point of fullness. This can lead to weight gain and obesity.
If you want to lose weight without exercising, simply reducing your portion size can be a big help. Combined with eating slowly and drinking lots of water, taking this simple step can allow you to reduce calories and drop weight.
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Things To Look Out For
If you feel great working out on an empty stomachmore power to you! Keep doing what works for you. But be aware that if you feel weak or lightheaded during your workout, it might be time to rethink your routine.
“It is true that you may lose more fat working out fasted however, you may also lose more muscle,” says Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D. “If the body’s glycogen stores are depleted, the body can break down protein for fuelthe opposite of what most people are looking for.”
Replenishing your body with carbohydrates and protein is essential for helping your muscles to grow stronger and to avoid injury.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
There are many different ways to lose weight.
One strategy that has become popular in recent years is called intermittent fasting .
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves regular, short-term fasts or periods of minimal or no food consumption.
Most people understand intermittent fasting as a weight loss intervention. Fasting for short periods of time helps people eat fewer calories, which may result in weight loss over time .
However, intermittent fasting may also help modify risk factors for health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels 30002-0/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 2,
There are several different intermittent fasting methods. The most popular ones include:
- the 16:8 method
- Eat Stop Eat
- alternate-day fasting
All methods can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
To help you choose the method that fits your lifestyle, heres a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.
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But What Happens If I Break Intermittent Fasting For A Day
In that case, Im assuming you just need a break from all the fasting and healthy eating and figured youd indulge for a bit. Or maybe theres an event you want to go to and you need to break your fast to enjoy your time with family and friends.
I say go for it. Treat it as a cheat day.
For one, your mental health and relationships matter, too. If being on intermittent fasting on that particular day doesnt give you a sense of peace, then I personally dont think its worth it.
Second, a study from the International Journal of Obesity suggests that cheat days actually help you lose weight because it helps restart your presumably sluggish metabolism as a result of being on a low-calorie diet.
Helps Improve Heart Health
With heart disease being the number one cause of death worldwide, it is important to find ways to reduce the numbers and ultimately lower the risk of heart conditions.
Intermittent fasting has been studied for various heart health benefits. Fasting has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation, as mentioned previously. Yet, there are many other factors fasting can improve.
Studies display that intermittent fasting methods can lower blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol and LDL. All of which are key drivers of heart conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiovascular disease and cholesterol. Reducing these factors can lower the risk of heart disease and improve heart health.
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The : 2 Intermittent Fasting Diet
Thee 5:2 intermittent fasting diet is one type of popular fasting diets, introduced in Dr. Jason Fungs best-selling book “The Obesity Code” in 2016. The 5:2 diet involves five days of eating the recommended daily caloric intake and two non-consecutive days of eating a reduced-calorie diet. On fasting days, food is not eliminated altogether, rather, the number of calories is reduced.
If you have diabetes and want to try the 5:2 diet, speak to your healthcare provider or diabetic team and get a recommendation for a daily caloric intake guideline for fasting and non-fasting days.
Studies on the 5:2 Diet
Studies have shown that the 5:2 diet may help reduce insulin resistance and promote weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
The first long-term study of the 5:2 diet, published in 2018, by the Journal of the American Medical Association , discovered that intermittent fasting could be effective for those with diabetes who have trouble sticking to a long-term, daily diet regime. The study observed 137 people with type 2 diabetes half of the study participants followed the 5:2 diet and the other half adhered to a daily calorie-restricted diet . The group that fasted for two non-consecutive days per weekconsumed 500 to 600 calories on the fasting days and ate normally on the other five days of the week.
Safety of the 5:2 Diet for People With Diabetes
So How Does Intermittent Fasting Work Anyway
Any weight transformation relies on the fundamental principle of energy balance and this, of course, includes intermittent fasting. Energy, in this case, means calories.
Per research, any change in body weight is the result of an imbalance of energy content between calories consumed and calories expended. Specifically for weight loss, you want to be burning more calories than you eat.
Now, IF theoretically helps make this happen because fasting helps stop you from overeating. In turn, you consume less calories than you burn, leading to weight loss.
More specifically though, research shows how theres a complex interplay between several hunger-related hormones with the end result of helping you feel less hungry.
The same research also suggests how the interaction between these hormones is largely whats responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting, but they can only happen if you consumed less calories overall.
This brings us to a problem that some of you might be having.
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Timing Of Your Fast Is The Key
Past human studies have shown eating every other day performs equally well in comparison to eating less each day. This has led to the belief that intermittent fasting can, after all, be just hype.
However, a study conducted on a small group of obese men with prediabetes suggested otherwise.
As per a study done by the researchers at the University of Alabama, early-time restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity and blood pressure even without any changes in weight loss.
You can read the details of this study here.
Early-Time Restricted Feeding is technically a type of Intermittent Fasting Schedule that limits food intake in the first 8 to 10 hours of the day.
This is followed by an extended fast till the next mornings first meal or breakfast.
This study has birthed a new discussion over the long-term health benefits of fitting your meals in the earlier hours of the day.
Well, naturally prolonging the fasting window has its basis in the human circadian rhythm. Our bodies are biologically predisposed to eat during the day and rest during the nighttime.
Hence, this explains the results observed in this study.
Previous studies in rodents also show TRF to reduce weight, lower insulin levels, and reduce hepatic fat.
So, whats the conclusion from all this, does intermittent fasting work?
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Chronic Effects Of Fasting
Fasting Protocols and Body Composition
Details of fasting studies are summarized in according to the various categories used. The findings from six ICR studies are summarized in , and represents a combination of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction , or modified fasting that allows for a small quantity of food intake even on fasting days. There were significant decreases in body weight,, and body fat,, with the exception of the study by Fitzgerald et al . Such variability in ICR was likely due to a number of factors: not all subjects in ICR studies fast the same number of days per week, as some fasted one day per week, while others fasted for 2 days that were either consecutive, or nonconsecutive., The data generated thus did not suggest which of these ICR protocols elicited the greatest impact. Additional confounding factors included age, weight and gender, as ICR studies generally included middle-aged or older adults.