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Intermittent Fasting And Endurance Training

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Study Design And Subjects

Intermittent Fasting and Endurance Sports – Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 194

A randomized study was conducted. Participants were recruited through adverts on social networks. Thirty-six women with obesity degree one according to their body mass index participated in this study. Exclusion criteria were: having a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart disease, osteoarthritis, gastritis smokers alcoholics using regular medications who were undergoing weight loss treatment lack of availability for training and meetings who reported malaise during long periods of fasting and being < 18 years or > 40 years. The Ethics Committee of the School of Physical Education and Sport of Ribeirão Preto and of the University Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto approved the study . All subjects gave written informed consent to participate, after receiving an explanation of the purpose of the study and the risks involved. This project was registered in, NCT05237154.

Figure 1. Flow diagram. IF + EX, intermittent fasting group associated with exercise EX, exercise group IF, intermittent fasting group.

Anthropometry Energy Expenditure And Lipid Oxidation

The results of the anthropometric variables, RMR and lipid oxidation are shown in Table 3. After 8 weeks of intervention, weight loss and reduction in BMI were observed in the IF + EX group. There was a significant loss in waist, abdominal, and hip circumference measurements in the IF + EX and EX groups and both groups presented greater loss in waist circumference compared to the IF group post intervention . The IF group showed a reduction only in hip circumference . RMR decreased 8.1% in the IF group post-intervention, with-out changes between groups. There were no changes in intra-group and between groups in lipid oxidation.

Table 3. Anthropometric measures, resting metabolic rate and lipid oxidation pre and post intervention.

Which Method Is Best Intermittent Fasting Or Regular Calorie Restriction

The method you like the best!

Its as simple as that. If you prefer eating your meals spread out over the day, thats your way to go. If intermittent fasting fits your schedule and allows you to stick to your diet better, go for it.

Regular calorie restriction and intermittent fasting are equally effective for weight and fat loss. Overall, the hormonal benefits you get from fasting dont seem to sway the outcome over time.313233 For example, a recent one-year long study found that participants who ate their meals at a certain time lost similar amounts of weight and body mass as those who ate at any time.34

For pure weight loss, calories trump everything.

Intermittent fasting might help you keep more of your hard-earned lean mass while losing weight. Thats a huge benefit. The keyword here is might, though. We dont have enough evidence yet to say for sure. In any case, nothing suggests that regular fasting makes you lose more muscle than traditional dieting. If anything, its the opposite.

One significant benefit of intermittent fasting is that you feel less hungry than when youre on a regular diet.35 Or at least you might be able to handle it better. Instead of feeling hungry all the time, youre able to fill your stomach during your eating window and still lose weight.

In summary, intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight. While it might not be more effective than simply eating less, it helps you do so without counting calories.

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Does Exercising While Fasting Burn More Fat

Yes, it does.63 You burn more fat if you exercise on an empty stomach.

Dont get too excited, though. Unfortunately, no evidence shows that fasted exercise makes you lose more body fat.6465

Your body compensates for the increase in fat oxidation by storing more fat or burning less fat during the day. The result? Probably no difference compared to exercising during your eating window or soon after.

Some speculate that fasted cardio makes a difference if youre already in great shape and trying to lose the last bodyfat to get shredded. No studies confirm this, though, but many bodybuilders have found, through trial-and-error, that morning workouts work best for them when competition time draws closer.

Dont force yourself to do fasted cardio to lose body fat if you dont like it. Of course, it could also be an essential time-saver if you only have a specific time slot where you can squeeze some cardio in.

Youre Fasting Should You Work Out

Intermittent Fasting For Women
  • You may burn more fat.
  • If fasting long term, you could slow down your metabolism.
  • You might not perform as well during workouts.
  • You may lose muscle mass or only be able to maintain, not build, muscle.

If youre set to try IF while continuing your exercise routine, there are some things you can do to make your workout effective.

Read Also: What Is 18 6 Intermittent Fasting

So Should You Train In A Fasted State

Based on the current research, my recommendation to athletes or individuals looking to perform is to fuel prior to exercise. While there are situations where fasted training may be okay, more times than not having a pre-training fueling routine is best suited to support high training volumes and performance goals. For general exercise, testing out how you feel when exercising fasted versus fueled is also a good idea to find out what works best for you.

Article by: Nicole Legler, RD, Eleat Nutrition Intern

Sprint Training And Intermittent Fasting

Sprint training or high intensity interval training involves intervals of intense activity combined with rest for about 15-30 minutes. Not only is sprint training time very efficient, but studies show that it provides health benefits that you cannot get from aerobic exercise alone, such as the tremendous boost of human growth hormone . Some of the benefits of sprint training include increased strength and stamina in the muscles and brain, increased growth hormone, improved body composition, increased brain function, higher testosterone levels, and less depression. Sprint training with intermittent fasting increase all these benefits. Sprint training is the ideal exercise method to incorporate into your fasted period, and to increase the benefits even more, you can continue to fast two to three hours post-workout.

Also Check: What Is Intermittent Fasting Good For

Intermittent Fasting And Strength Training: The Ultimate Guide

Intermittent fasting is a popular pattern of eating. Millions of people use it to lose weight, improve their overall health, simplify everyday life, and even live longer.

What is intermittent fasting? Does it work, is it safe, and how do you do it? And can you build muscle while doing it?

If youre looking for answers to those questions, youll find answers to them and many more in this article.

Lets get into it!

Key points:

  • Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating involving alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting. Its not so much about what you eat but when you eat.
  • There are several popular ways to do intermittent fasting, with none being inherently superior.
  • Intermittent fasting is a proven and effective way to lose weight.
  • Fasting regularly offers many health benefits, although most of these are attributed to weight loss.
  • You can maintain and build muscle while doing intermittent fasting, although the jury is out on whether its as effective as a traditional meal pattern.
  • An intermittent fasting diet is generally safe, although it might be best to consult your doctor if youre pregnant or diabetic.

Intermittent Fasting And Adaptation

Jim Stoppani On Intermittent Fasting for Muscle Gains

In fact, more recent research suggests that, for some athletes, periods of time with lessor even noenergy intake may help enhance performance. An important training adaptation for endurance athletes is the production of new mitochondria, called mitochondrial biogenesis. When endurance athletes train, their bodies detect when energy stores are getting low, which releases several signaling factors including AMPK. These signaling factors, in turn, stimulate many of the positive adaptations to endurance exercise, including mitochondrial biogenesis.

As such, training in a low energy state is associated with enhanced training adaptations in some specific measures. Its worth noting, however, that these studies often use a low carbohydrate diet as opposed to completely fasted training, as would be the case in intermittent fasting.

If youre involved in resistance training, a recent review suggests that carbohydrate restrictionoften induced by intermittent fastingmay reduce subsequent muscle hypertrophy as well as the ability to undertake lengthy training sessions, which are common for elite athletes.

So periods of lower carbohydrate intake, which we might consider as a proxy for intermittent fasting, may enhance or reduce training adaptations, depending on your overall training goal.

As such, its difficult to state objectively whether intermittent fasting is a good or bad idea for athletes since it depends on many factors.

Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight During Fasting

What Can You Drink While Fasting

Lets talk about what you can drink during your fast without breaking it.

Water. Water is calorie-free and does not break your fast. Plain or carbonated, drink as much water as you want. Flavoring it with a slice of lemon or cucumber is likely also fine.

Diet soda. Technically, diet soda contains no calories. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame-k do contain calories. Still, you need so little of them to sweeten a beverage that the calories become non-significant, very close to zero. Also, they dont trigger an insulin response.686970 In other words, drinking diet soda does not break your fast.

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> > Artificial and Non-sugar Sweeteners: the Good, the Bad, and the Science

Coffee and tea. Black coffee contains very few calories and does not kick you out of a fast. As long as you take it black, of course. Adding sugar, milk, or cream is a no-no during a fast. Animal studies suggest coffee can boost the benefits of fasting.71 As for tea, stick with unsweetened black, white, or green tea, and youre good to add. Adding calories in the form of sugar or milk breaks your fast, just like with coffee.

Read more:

Beverages like milk, milk substitutes, any alcoholic beverage, fruit juice, sugar-sweetened sodas will break your fast. They are all more or less high-calorie drinks. Save them for your eating window.

Intermittent Fasting And Exercise: What You Need To Know

Exercising in a fasted state has some pros and cons over exercising in a fed state. Fasted training can help to burn more fat. But, on the other hand, it can lead to the dreaded âhitting the wallâ. In the end, you have to find out yourself what works best for you.

Youâve probably heard or seen exercise gurus or influencers on the internet or social media discussing intermittent fasting and how theyâve been able to incorporate this dietary pattern into their daily routine.

But is intermittent fasting safe to do while exercising? If so, should you be exercising while fasted or after youâve eaten?

In this article, hopefully, we can provide you with some information so that you can make a decision thatâll work best for you!

Recommended Reading: How Many Calories Do I Eat On Intermittent Fasting

Training In A Fasted State

For many athletes, the ideas of intermittent fasting and fasted trainingor training with low carbohydrate availabilitygo hand in hand. Indeed, a 16:8 IF lifestyle is conducive to training in a fasted state if you line up your training schedule such that you are working out at the end of your fasting window. In practical terms, you could do this with early morning workouts and a feeding window of 8am-4pm, during which time you eat for post-workout recovery and to replenish energy stores in preparation for the next fasting period .

The scenario above is essentially a sleep high, train low method to train with limited carbohydrate availability. Increasing fat oxidation, or become fat adapted, is the typical motive for training with low carbohydrate availability, and Ill cover that in more detail in the next section. Right now, though, we should talk about the intersection of fasted training and an IF lifestyle.

From a coaching perspective, I find that athletes do best when they can train at a consistent time of day that works within their schedule. Occasionally manipulating the timing of their eating to train with high or low carbohydrate availability is more sustainable than manipulating the timing of their workouts to align with a time-restricted eating lifestyle. Put another way, long-term IF compromises training more than occasionally implementing a low-carbohydrate availability training strategy.

The Effects Of Intermittent Fasting On Muscular Strength And Endurance Burn Fat: Intermittent Fasting &  Strength Training: 2

Travis Kerr

Intermittent fasting, a common dietary strategy, has gained popularity in the past few years. Many people have implemented this type of diet to assist in trimming fat, without understanding the effects that it can have on strength and endurance performance. There are many ways to implement this type of diet , which can lead to differences in results. This is because depending on the type and length of intermittent fast that is chosen, the total daily caloric intake is likely to change.

While many people are familiar with studies that have investigated how intermittent fasting can affect weight loss, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer, most people are not as familiar with the studies that have been conducted to evaluate the effects on muscular performance and endurance. These aspects play a big part in a workout and can cause problems if not adjusted for properly when developing a new diet and exercise plan. For example, if you change your diet and are now consuming more carbohydrates, which results in more glycogen being stored in your muscles, you will be able to lift with more power and for a longer period of time than what you would if you were eating minimal carbohydrates.


  • Brisswalter, J., et al. . Effects of Ramadan Intermittent Fasting on Middle-Distance Running Performance in Well-Trained Runners. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine,21, 422-427.
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    Intermittent Fasting For Athletes: Can It Improve Performance

    6 Min Read

    Intermittent fasting has exploded as a weight-loss trend. Its become widely adopted by both celebrities and everyday dieters, and now its starting to garner attention in the academic world. Because of this attention, its important to unpack what intermittent fasting for athletes might entail. Their bodies require different and often significantly more nutritional intake, so its important to unpack how intermittent fasting might affect performance.

    What Happens In Your Body When You Fast

    When you dont eat anything, your body quickly responds by adjusting hormone levels and turning on various metabolic switches to adapt to starvation. Starvation sounds like something terrible, but fasting is a form of starvation, even if its intended and beneficial. Your body doesnt know why youre not giving it any food.

    Also Check: What Is The Advantage Of Intermittent Fasting

    If Youre Doing Time Restricted Eating You Need Adequate Protein Intake

    Of course carb-loading is key, but youll also want to make sure you get enough protein to keep you full when youre only eating within an 8, 10, or 12-hour period, says Claire Barnes, Registered Nutritionist & Advisor for Bio-Kult. The protein you eat the night before will also sustain your energy for the next day.

    Intermittent Fasting Program Caution For Athletes

    Full Day Of Eating (Intermittent Fasting Lean Gains)

    Although there are innumerous benefits of intermittent fasting for athletes, athletes must exercise caution when following the START Wellness app intermittent fasting program, especially if they are following a low-calorie restrictive diet plan. Not eating before high-intensity exercise like sprinting and weight training will likely decrease exercise performance and affect competitive performance, especially where dieters cut out carbohydrate-rich foods to reduce their calorie consumption. The reason is that carbohydrates are an essential component of an athletes diet because they are used as energy to be burned during exercise and competitive performance.

    In just 7 days youll FEEL the change.In 30 days youll BE the change.All you have to do is START!

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    Can Intermittent Fasting Work During Marathon Training

    In marathon training, many runners often find they begin to lose muscle mass and of course if theyre doing it while trying to lose weight theyre attempting to cut calories, thus feeling all around fatigued and hating the miles.

    The lack of calories prior to a run can actually result in not being able to workout as hard or run as far. Read that fasted cardio post for more.

    But additionally, there is science that when women restricting their eating for too long , the body increases cortisol. We know this stress hormone leads to holding on to weight around our middle, but it also hinders your training progress!

    Your Circadian Rhythms Might Stay On Track

    Scheduling your mealtimes, and your bedtime, could help regulate your circadian rhythms across the board. And regulating your circadian rhythms could help with sleep patterns, stress levels, and overall health, Barnes adds. Your workouts will stay timely too, especially if you front-load them in your day. Aiming to undertake most of your training within the beginning of the day and within daylight hours can help improve circadian rhythms, Barnes says.

    The bottom line on intermittent fasting athletes should know:

    Time-restricted eating may have metabolic benefits for weight loss, but it may not be beneficial to athletes, especially those who are trying to fuel their bodies for training with enough calories and nutrients.

    Also Check: What Is The Best App For 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.

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