How to Exercise Safely During Intermittent Fasting

While trying intermittent fasting,many people may want to continue or start exercising.It can be done with proper precautions.

While the attention the Intermittent Fasting popularity is getting appears to be over the top, this type of lifestyle is not new. There are so many research and anecdotal reports about how to make IF work ,mainly if you’re planning to exercise while doing it.

Check out what the experts have told about how to safely and effectively exercise while fasting.

Pros and cons of exercising while on a fast

If you are trying Intermittent Fasting or you’re fasting for other reasons and you still want to continue your workouts, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before you decide to workout during your fast.

Some research shows that exercising while fasting affects muscle biochemical compositions and metabolism that is associated with insulin sensitivity and the constant management of blood sugar levels.

Research also supports eating and quickly exercising before the digestion or absorption occurs. This is especially important for anyone with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Chelsea Amengual, MS, RD, manager of Fitness Programming & Nutrition at Virtual Health Partners, says that while fasting your stored carbohydrates called as glycogen are most probably reduced, so you will be burning more fat as a source of energy needed for your workout.

Does the probability to burn more fat sound like a win? Before you jump on the fasted cardio trend, there is a negative side

While exercising in a fasted state, it’s possible that your body will start breaking down muscle to use protein for calorie intake, says Amengual. Also, you’re more liable to hitting the wall, which means you’ll have less energy and not be able to work out as hard or perform as well,” she adds.

Priya Khorana, EdD, a nutrition educator at Columbia University, thinks that intermittent fasting and long term workout is not perfect. “Your body exausts itself of calories and energy, which could finally result in slowing your metabolism,” she adds.

Getting in an effective gym session while fasting

If you want to try Intermittent Fasting along with your regular exercise routine, there are some tips you can follow to make your workout more effective.

1. Think through timing

Registered dietician Christopher Shuff says there are three thoughts when making your workout more effective during your fast: whether you should do exercise before, during, or after the non-fasting phase.

“Working out before the slot oo window is perfect for someone who performs well during exercise on an empty stomach or without eating, while during the slot is ideal for those who doesn’t like to exercise on an empty stomach and also wants to take advantage on post-workout nutrition,” he explains. For performance and recovery, Shuff says during window is the best option.

One popular method of IF is the 16:8 method. The concept refers to taking all your meal within an 8-hour of non fasting phase and then fasting for remaining 16 hours.

“After the slot is for those who like to exercise after eating but don’t have the opportunity to do it during the eating slot,” he adds.

2. Choose the type of workout based on your macros

Certified personal trainer and master pilates teacher, Lynda Lippin, says it’s important to notice that the macronutrients you consume in the day before you exercise and when you eat after.

“For example, strength workouts usually need more carbohydrates the day of, while cardio/HIIT [high-intensity interval training] can be done on a lower carb day,” she adds.

3. Eat the right meals after your workout to build or maintain muscle

Dr. Niket Sonpal says the best solution for practicing Intermittent Fasting along with exercise is to schedule your workouts during your eating or non fast periods so that your nutrition levels are maintained.

“And if you do heavy lifting, it’s essential for your body to take protein after the workout to support regeneration,” he explains.

Amengual says to perform any strength training with carbohydrates and about 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after your workout.

How can you safely exercise while fasting?

The success of any weight loss or workout plan depends on how safe it is to continue over time. If your final aim is to reduce body fat and maintain your fitness level while doing Intermittent Fasting, you need to stay in the safe zone. Here are some expert suggestions to help you do just that.

Eat a meal close to your moderate- to high-intensity workout

This is where eating timing comes into role. Khorana says that timing a meal close to a moderate- or high-intensity workout is important. This way your body has some glycogen stores to convert into energy during your workout.

Stay hydrated

Sonpal says to notice that fasting doesn’t mean to remove or reduce water intake. In fact, he suggests that you drink more water during your fasting period.

Keep your electrolytes up

An ideal low calorie liquid source, says Sonpal, is coconut water. “It restores electrolytes, is low in calories, and tastes really good,” he says. Gatorade and sports drinks are high in sugar, so don’t drink them in large amount.

Keep the intensity and duration fairly low

If you push yourself too hard and start to feel weak ,tired ,light-headed or dizzy, take a break. Listening to your body is essential.

Consider the type of fast

If you’re doing a 24-hour intermittent fast, Lippin says you should follow low-intensity exercises which includes:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • restorative yoga
  • gentle Pilates

But if you’re following the 16:8 fast, most of the 16-hour fasting duration is evening, sleep, and early in the day, so following a certain type of exercise is not as reproving.

Listen to your body

The most important suggestion to pay attention when exercising during IF is to listening and taking care of your body.

“If you start to feel light-headed or dizzy, chances can be your blood suger is low (hypoglycemia) or you are dehydrated,” explains Amengual. If that is the situation, she says to select for a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink immediately and then continue with a well-balanced diet.

Practicing workout or exercise while intermittent fasting may work for some people, others may not feel comfortable doing any form of exercise during their fast.

Consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before following any diet or exercise plan.

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