While intermittent fasting seemed as though it was a health fad and a quick way to cut calories, there is more science behind it. Therefore, it is believed to be an effective way to lose weight and it can help to reduce your calorie intake.
Despite this, there are many people who choose to exercise on an empty stomach but is that a good thing? Well, you can exercise while fasting and there is evidence to suggest that you should but you have to make sure that you get the two right.
What Happens When You Fast?
Many studies have been carried out but it has been found that fasting before the morning workout can help to improve fat oxidation and that can help you to shift the pounds and lose more weight during exercise. During any form of exercise such as a high-intensity workout, the body will use carbohydrates to fuel your body. As a result, if you have been fasting then the body will turn to your other energy stores. So, what this means is that your stored carbohydrates, which is known as glycogen will be depleted and so, your body will turn to its fat stores in order to get the fuel it needs to keep you going.
So, when you choose to fast, your body works by using the glycogen stores that are filled with sugar to give you energy. However, those stores will run out and as a result, the body then turns its attention to fat which it burns for energy. Effectively, as time goes on, the body becomes familiar with that process and so, it means it learns to become a fat-burning machine. Many studies have concluded that intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, regardless of BMI.
Working Out While Fasting
Your intermittent fasting workout routine should be all about determining what your goals are as well as the food you consume when you are not fasting as this will play a role in the results you see. When you do eat, this window for fuel will help you to decide when you workout and so, should you workout before you eat, during the eating window or after it. While there is no right answer here, there are several factors that can dictate how you exercise during your fasting period.
- If you exercise during the window where you would eat, it gives you the option to perform and recover more effectively and efficiently. What’s more, it will also put a focus on how you recover and what you eat.
- There are those who find that they work harder and perform better on an empty stomach. If this is the case then before you eat and on an empty stomach is the better option.
- If you feel as though you are better training after you have eaten then that is the time for you. Everyone is different but getting the most from your training while fasting is vital.
- If you are carb cycling and reducing carbs on certain days then these are the days where you should focus on cardio or high-intensity interval training sessions.
- If you are someone who hits the weights then the recovery is key, therefore, you could be better off training before you eat so you can consume protein bars after or you can train in the window when you eat.
What Are The Potential Problems?
Of course, working out during fasting will help to burn fat faster and can help you to reach your goals, there is a side to it that can cause problems for you. First of all, if you are looking to increase muscle mass then your body will struggle as it will break down the muscle proteins as it searches for energy. When your glycogen levels are running low, the body will break down protein and that is needed to build muscles and that could even see you lose muscle which is why it’s important to eat a quick protein snack after exercise.
There is also the risk that your body will not work in the way you expect it to when you train while fasting. It is likely that you are going to hit the wall and struggle for energy and so, you won’t perform as well. What’s more, it could even lead to you becoming faint or even fainting.
What’s more, there could be another element to it that could cause you long-term problems. If you train and fast, then your metabolism could slow down and that can make it difficult to lose weight in the future, ultimately leading to possible weight gain. This is all down to the fact that the body adapts to cope with fewer calories and so, it burns fewer calories to conserve energy.
Exercising Safely While Fasting
Of course, you have to make sure that you remain safe when training and fasting. Your body will give you the signs that will tell you whether everything is ok and so, you should keep an eye out for signs of dehydration or low blood sugar. Therefore, you should make sure that you drink plenty of fluids when fasting and you will need to drink more than usual when fasting. You might also feel dizzy and short of breath while exercising, if this is the case then you should stop immediately. Should you feel weak or dizzy then you should consume a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink. Depending on the amount of time you are fasting, you should try to stick to low-intensity exercises as this will mean that you burn energy at a slower pace. Finally, if you are going to try fasting and exercise then it is always recommended that you speak to your doctor first.