Should you Exercise Whilst Fasting?

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

I have always been an advocate of exercise, and I believe that it is one of the best things we can do for our health and wellbeing. But recently there has been a lot of talk about exercising while fasting, and I wanted to find out more. Is this something that could benefit me? What are the benefits, if any? And should everyone be doing it?

In this article, I’ll explore these questions in detail, looking at the science behind exercising while fasting, as well as examples from real life cases where this approach has been successful.

What is exercising while fasting?

Exercising while fasting can mean a number of different things. It is essentially when you exercise without eating anything beforehand (fasting) or after (post-exercise). Fasting before exercise can be as short as just not eating anything for an hour before your workout or as long as 16-24 hours before your next meal. Post-exercise fasting involves abstaining from food for anywhere up to 8 hours after working out and usually involves some form of Intermittent Fasting such as skipping breakfast or lunch.

The idea behind exercising while fasted is that it can help to increase fat burning during exercises like running or biking by depleting glycogen stores in muscles quickly and forcing the body to rely on fat stores for energy needs. This means that you may burn more calories during your workout than you would if you had eaten beforehand – however, this does depend on the type of workout you are doing and how long you are fasted for. Generally speaking though, fasted exercise tends to be most effective with high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts rather than steady state cardio sessions which require consistent energy levels over longer periods of time.

Benefits of exercising while fasted

Autophagy: Autophagy is a process by which cells recycle old proteins in order to create new ones – think rebuilding muscle fibers after a hard workout session! Studies have shown that autophagy increases when performing fasted exercise due to increased AMPK activity which helps break down cellular components efficiently into usable energy sources like amino acids or glucose molecules — perfect post-workout fuel. This can ultimately lead to improved muscle recovery times too.

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Weight loss: Fasted exercise has also been linked to increased weight loss compared with non-fasted workouts due to higher amounts of lipolysis (fat breakdown) during these sessions. This occurs because the body does not have access to easily accessible forms of carbohydrate for energy (such as stored glycogen), so it must break down fat instead — leading to greater overall fat burn! However, it’s important to remember that weight loss isn’t just about calories burned during a single session; rather it’s about consistently creating an overall calorie deficit throughout the week which will lead to sustainable results over time — so don’t forget about diet too.

Improved mental clarity: Exercising in a fasted state may have benefits beyond physical performance too — research suggests that fasted workouts can improve mental clarity by increasing focus and concentration due to higher levels of noradrenaline released during these sessions. In turn this could give us a great boost in productivity both pre-workout and post-workout.

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Improved insulin sensitivity: Insulin sensitivity refers to how effectively our bodies respond/utilise insulin within them — lower levels generally mean better performance on tests measuring blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that regular bouts of moderate intensity cardio performed whilst fasted may reduce insulin resistance through increasing fatty acid oxidation, leading us towards better overall metabolic health long term.

Case studies: Real life examples

While all these potential benefits sound great on paper, what kind of results have people experienced when incorporating regular bouts of fasted exercise into their routine? Let’s take a look at two case studies below…

Case study 1 – Sam Naismith: Sam Naismith was overweight for much of his teenage years but decided he wanted change his lifestyle in order make positive improvements in his health and fitness levels going forward. After researching online he settled upon trying out HIIT workouts whilst also practicing intermittent fasting by skipping breakfast every morning. Slowly but surely Sam started seeing results with less cravings throughout the day and noticeably reduced body fat levels over time. He now continues his HIIT/intermittent fasting combination weekly alongside other activities such as strength training and yoga classes.

Case study 2 – Alice Jones: Alice Jones had struggled with her weight since she was younger and decided she needed something more structured help make lasting changes. She went ahead signed up with personal trainer who put her on program combining HIIT exercises 3 times per week and instructed her only eat meals between 12 – 8pm each day. After 4 months she saw significant changes both physique and general wellbeing due having more control over dietary intake combined with regular intense bouts physical activity.

Should everyone try exercising whilst fasting?

The answer depends really on individual goals and preferences; however for those looking shed extra pounds or improve general health markers then yes—fasting prior/post workouts could certainly be beneficial tool add into regular routine! It should noted though that safety comes first so ensure pushing yourself too far– even if feel like ‘in zone‘ mentally— and always listen body when feeling fatigued physically. Furthermore consider consulting doctor medical opinion prior making any major changes lifestyle patterns– especially those suffering existing medical conditions such diabetes hypertension etc.

In conclusion

To summarise– although still relatively unknown concept amongst wider public—there strong evidence suggesting exercises performed whilst being fast offer potentially improved outcomes terms weight loss metabolic regulation mental clarity compared non-fasting equivalents. However caution must taken ensure safe practices maintained (e.g no pushing self beyond limits fatigue etc.) alongside consulting doctor first those suffering existing medical issues prior embarking journey into world ‘fasting fitness’. All said done though—if done correctly—performing HIIT/cardio style exercises whilst being fast could provide useful addition weekly regimen helping reach personal goals faster smarter way.

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