There are so many studies and research out there around exercise and intermittent fasting that it can sometimes get very confusing.
I would like to try to help you to work out what type of exercise and the best time to exercise would be for you.
I hope that prior to starting your journey with Intermittent Fasting you have your goals in mind and that you have prepared your body accordingly.
Intermittent Fasting works very well with a low carbohydrate diet and I usually combine it with a Paleo – Keto way of eating.
Your reasons behind why you are bringing intermittent fasting into your daily eating habits will set your plans for the best way to exercise to get effective results.
I have been fortunate to have exercised most of my life and could not think of my world without exercise. However, when I started to introduce Intermittent Fasting which was about 5 years ago, I had to adjust how and when I exercised.
I hope that this information that I share with you will help you on your journey and stop you from following into the pitfalls of mistakes that I made.
Exercise can enhance your diet and makes us feel good as well as giving us the confidence we need in ourselves through our whole life.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting is merely an amount of time in which we do not eat. The average person naturally used to fast for 12 hours Example 7pm Dinner until 7am Breakfast. This is where the word “break fast” came about as it was the first meal of the day after fasting.
Our body is usually either in a state of fasting or a state of feeding. Therefore, if we can extend the length of fasting, we are more likely to burn more energy. One of the more popular ways to fast is a “16 to 8”. Sixteen hours in which to fast and 8 hours for your eating window. Some people such as I, have chosen to do a 23/24 hour fast which is literally eating one meal per day. Obviously, you can extend these fasts to a 48-hour fast providing you are safe.
The main point of intermittent fasting is that you do not need to do this daily but 2 to 3 times per week as an average. I would recommend you start on 1 to 2 days at a shorter period and then build up depending on what suits you and your lifestyle as it needs to be something that fits in with you to be successful. My fasting is 5 days per week, and this suits my lifestyle. The most popular way to fast is to do this intermittently every other day and preferably a minimum of 18 hours fasting and a 6-hour eating window.
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Increase in Fat Burning Hormone – This means that we have a greater ability of controlling hunger and stops craving.
Decrease in Stress Hormone – Enables us to burn more belly fat.
Increased Brain Function – Allows us to gain better memory and concentration.
Boost in Metabolism and Energy
Reduced Risk in Diabetes and easing of symptoms
In men it increases testosterone.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity – Allows us to eat more and stay slim.
Decreased Inflammation – Enables our joints to heal better and feel better
Rapid Cleansing and Renewal – At a cellular level
Increased Growth Hormone – Helps Age Process
Types Of Exercise And Why?
Please find a synopsis of the time of exercise that is important for your body. I believe that you need all these elements in your workout plan within your exercise regime.
The plan changes dependent on your goals but will always incorporate these elements just in different ways.
Cardio Burn Calories
Strength Develop Lean Muscle
Core Build Strong Platform
Flexibility Reduce chances of injury, increase mobility, improve posture
Stretching Increase range of motion, improve athletic performance,
Decrease risk of injury.
The World Health Organisation suggests that for adults aged 18 to 64 to keep their bodies general physically fit that they follow these guidelines.
150 Minutes of moderate exercise weekly or 75 Minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week or a combination of both.
Adults should try to increase to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week for increased health benefits.
Muscle strengthening exercise should be done involving 2 major muscle groups at least two times or more per week.
World Health Organisation also state that regular and adequate levels of activity give the following benefits.
Improved muscular and cardio respiratory fitness
Improved bone and functional health
Reduced risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer), and depression
Reduced risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures
Fundamental to energy balance and weight control.
When To Exercise During Intermittent Fasting And Why?
To achieve maximum results not only is the type of exercise important but also the time of the day is crucial to getting to your goal.
The two different times to exercise is either
During Fasting State
But what are the differences and why would they be important.
Exercise During Fasting State
If you are looking to lose weight, then this would be the best time for you to exercise.
The reason that exercise is best during this time for weight loss is because during fasting your insulin levels are at their lowest. Exercising at this point, enables you to tap into your fat stores.
Your body is also likely to burn fat during workouts in your Fasting State.
Not only will you burn fat during your workout, but your metabolism is more likely to increase for the whole day gaining extra fat burning results.
It is important to note that in general you might not have the same energy especially when starting out on your intermittent fasting journey.
Therefore, I would recommend that you keep your workouts to 30 Minutes Maximum of a high intensity. This will ensure that you are not losing muscle but concentrating on burning fat.
When you are strength training at this time, you do not want to be training to your maximum. It is best to do a full body workout routine during this fasting window.
Important that when you are in your feeding window that you add in extra protein for both energy and muscle growth.
Autophagy (clear out damaged cells, regrow healthier cells) is increased during a fasting state so exercising will also enhance this repair process.
Exercise in Fasting State Is Not Effective for the following people
Poorer Performance – Certain elite athletes
Building Muscle – Body Builders
If you suffer with light headiness – Intermittent Fasting lowers blood pressure
If you experience fainting episodes – Fasting lowers blood sugar levels
This does not mean that you cannot do intermittent fasting but is more about when you plan your workouts.
Exercise During Fed State
The other time to exercise is therefore during your feeding window.
Exercising during this time of the day is best for people looking to build muscle as you are more likely to gain strength at this time.
At the same time if you want to do a more intense workout than exercising at this time when you have more energy in your body is more appropriate.
Bear in mind that your workouts will need to be longer and more intense to get to the same fat loss as if working out in a fasted state.
If you are looking to gain muscle and strength exercising during your fed state will give you best results as you can push bigger weights.
Summary of when is the best time
Best for weight loss (fat loss)
Avoid prolonged Cardio Sessions & Maximum Muscle Lifting Sets
Focus on overall body weight exercises
Better for strength gains
Burning fat needs longer more intense workouts
It is therefore important to plan your workouts around your fasting days. Some things to think about
Type Of Exercise
Type of food
I generally prefer to do my workouts first thing in the morning as this suits me and is more effective for my weight loss goal which is “Fat Loss”.
I structure my workouts in the following way for maximum results
Monday – Wednesday – Friday
Cardio Workout Followed by Yoga (Strength & Flow)
Tuesday – Thursday
Strength Training Followed by Yoga (Stretch & Tone)
Full Body Cardio & Strength Training – Long Session
I fast 5 Days per week Monday to Friday and eat only once during this time and fast 24 hours.
Saturday and Sunday I eat normally which consists of brunch and dinner.
It is important that you match your workouts to your goals and what exercise routine fits into your daily life.
If you require any further help or you have any more questions, then please let me know in the comments below.