If you’re a lover of the gym or a good workout, you probably already know the importance of eating enough protein and carbohydrates to keep the energy up during a workout. You may have a protein shake that you swear by or just make sure to eat something healthier before or after your workout.
In recent years, though, a new eating style has been making waves on the fitness scene: intermittent fasting. But just what is intermittent fasting? And is it safe to do while following a workout regimen?
Let’s get into this trend and how to make it work for you.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
If you haven’t even heard of intermittent fasting, you’re probably pretty confused right now. No worries, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
Intermittent fasting is the act of setting a specific time window within which you eat. These time windows vary from person to person and depend on the fitness goals and/or dietary needs of the individual participating.
For example, one person may have a 10-hour window of time where they eat. During that window, they will eat all of their meals. After that time window is up, they will not eat anything for the remaining 14 hours of the day, until tomorrow’s 10-hour window begins.
In a way, we all participate in mild fasting between dinner and breakfast. Or midnight snack and breakfast. That’s actually why it’s called breakfast because you are literally “breaking the fast” of the night prior.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Why would people limit the amount of time that they can eat?
Intermittent fasting has shown some benefits for people, but the jury’s out on whether it’s beneficial or plausible for everyone to do. The biggest theory as to why it could be helpful for weight loss is that it gives your body more time to fully digest your food and to settle into a calorie-burning rhythm.
The more time you go without eating, some believe, the more time your body has to burn fat.
Is It Safe to Work Out While Fasting?
So, is intermittent fasting and working out safe to do at the same time?
The answer is yes if you do it correctly.
The fact is, there aren’t any studies done on muscle mass being gained while eating only two meals a day. The biggest concern here is protein and nutrition, and making sure your body has the fuel it needs to sustain a healthy workout and recover afterward.
How to Exercise While Participating in Intermittent Fasting
What is the “correct way” to exercise while participating in intermittent fasting?
There are a few tips and tricks to making sure your body is burning calories while maintaining that lean muscle mass. Here’s how you can ensure that you’re working out in a healthy way.
- Eat enough protein to maximize muscle-building within 8 hours. This means eating around 0.7 g of protein per lb.
- Try to train in your eating window, meaning grab a snack before your workout.
- If you want to train while fasting, make sure to get enough amino acids before your workout and end your fast with a quality protein snack within an hour after your workout.
You Know Your Body Best
Ultimately, nobody knows your body and its limits like you do. There are some benefits to participating in intermittent fasting and working out, but there could be some drawbacks if you don’t participate safely and ensure you’re getting enough nutrients during your window.
If you want to try it, go for it. If it sounds awful, you’re probably not missing much.