Workout and Exercise During Intermittent Fasting

Wondering if starting your new intermittent fasting plan will bump you off your exercise and workout routine?

If you have been researching ways to lose those pesky extra pounds on the internet you might’ve come across the term “Intermittent Fasting”. 

From health experts, fitness gurus, and your favorite A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, and Kourtney Kardashian it seems like everyone is swearing by the effects of this eating plan. 

Intermittent Fasting is an exceptional eating plan or dietary schedule that allows you to map and distribute your eating and fasting practices. 

This exceptional meal plan is not only celebrated for its weight loss benefits but also for its contribution to improving your overall health and preventing serious diseases. 

But abstaining from food and indulging in a calorie deficit diet can often lead to one feeling fatigued and weak, making it quite difficult to undertake an intense workout and exercise regime. 

Believe it or not, working out and indulging in light exercises like cardio can help optimize the benefits of intermittent fasting. 

If you are someone who wants to make the best of their intermittent fasting plan by exercising and working out but doesn’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. 

Here is a complete guide to safely and effectively workout and exercising during Intermittent Fasting to achieve the best results.

Can you Exercise and Workout During Intermittent Fasting?

To simply answer this question, yes, you can definitely work out and exercise during Intermittent Fasting. 

However, the type of exercises and workout regimens your practice and the intermittent fasting schedule are something you must think of wisely. 

There are several variations and schedules you can choose from when practicing intermittent fasting which includes 16/8, 14/10, 20/4, and even 5:2 intermittent fasting where you can only consume about 1,200 calories a day. 

Hence, selecting the right type of workout plan or exercise is imperative when practicing a calorie deficit and restrictive diet plan like intermittent fasting. 

In fact, you should also consider and plan out at what time you will be performing your workouts and exercises based on your Intermittent Fasting Schedule. 

But if you feel fatigued or weak, especially if you are working out in a fasting state, it is best to set your meal plans based on your national needs and requirements. 

If you begin to feel fatigued or weak after working out or exercising it is best to stop immediately to recover.

When to Workout and Exercise During Intermittent Fasting?

Determining the right time to work during Intermittent Fasting is exceptionally important in order to achieve your goals. 

The timings for your workouts and exercises should be based on your health goals since the rules and eating schedules for weight loss will be much different from muscle building.

Here is how you should workout and plan your Intermittent Fasting routines based on your health-related goals:

Weight Loss:

When you’ve not eaten for a prolonged period of time like fasting overnight, your body begins to use stored fats in the cells as fuel. 

A calorie deficit when combined with workouts and exercises can help you lose more excess body fats when compared to working out in a non-fasting state. 

According to research, you have higher chances of losing excess weight while performing fasted exercise, you tend to eat less food.

Building Muscles:

While fasted-state exercises help you rapidly lose excess body fats, this form of exercise might not be great for building muscles or gaining strength. 

This is because gaining muscles is based on a high nutritional intake and an abundant supply of proteins. 

Muscle protein synthesis is a process that helps you build muscle mass but muscle protein breakdown is completely the opposite. 

When your body is in the muscle protein synthesis state, you are in a muscle protein positive. But, during the fasting state, your body goes into a muscle protein negative. 

This is because you tend to lose muscles when you are fasting or have an empty stomach which can lead to you losing muscles instead of gaining them. 

In order to stimulate the muscle protein synthesis state you will have to eat both before and after working out and exercising. 

This is because the “anabolic window” is a state where eating after strength workouts helps you gain more muscles as you become more sensitive to proteins. 

If you are practicing the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan it is best to work out and strength-train your eight-hour eating window to achieve suboptimal results. 

Furthermore, it is best to indulge in intermittent fasting foods that are high in proteins like legumes, fish, egg whites, and chicken to help aid the muscle protein synthesis process.

Exercise Performance:

While there are significantly fewer research studies on the differences between fed-state and fasted-state exercise performances, a review indicated that there is no or less difference between exercising empty stomach and after one more meal. 

This is when your workout or exercise regime is between an hour and an hour and a half long which goes both for both high-intensity workouts and low-intensity workouts. 

A great way of enhancing your exercise performance for strength or performance training is by practicing the “train-high and compete-low concept”. 

This means training the most during your fasting state of intermittent fasting with low glycogen levels in order to train your body to use fat cells in the body as fuel. 

However, if you want to indulge in a cardio exercise for high-peak performance like aerobics it is best to eat first and exercise later.

What are the Pros and Cons of Working out and Exercising during Intermittent Fasting?

If you are someone who is considering working out and exercising during intermittent fasting, weeding out the potential pros and cons is imperative. This is because there are some pros and cons to exercising during the fasting stage.

 Research indicates that exercising and working out while practicing intermittent fasting can affect the biochemistry and metabolism which is linked to insulin sensitivity and helps the body manage steady blood sugar levels. 

Another research indicates that immediately exercising after eating right before digestion and absorption occur can help people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. 

According to a review, another upside of working out and exercising during intermittent fasting is that it helps you lose weight quickly by utilizing stored fats and carbohydrates called glycogens as fuels. 

But along with the benefits, there are also certain downsides and cons of exercising and working out during intermittent fasting. 

Firstly, along with losing excess weight and body fat, working out in a fasting state can also lead to you losing muscle mass and feeling fatigued.

Some Tips and Tricks to help you Safely Workout and Exercise During Intermittent Fasting:

If you are someone who is set to try and continue their workout regimen even during Intermittent fasting but do not know how to begin, do not panic. 

Here are some easy tips and tricks you can follow to reap the most benefits of working out and exercising during intermittent fasting:

Manage the intensity:

While a rigorous workout is a great way of achieving visible results quickly, it may lead to extreme fatigue and weakness, especially during intermittent fasting. 

Hence it is best to conserve your energy and indulge in lighter exercises specifically when you tend to exercise in the morning or in the middle of the day.

Think about Timing:

Another aspect to consider is the timing of your workout schedule during intermittent fasting. 

The time you exercise or work out after you have eaten or fasted during intermittent fasting can definitely affect your results. 

The best schedule suitable for working out and exercising is the 16/8 intermittent fasting eating schedule. 

This plan allows you to eat up and fuel during the 8-hour eating window and fast during the remaining 16 hours.

Stay Hydrated:

Staying hydrated is a great way of avoiding dehydration, fatigue, and nausea especially when you are working out during a calorie-deficit eating plan like Intermittent Fasting. 

In order to safely work out and exercise during intermittent fasting you must drink at least eight glasses of water a day and check your urine gauge to see how hydrated or dehydrated you are.

Eat the Right Meals:

Your workout goals and health goals require different forms of nutritional content to help you achieve desired results. 

For example, if you are someone who is strength training or looking to gain muscles it is best to indulge in a protein-rich diet and carbohydrate-rich diet about 20 minutes after you workout.

Listen to your body:

Lastly, it is best to take cues from your system and listen to your body when working out or exercising during intermittent fasting. 

It is best to avoid working out for a while when you become nauseous, light-headed, or begin to feel faint and indulge in a light snack to replenish and reenergize yourself.