Does it happen for you to hear a new diet trend …
Only to discover that you’re already following it?
Well, it may not happen daily, but when it does, it feels like cosmic justice. That’s how I felt when I discovered intermittent fasting and working out.
You see, intermittent fasting allows you to eat just during specific time-restricted periods. And it may turn out that you’re already sticking to it.
So, if you’re a person that hates breakfast, then intermittent fasting can suit your needs perfectly.
There are lots of different ways to do intermittent fasting …
You can stick to the 16:8 diet, OMAD (one meal a day), the 5:2 diet, and so on.
We shouldn’t forget about intermittent fasting bodybuilding.
What’s the basic idea behind intermittent fasting?
The basic idea is to only eat between a particular window of time. For me, the 18:6 intermittent fasting is perfect, meaning that I fast for 18 hours a day and eat during a six-hour window (from 3 to 9 P.M.) daily.
Was it hard for me to start it?
It was quite easy, actually. And that’s because I didn’t enjoy breakfast anyways.
Related: Breakfast For Weight Loss: Why Is Breakfast Important?
However, there’s one thing that can bother you…
Intermittent fasting may affect your workouts. How much can it affect them?
Well, below, I’ll tell you everything about intermittent fasting and working out, especially intermittent fasting and bodybuilding.
Can You Exercise While Intermittent Fasting?
Yes, you can.
Should you do intermittent fasting to achieve your diet and fitness goals?
You see, if you want to stick to intermittent fasting, there are many ways to make it work with your workouts. But you should always consider factors like your age, overall health, fitness level, goals, nutrition, and lifestyle.
However, if you are a serious athlete, intermittent fasting might not be your best fit. And that’s because I don’t suggest combining intermittent fasting and working out, especially if you’re an athlete.
You see, if you work out a lot, your main diet goal should be to fuel your body. And that can be hard to do when you practice intermittent fasting.
Daily workouts put a lot of stress on your body and metabolism. And to support recovery, you must eat the right amounts of calories strategically throughout the day.
In the end, it’s not about if it fits your lifestyle and body since it’s very individual. And you should always talk to a doctor before you start any fasting plan or if you have any health concerns.
Intermittent fasting and working out can be challenging, but if you have the right knowledge and tools, you can make it easier.
When Should You Exercise While Intermittent Fasting?
You should always time your fast, so your workout happens at the end of it.
Will it be painful to hit the gym after a 16-hour fast?
It sure will …
But you’ll get used to it.
Typically, it will take a few weeks for your body to adjust, and you should take it easy during that time. But your body will adapt, and you’ll be more than fine to stick to your regular schedule, even when you’re fasting.
Keep in mind that you always have to drink a lot of water when you do intermittent fasting and workout.
How much water should you drink?
Well, you should drink one-half to one gallon of water daily. And if you sweat a lot, add an electrolyte tablet too.
More than that, you can maximize your weight-loss potential by saving your sweat session for the end of you fast.
Related: Keto For Weight Loss: How To Lose Ketogenic Diet For Losing Weight?
Studies show that it takes 10 to 12 hours to deplete your glycogen stores and switch to mainly burning fat. That’s why working out at the end of your fasting time means you’ll use more of your stored fat for energy.
Even more, being primed by your workout, your muscles absorb protein and nutrients better from your “breaking the fast” meal.
That’s why you should always listen to your body and recognize when you can push harder on your workouts or when to back off a bit. If it’s not the sweet-type of pain, you should stop doing it.
Personally, I hit my workouts in the middle or towards the end of my fasting period. But you can do them whenever it suits you best.
You see, breaking the fast with a snack before your workout isn’t such a big deal …
And if it helps you exercise longer and harder, then you should definitely do it.
What’s your main goal when you workout?
To have enough energy to finish your training properly. That’s why you shouldn’t go through your workout feeling miserable.
What should you eat?
Well, try to avoid processed pre-workout drinks, powders, and bars. And eat whole-foods snacks instead (i.e., whole-grain toast and almond butter).
Intermittent fasting and working out (especially bodybuilding) can be fun if you have the right knowledge of what to eat.
Related: 14 Best Foods For Weight Loss: What Foods To Eat To Lose Weight?
Can You Build Muscle While Intermittent Fasting?
If you get enough protein and nutrients from your diet, then your muscles will recover properly. So, if you think that intermittent fasting will put your muscles on hold, you have to know it’s not true.
One interesting thing is that over the past year, I started tracking my body fat percentage and lean muscle mass, and I’ve dropped 3% body fat and gained four pounds of muscle. It seems like intermittent fasting works well on building muscle, even if I’m just a study of one.
What Should You Eat To Break Your Fast After A Workout?
You see, every meal should be nutrition-wise since you eat fewer of them. That’s why you should stick to unprocessed foods like meats, vegetables, and fruits.
You don’t want to undo your hard work in the gym by eating crappy food …
So, what should you eat after your workout?
A mix of protein and carbs should do the trick. For recovery and muscle growth, you can go for two scoops of whey protein and some fruits, or you can go for a smoothie with whole fruit, spinach, yogurt, and nut butter.
Remember, always make sure to eat enough calories to fuel your body and your workouts.
How many calories should you eat?
Well, that depends. And you should speak to a sports dietitian to discover your body’s needs.
Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss: Will Exercising While Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose More Weight?
Usually, weight loss is the main reason you might want to start intermittent fasting. And you think that adding daily workouts could help you lose those extra pounds faster.
Related: Weight Loss Tips For Women: Best Way To Lose Weight For Women
However, this thinking pattern could backfire …
You see, extra workouts increase your hunger and can make fasting feel harder.
If you want to lose weight, all you need to do is be in a calorie deficit. And there are many diets to help you with that if you stick to them properly.
So, if you overeat during your eating window (while you do intermittent fasting), then you’ll gain weight for sure — even if you don’t work out.
Can The 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?
If you’re not careful, you can eat all your daily calories (and even more) in just a couple of meals. And it could be a problem for you if you’re aiming for weight loss.
But if losing weight is not your primary goal, then you’ll still need to follow what you eat and control your meals. In this way, you might also need to rethink the number and intensity of your workouts.
Even if you do intermittent fasting, you should always aim for slow and steady weight loss so it can be sustainable.
If intermittent fasting and working out makes you feel miserable, then you should stop IF immediately.
Related: How To Do Intermittent Fasting On Keto: Keto Intermittent Fasting Plan
You see, it takes a few weeks for your body to get used to any new routine. So you can’t know for sure if it works if you don’t wait enough time.
However, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone.
But how do you know if it is for you?
Well, if you feel mental fog, obsessive thoughts about food or weight, weakness, and exhaustion, then you should consider interrupting the intermittent fasting.
More than that, feelings of depression or burnout, insomnia, stress injuries, extreme muscle soreness, or slow recovery after your workouts are also signs of stopping intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting, especially if you’re under-eating, can lead to increased risk of injury, lowered bone density, and mental illness.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to achieve your health goals. And if intermittent fasting isn’t helping you reach them, then you can always move on and try different options.
Test, test, test …
It’s all about testing and discovering what works for you because everybody works differently.
Pros And Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
When you decide to start intermittent fasting, you need to know it has the following pros:
- Optimizes and extends your body’s natural cleansing process.
- Improves your alertness and attention.
- Lowers body-wide inflammation.
- Reduces the risk of illness and promotes longer, healthier life.
- Promotes mindfully eating patterns.
- Improves your sleeping patterns.
However, intermittent fasting comes with a series of cons too. These may include:
- Day fasting may interfere with focus.
- Potentially lower job performances.
- Fasting could interfere with your social life.
- Unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels after months of fasting.
- Cravings for pizza, rich desserts, or French fries when you’re on non-fasting days.
Related: Carb Cravings: How To Stop Carb Cravings?
As you can see, intermittent fasting and working out can be beneficial for you if you have the right knowledge and tools to manage both of them.
If you want to discover more about intermittent fasting and other restrictive diets (such as Keto), the 28-Day Keto Challenge (read here my full review) should be your go-to option.
In this book, you’ll find everything you need about intermittent fasting, including delicious recipes, to make your journey more comfortable and more enjoyable.