Intermittent Fasting and Working Out

picnic table place set with no food

As time goes on, we learn of new ways to change up our nutrition and fitness game. Some methods and techniques work so well for some that others begin to get curious if their lives could be changed with a few dietary shifts as well. As of recent years, a dietary trend that’s been sweeping the fitness world by storm is intermittent fasting. Developed as a unique approach to mindful eating times in an effort to support portion control, intermittent fasting has been a very popular diet of choice lately. But a common question that pops up when people learn of intermittent fasting is how this diet can affect workout routines. Does it help or hurt your fitness goals to exercise while fasting? Let’s learn about intermittent fasting and how it can play a role in our physical fitness.

woman outdoors stretching before exercise

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Part of the reason intermittent fasting has become as popular as it has is due to the diet’s practicality. Many people will begin intermittent fasting in order to lose weight, simplify their diets, and make progress in their health battles. Intermittent fasting is cycling through periods of fasting and eating in order to moderate excessive eating and control portions effectively. While there are numerous variations of intermittent fasting, the two most common intermittent fasting methods include:

  • 16/8 Method: The most common style of intermittent fasting, this strategy encourages fasting for 16 hours and eating for only 8, such as from 12 pm – 8 pm.
  • 5/2 Method: This style of intermittent fasting will involve choosing two days of the week to go a full 24 hours without eating and eating normally the other days of the week.

Intermittent Fasting and Working Out

In reality, it’s not very uncommon to work out after fasting. In fact, it’s very common for people to prefer to work out in the morning prior to having breakfast, which is the moment we break the fast from the previous day. If you’re planning to exercise while fasting, proceed with caution because it affects everyone a little differently. Intermittent fasting does wonders for reducing an individual’s overall caloric intake, but as we know, calories provide the energy needed for your workout. Planning your workout around your intermittent fasting schedule may even be easier than planning workouts around many smaller meals. Intermittent fasting and working out can go hand in hand with mindfulness and attention to your body’s needs.

Tips for Exercising While Fasting 

If you feel that you could benefit from intermittent fasting and working out during your fitness journey, here are some tips for making sure you approach this goal with caution and mindfulness.

  • Make sure that during eating periods you still consume nutritionally dense foods that will fight cravings during your fasting periods and support overall health goals.
  • When exercising while fasting, the goal shouldn’t be to build muscle. However, lifting is still great for overall fitness. The goal during any fasting diet period should ideally be weight loss which is still possible while strength training.
  • Try to schedule your workout within your eating periods. This will assure that you have enough energy to get a worthwhile workout in and not get burnt out too quickly. 
  • If you’re intermittent fasting and one of your workouts needs to happen during the fasting period, opt for fun cardio workouts like JCF to optimize your body’s fat-burning ability.

While intermittent fasting and working out is a great method for losing weight and getting control over eating habits, safety should always come first. Speak to your doctor before beginning any intense diet or fitness regime to make sure you’re getting your physical health ready for progress and success.