Running While Intermittent Fasting – Is It Right for You?
Intermittent fasting is a popular approach to dieting and weight loss, and many have wondered if it is possible to combine running with this type of fasting. Given the research, it’s possible to maintain your performance while intermittent fasting as long as your overall nutrition intake, training, and recovery are in check.
A small study of 23 runners suggests that while intermittent fasting can reduce body mass, it does not impact running performance. Bottom line: Shorter, easier workouts can be done whilst in a fasted state, and longer and/or high-intensity workouts cannot.
What to Know Before You Start Fasting and Running
If you aren’t sure what to do when it comes to combining intermittent fasting and running, we recommend you start with a 16:8 or 18:6 fasting interval. These fasting schedules are the easiest and most sustainable, and require that you fast for 16 or 18 hours and then eat your meals within the remaining 8 or 6 hours. This type of fasting is known as time-restricted eating, and has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss, reducing inflammation, and improving overall health.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and Running
On the contrary, there are also some who champion the practice of intermittent fasting as a way to improve running. Below are some pros and cons to consider:
- Weight loss: Intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective way to lose weight for many people.
- Improved body composition: Intermittent fasting can help you reduce body fat and build muscle.
- Improved performance: Some studies have found that intermittent fasting can improve running performance.
- Nutritional deficiencies: If you are not careful, intermittent fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
- Dehydration: Intermittent fasting can cause dehydration if you are not careful.
- Muscle breakdown: If your calorie intake is too low, intermittent fasting can lead to muscle breakdown.
Can You Run While Fasting?
Yes, it is OK to work out while fasting because the key to weight loss and muscle gain is not just calories and exercise, but hormone optimization. Studies show that intermittent fasting can increase levels of growth hormone, which is important for building muscle and burning fat. It can also increase levels of epinephrine, which helps to increase fat burning.
That said, if you are a beginner, it is best to start with shorter, easier runs while in a fasted state, and longer, high-intensity workouts should not be done in a fasted state. If you are an experienced runner, you can try longer, more intense workouts, but it is important to make sure you are taking in enough calories to avoid muscle breakdown.
Tips for Successfully Combining Intermittent Fasting and Running
- Start slow and gradually increase your intensity as your body adjusts.
- Make sure you are getting enough calories to fuel your runs.
- Stay hydrated and make sure you are getting enough electrolytes.
- Try to run in the afternoon or evening, when your body is in the fed state.
- Listen to your body and adjust your schedule as needed.
Intermittent fasting and running is reported as a great way to get lean without going on a diet or cutting your calories, while also building muscle. However, it is important to make sure you are getting enough calories and nutrients to fuel your runs, and to listen to your body to ensure that you are not overdoing it. With the right approach, you can maintain your performance while intermittent fasting.
What are the consequences of running while fasting?
Working out in a fasted state might seem like a good plan to stave off fatigue, but studies show it can put a lot of strain on the body. Training without fuel can lead to higher cortisol levels, exhaustion, slower recovery, more abdominal fat, and inflammation throughout the body.
Is it possible to do cardiovascular exercise while practicing intermittent fasting?
Doing low-intensity cardio before breaking your fast is a good way to boost your energy levels and burn fat without compromising your fast.
Does exercising without eating cause more fat to be lost?
Studies suggest that when fasting, the body burns fat for energy instead of glycogen, which could potentially aid in weight loss. One study found that those who worked out while fasting experienced greater fat loss compared to those who exercised after eating.
Does intermittent fasting have long-term benefits for health?
Extended periods of not eating, like 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours, are not always beneficial for your health and can even be hazardous. Prolonged fasting could cause your body to start saving more fat as a defense mechanism against starvation.
Looking to enhance your intermittent fasting journey? Check out Fasting Books for a wide range of books, guides, and meal plans to help you achieve your fasting and weight loss goals. You’ll find expert advice, delicious recipes, and plenty of tips to help you get started and stay on track!