In the health scene, intermittent fasting (IF) is becoming increasingly popular. People who undergo IF typically see impressive improvements when it comes to weight-loss, fat-loss, energy levels and blood sugar.
But is training and exercising on an empty stomach safe? The answer is yes, but only with an effective meal plan and an intelligently-planned workout. So for those who are interested and considering implementing IF in your health and fitness regimen, here are some things you need to know before taking fitness on the fast lane:
1. Plan your meals according to your workouts
Taking the time and type of workout you plan to do into account will assist you in creating a more suitable meal plan that will sustain your training routine. For example, if you are doing a cardio exercise the next morning, you should stock up glycogen in your muscles by eating a higher-carbohydrate meal the day before.
2. Do low-intensity exercise during IF
During IF, your body has less fuel than usual and isn’t optimised to handle the demands of a high-intensity workout. In fact, a low-intensity workout during IF can facilitate the burning of fat for energy. That being said, if you feel nauseous, dizzy or weak during any form of exercise, stop what you are doing. That could be a sign of low blood sugar and persisting can lead to you passing out.
3. Prioritise protein
Your meals during the feeding period should be high in protein as they provide the amino acids required for the repair and growth muscles. It also goes without saying that you should also incorporate dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat to form a well-balanced meal, but protein intake should be of paramount importance.
4. Snacks and IF
Some IF plans allow some amount of snacking, so if that’s what you signed up for, be sure not to neglect it. Having a snack that is high in nutrients can help provide that little bit of energy to power through your workout. However, if snacking during IF isn’t in the cards for you, make sure that your re-feeds are enough to replenish your energy stores.
While IF does provide great benefits, it is important for you to determine whether the plan is suitable for you. Everyone has different bodies that react differently, and while some find IF easy to follow, others may find it more difficult to adhere to a fasting plan. Ultimately, if you do adopt IF as part of your health plans, do be aware of your limits and listen to your body.