Intermittent fasting and exercise
Combining intermittent fasting (IF) with a consistent exercise routine can be a game-changer for your fitness and health goals. At The Fast 800, we know that diet and exercise go hand in hand, which is why our Programme contains not just meal plan and recipes, but fun exercise videos to follow along to, too. In this article, we’re exploring the relationship between IF and exercise routines, and letting you know how to fuel your body during your eating windows to support your physical activity.
Aligning IF with your exercise routine
Integrating intermittent fasting with your exercise routine is all about understanding how different types of workouts interact with fasting and feeding states. The ultimate goal is to optimise both your workout performance and the benefits of IF.
High intensity workouts: It’s best to schedule strength training or high-intensity (HIIT) workouts sessions close to, or within, your eating windows. Exercising when you’re fully fuelled on energising healthy fats and muscle-building protein can provide the necessary energy to keep you going during demanding workouts. Post-workout, it’s essential to consume a meal rich in protein and complex carbohydrates, like the kinds of foods enjoyed in a Mediterranean-style diet. This aids in muscle recovery and muscle mass maintenance, as well as replenishing of glycogen stores depleted during intense exercise.
Low impact workouts: If your preference is lower-intensity workouts like yoga, Pilates, or light cardio, then performing these during your fasting period can actually be an advantage. Exercising in a fasted state has been shown to enhance fat oxidation, potentially boosting fat loss and improving metabolic efficiency. However, it’s crucial to listen to your body and adjust accordingly, especially if you feel lightheaded or unusually fatigued
Regardless of the intensity of your workout or the timing of your fasting window, staying properly hydrated is essential for optimal performance and recovery. So make sure you always have water to hand during fasting and eating periods, especially if you’re planning on exercising!
Consider the timing of your workouts in relation to your IF schedule. Some people find that morning workouts during the fasting period suit their lifestyle and energy levels best, while others may prefer evening workouts closer to their eating windows. The flexibility of IF allows you to experiment and find the schedule that aligns best with your body’s responses and your personal preferences.
What to eat during eating windows
The key to supporting your exercise routine while on IF is focusing on nutrient-dense foods during your eating windows. Getting in the right amount of macro and micronutrients is going to help keep you energised for your workouts, will aid with muscle mass maintenance during weight loss, and will help the repair process after exercising. With that in mind, prioritse:
- Protein: Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. We recommend consuming 60g of protein a day even on fasting days, whether that’s through food or supplement shakes. Lean meats, oily fish, eggs, tofu and plant foods like spinach are all good protein sources to eat alongside exercising.
- Complex carbohydrates: Small amounts of complex carbs can be crucial for restoring and providing energy. Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables instead of refined carbs.
- Healthy fats: Eating healthy fats is important for hormonal health and satiety, helping keep you full during fasting periods in particular. Avocados, nuts, seeds, full fat dairy and olive oil are all good sources of healthy fats.
- Fibre: Eating high fibre foods like beans, quinoa, whole grains and cauliflower before exercising can enhance your ability to work out, and help to keep your digestion moving along so you’re not weighed down by bloating.
Empowering Your Fitness Journey with Intermittent Fasting
By aligning your fasting schedule with your workout routines and nourishing your body with the right foods during your eating windows, you can significantly enhance your physical performance and overall well-being.
Sign up to your 7-day free trial of The Fast 800 Programme now, to gain access to our range of exercise videos for all abilities and work out intensities. As well as gaining access to our exclusive fasting-friendly recipes and meal plans catering to your dietary needs and chosen intermittent fasting approach, to ensure you’re getting in the proper daily nutrients to support your fitness journey goals.