Although it is generally thought that you should eat an hour or so before your workout to ensure you have enough energy to power through, intermittent fasting can have an abundance of advantages for your health. Exercising in a fasted state can help your body to shed fat at an optimal level. Here’s how it can help:
1. Set Right Your Hormones
Exercising with an empty stomach can be incredibly contributory to both losing fat and building muscle. This occurs in 2 main ways:
- Higher Insulin Sensitivity – Insulin helps us to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. Fasting can help make our bodies more sensitive to insulin by causing it to be released less often.
- Increased levels of Growth Hormone – Fasting naturally increases the body’s levels of GH which is responsible for burning fat and building muscle tissue.
Constantly stuffing our bodies’ with food, particularly if we have a poor, processed diet can be detrimental to the ways we produce and release these hormones. Fasting and exercising can be one of the most effective ways to reset your hormones and ensure you are getting the most out of your meals.
2. Absorb Post-Workout Meals Efficiently
Due to the useful hormonal benefits, you are able to absorb and properly utilise the nutrients from your other meals more effectively. Carbs, proteins and fats are used where they are needed while your body is less likely to store excess fat.
Over time, your body will become more competent in dealing with large meals and still minimally storing fat due to the optimal levels of hormones in your body.
3. A Few Important Tips
- If you are planning on trying intermittent fasting for the first time, be sure to ease yourself into it. Your body will not be used to skipping out meals and exercising simultaneously.
- Ensure that your diet is healthy and you are getting the nutrients necessary. Fasting throughout parts of the day and then eating a high sugar and fat diet will work against you rather than for you.
- Listen to your body. Everyone is different and some people may respond better to intermittent fasting than others. Although there are benefits to intermittent fasting, there’s no reason that you can’t have a small pre-workout meal before heading to the gym if that’s that you’re used to.
Essentially, this article’s aim is to dispel the myth that you HAVE to eat before your workout. There are certainly benefits to intermittent fasting when done in a controlled manner. Your diet and the times at which you eat are more flexible than you may think!