Variations of Fasting and Impacts on Training

Fasting is the absence of all kinds of food & drink. People fast for different reasons, in different ways (intermittent fasting, religious fasting, day fasting etc…). The multiple variations of fasting will be discussed in this article below.

This is a topic that can be quite controversial, as many people follow different variations of fasting and most techniques have a different impact on the body, or their health.

  • Day fasting, or weekend fasting etc, touch on benefits and explanations of all
  • Compare all and see how it relates to training, and also impacts on health/energy levels etc
  • Conclusion

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. For example, everyday you open your fast at 13:00 and close it at 21:00, meaning between 21:01 and 12:59pm you are fasting.

The times can differ, but it is important to maintain a time gap (usually 8hrs) where you can eat, and then the remaining 16hrs you are fasting (otherwise known as the 16:8 rule).

This type of fasting can provide many benefits, including weight loss, fat loss and disease prevention. Although intermittent fasting (IF) having benefits, it also has its downfalls:

  • Hunger throughout the days
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Cravings for unhealthy foods

Effects on Training

The main challenge that occurs during fasting, and how it impacts training – is that, the body needs fuel to function efficiently. Fuel = energy, and energy will come from the carbohydrates that you consume throughout the day. Fasted workouts could create an unsatisfactory workout, as the energy is low.

Above is one argument against intermittent fasting and workouts, showing that it can create a lacklustre workout. However, other studies can show that completing a fasted workout can provide many benefits, fat loss being one of them. If you exercise without eating or drinking anything, it means the body has to rely on stored fuel, which is glycogen and stored fat.

Personally, I tend to train whilst fasting, when I’m aiming to lose weight – as it can allow you to burn fat quicker.

Religious fasting

In a couple of religions, there are days where they fast. For example, Islam. In Islam, it is obligatory to fast during Ramadan, this would be from dawn until dusk and usually lasts 30 days.  

During this time, training can still be achievable. It can create the same effects as IF (lacklustre workouts etc), however, you can also control weight gain or loss by the food that you consume. Given that you are fasting for the majority for the day in this example, the foods that you eat when you open the fast are critical to maintain energy levels, blood pressure etc…

48 hours fasting

This is another variation of fasting, and one that is very interesting – this could work by eating/drinking normally Monday-Friday and then Friday night is the last meal until Monday morning, and that will be the complete 48 hours.

With this fasting, drinking zero calorie fluids is allowed due to the length of fast. Keeping hydrated is imperative during this kind of fast, and after the fast is complete, it is important to slowly re-introduce food to ensure bloating, nausea and diarrhoea won’t occur. It’s common to complete the 48hr fast once or twice per month.

The bottom line

In conclusion, there are many ways of fasting and each can benefit you in a different way.

As shown in this article, fasting can provide many health benefits:

  • Supports blood sugar management.
  • Help disease prevention
  • Support weight loss

This can be a good way for people who are stuck in their routine and looking at different ways to reduce fat, weight loss.

Also, there are training benefits of fasting (as explained):

  • Better endurance when fasted training.
  • Controlling hormone optimisation.

Hopefully this has allowed you to obtain more knowledge on fasting and the different variation, as well as the impact on training, as well as health benefits.

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