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Intermittent Fasting & Exercise

By Miguel J. Ortiz

There is a big weight-loss fad going around known as intermittent fasting. There are some benefits, and it can help with losing weight. Intermittent fasting can create quality behaviors around eating and general discipline. Adding exercise can really fire up your metabolism. Keep in mind this isn’t a fad diet, it is more of a general term for various eating diet plans that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting within your day. So, how does it work and how can one appropriately apply exercise to an Intermittent fasting routine?

First, fasting has been around for quite some time, especially as a religious practice. If you have not tried fasting before, make sure to consult your nutritionist, dietician and/or physician prior to beginning any type of fasting. The reason intermittent fasting works well, especially in the morning, is because without food your body will begin using body fat and carb storage (pending on the type of exercise) to burn calories and can drive up other metabolic functions, which in turn increases your metabolism. Now, this sounds great from a weight loss perspective. However, when we start adding exercise we need to make sure we understand where we are within our health and fitness journey. Exercising on an empty stomach can cause some blood sugar issues. So, again, speak to your physician and or dietician/nutrition coach before starting something like this. And, consider these three tips when adding exercise to your fasting routine.

One, start with light stretching and general light activity, maybe some Pilates or yoga. Light walking around the neighborhood or on the treadmill is fine as well. Perhaps, some light strength training will work. Just make sure everything you do is under control and that you take your time.

Two, during all training types, and regardless of type of activity, quality breathing throughout all movements ensures good oxygen intake and keeps your heart rate under control. Hydration should be considered to allow quality muscle, joint and neuromuscular function as hydration allows the body to move quite fluidly.

Three, during strength training make sure that you’re getting quality rest between sets. Be mindful of circuit training if you’re not used to it. If you feel like your heart rate is getting too high, you may want to slow down or even sit down to allow easier blood flow.

Follow these tips when exercising while in a fasted state and you’ll enjoy your results while you absolutely kick start your day. I recommend doing exercise first thing in the morning if you’re doing it fasted. If you are used to the fasting and you tend to do exercise in the afternoon, just ensure quality hydration and a good post workout shake and meal before getting back to your day. Good luck and have fun with your fitness journey!

Miguel J. Ortiz is a personal trainer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the National Personal Trainer Institute and a Certified Nutritional Consultant with more than a decade of professional experience. He can be found on Instagram at @migueljortiz.

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