What does exercise look like during a fast? While safety should always come first, a variety of workouts are excellent complements to routine fasting.
Our bodies have the wonderful ability to adapt to what’s available. When we fast, we deplete much of the stored sugar (glycogen). Our muscles then become much more efficient at using fat for energy. Simply put, our muscles learn to burn fat, not sugar.
So, what does exercise look like during a fast?
Do everything you normally do during fasting. If you normally exercise, or even if you don’t, you can still do it during fasting. Whether you fast for 24 hours or 40 days, you can still exercise. Your muscles may take up to 2 weeks to become fat adapted, but during the first 2 weeks of fasting, you may need to take it a little easy, but you should quickly recover after that.
I would recommend cardio on an empty stomach, so early morning exercise works well if you’re fasting. But choosing the right foods the night before is crucial.
Bearing in mind you are going to exercise, you should plan what to eat the evening before, depending on the intensity of the workout. For example, you may want to build your glycogen stores with complex carbs for dinner the night before so that you have readily available energy for a cardio workout. You never want to do cardio on a full stomach, as the sudden demand for blood flow from the muscles will steal vital blood flow needed by the digestive system for digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
When it comes to fasting and exercise, there is nothing more important than listening to your body. One risk is really low blood sugar. So, if new to fasting and working out , I would recommend a low intensity work out where you are working at a low-percentage heart rate.(walking)
The key is to plan ahead so your nutrition can meet the demands required by the intensity of your workout.
So, there you have it. Go easy, plan your meals accordingly, and most importantly: Listen to your body.