Training In the Fasting Lane
By Nina Syahira
July 25, 2014
Fasting is when one restrains one’s self from eating and drinking certain foods or everything altogether for a specific number of hours. Your body has to depend on the energy stored from the food you’ve had at the start of the fast and nothing else until it’s time to eat again. It may last a day or more, depending. Some fasts are done for medical or religious reasons and some do it for political awareness.
During this time, many believe that our body’s metabolism rate is low, causing us to constantly feel tired and weak. Therefore, many completely rule out exercising and other physically strenuous tasks from their day while fasting. They don’t wish to risk working out at the gym on an empty stomach for fear of possible injury and would rather skip fasting to continue being able to train. After all, regular exercise and balanced diet are two important factors contributing to good health.
It may not always be easy to sustain yourself on a single meal and carry out your daily routine but it’s not too difficult either. So why do people still insist that fasted training does more harm than one might think?
It’s most likely they’re just getting it wrong.
They have either not been eating healthy before beginning their fast or getting enough the ZZZzzzz monster. Even on non-fast days, if you aren't getting enough sleep or eating properly, you would eventually feel tired too, right?
So let’s do away with those myths. Did you know that fasting is actually the perfect time for body conditioning? Your mental discipline will improve, you will gain more muscle and body strength, achieve the ultimate goal of fat and weight loss and even get to train your body to use the stored energy inside even more than before.
When you can afford to skip meals, you get to do more things, almost as if you have been granted with the gift of time. In this busy day and age, that’s a real bonus! While it’s alright to carry on with your regular exercise during fasting, you still need to do some adjustments. Follow our guidelines below to have a safe fasted training and learn how to gain the most out of it.
Lower intensity of training
Avoid cardio and focus on body conditioning. Have your intensive training period beforehand. During fasting time, it’s best to lower the intensity of your training and do the exercise for a shorter time than usual. This helps with your metabolism so that your body becomes trained to use fat as fuel during exercise, resulting in weight loss as well. Instead of cycling up and down hard terrains, go for a nice bike ride around the park for an hour.
Set aside a specific time for relaxation
Work, family and other issues may take up most of our time so we usually end up not getting that rest we need. Being productive is good but if you get too stressed with life, what’s the point? Fasting won’t be help either.So be sure to include enough alone time every day to refresh yourself. While exercising, keep your rest period in between sets long in order to reduce sweating and dehydration.
Stay hydrated and change your diet
Having a balanced meal is important but just because you’re eating less than usual during fasting time, it doesn’t mean you should gorge on food. It would be a much better idea to focus on certain foods during your meals outside of fasting. If you’re training after you begin your fast, ensure that you eat proteins with no carbohydrates if possible and have moderate doses of caffeine. This prevents you from doing exercises that are too intense. And always, always, drink plenty of water before and after fasting.
Photo sourced from bigdogrunningcom
Change your training time
If you can’t train while you’re fasting, don’t force yourself. Instead, go for your exercise at a different time. For example, those who observe Ramadan where they fast from dawn to sunset, they can choose to train after iftar [the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan].
We hope that you now understand more about the effects of fasting on fitness training and how much it can actually benefit you! Why not try it out and see how you go. Just remember to do what works for you. After all, you know your body best.
With SSBR & AHM 2014 (watch the exclusive preview!) coming closer, bring your training intensity down a notch by engaging in more conditioning workouts. Check out our Power Up! video series on Youtube for ideas, starting with the latest episode here!
For those observing the month of Ramadan, fasting is over! Check out our favourite Hari Raya snacks that we hope to see.
Looking for more ways to lose weight? Check out these 5 water sports that will burn fat fast or join a new activity or course here!
You don’t have to train by yourself. In fact, having a workout buddy can really help you perform at your peak every time you exercise. Find out why here!
Check out when are the best times to eat for good health!
Show off your fitness prowess at our Energy Rush event during NDP week!