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Intermittent Fasting and Exercise – The Truth

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise – The Truth

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People consider food as the sole source of energy and a common question I hear all the time is “is it feasible to participate in intermittent fasting (IF) and still exercise”? As a baseline of information on IF you can read these articles in the series (How Intermittent Fasting Works and Where to Start With Intermittent Fasting). Most people think it would be impossible to fast and workout during the fasted state. So, what’s the truth?

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise – Let’s Talk Insulin

Well, let’s start at the beginning so that we can work forward. When you eat, insulin is released and increases throughout your bloodstream. This is a message to your body to process as much of this food as possible for quick energy.

Woman doing a jump lunge in front of a white wall

The rest is saved as glycogen (sugar in the liver). Basically, this is a collection of unused free sugars. Insulin’s main function, in a simple way, is to jam fat burning. This is done through using or, in the alternative, storing the sugars for future use. Because it is a storing mechanism, it doesn’t easily allow energy back out (which is the key to fat-burning).

Let’s Figure Out How to Reverse the Fat Jam

So, what happens for the duration of intermittent fasting? Well, it’s just the reverse procedure. During feeding, you burn food energy.  However, through fasting, you are finally able to burn energy from your stockpiled food (fat and sugar). For a fasted body, when it comes time to utilize the stocked sugar in your body for energy, the liver begins breaking all the chains and initially drains stored sugar or glycogen. After that energy is consumed the body moves on to burning fat for energy.

Woman doing yoga near glass window

So, let’s bring this back around to the topic of intermittent fasting and exercise? Exercising within the fasted state forces the body to utilize its energy systems.

IF moreover triggers the body’s sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is looked after for our fight response. When the SNS is triggered, heart rate and muscle pressures increases while digestion decreases. During fasted workouts, the triggering of the SNS requires an expanded utilization of fat for energy.

As an added benefit, fat oxidation rises for approximately 24 hours after an IF workout. IF exercise doesn’t need to be difficult, as a matter of fact, most of the benefits of fasted exercise can be accomplished by doing a light aerobic workout in a state of glycogen reduction. That may be a 30-minute walk or trek, a stress-free swim, or even just a steam bath session. The key is to get going and increase your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes.

Person using black battle ropes for exercise.

The capacity to do high-intensity exercise while intermittent fasting will differ significantly among people when they begin this lifestyle, so talk to your coach before trying such workouts. As you get more and more with IF the ability to engage in high-intensity exercise will increase. As with most things, just start slow and listen to your body.

Energy Levels During the Intermittent Fasting State

Can intermittent fasting be the energy-boosting secret you have been looking for? It’s no wonder that athletes will attempt anything and everything to sustain their energy levels and remain on track. The key advantage of intermittent fasting is that it makes your digestive system work in a lot more organized manner.

Besides weight loss, the lesser-known advantage of intermittent fasting is the potential for an incremental increase in your energy levels. Eating numerous times throughout the day triggers the digestion system to go through its cycles of digestion. This requires energy to engage in the digestion.

Woman lying on top of cliff.

Ultimately, you either use fuel that you consume for either immediate energy or for future use through storage in your cells. Your energy and mental mood are directly impacted by the food you eat.  Post-consumption, you will often experience these after you use the consumed food for either immediate energy or storage. After this allocation has been made your blood sugar levels will drop. This triggers a “hunger signal” and the entire procedure begins all over once again. Eventually, through the use of intermittent fasting your feelings of hunger will begin to soften, making you less hungry and more energetic. These higher energy levels make it easier for you to reach your fitness goals and allow you to better stay on track.

Increase of HGH During a Fasted State

The physiology of intermittent fasting is interesting. The influence of intermittent fasting lies not solely within the decrease of calories, thereby reducing insulin, but the advantageous hormonal changes in cortisol, nor-adrenalin, and growth hormone. Together, these are known as the counter-regulatory hormones, since they all assist to raise blood glucose at a time that the body is not receiving sugar after nourishment.

Role of Human Growth Hormone

Now we will discuss the impact of human growth hormone (HGH). Intermittent fasting has cellular and hormonal aids. When we fast, certain hormonal variations occur. Human growth hormone (HGH) is the core hormone influenced by intermittent fasting.

Research illustrates that intermittent fasting leads to increases in HGH levels. IF has been shown to increase your HGH levels by as much as five times over. It can offer assistance in optimizing HGH levels in two fundamental ways. First, it can assist you to drop body fat, which further influences HGH generation. Second, it will keep your insulin levels low for most of the day because insulin is discharged only when you eat. Regularly elevated levels of HGH is imperative for athletes due to its anabolic impact and its capacity to assist muscles improvement rapidly.

HGH Deeper Dive

HGH is a hormone made by the pituitary organ (the master gland), which plays a significant part in the typical development of kids and young people (as the name implies). But, it isn’t just for kids – it too can play a major role in the longterm health of grown-ups.

Curly haired boy in red polo standing in front of water.

HGH deficiencies in adults can directly result in increased body fat, lower body mass, and diminished bone mass. HGH has long been known to assist with muscle-building and fat-burning (remember the major league baseball drama from years ago).

Once released by the pituitary organ, HGH lasts only for a few minutes in a circulation system. HGH goes to the liver after that for digestion and is changed into other growth factors. Growth hormone discharge decreases steadily with age.

So, why do HGH secretions Increase when Fasting?

The reply for this is often that under normal conditions, HGH advances the synthesis of incline muscle and the capacity of glycogen as well as fat. Though, when you fast, expanded levels of the hormone excite the breakdown of fatty tissue since your body needs that fat to produce energy. How does it work?

The increment in HGH throughout fasting makes a difference to protect your glycogen storage muscle tissue by utilizing your stored fat instead. Breakdown of fat releases your stores of glycerol and fatty acids. which are then digested to create energy. Research shows that HGH levels, which are created by the pituitary organ, increase remarkably within 13 hours after beginning a fast.

Conclusion – Intermittent Fasting and Exercise

Therefore, intermittent fasting is beneficial for both your mental and physical health as it boosts your energy as well as increases your growth hormones. This increase in energy allows you to engage in your normal exercise routine even during the fasted state. There is no need to adjust your lifestyle around the fasted periods. Once you become acclimated to the fasting lifestyle you will see for yourself.

And if you want to read more about Intermittent Fasting check out these articles!