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Don't Eat and Exercise

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Part 2 of my Eating and Exercise post - who knew there was so much information out there and all of it disagreeing about whether you should or shouldn't eat before your exercise or exercise while you are fasting. 

Here is the research I did on....

FASTING BEFORE EXERCISE OR EXERCISING ON A FAST DAY

The “Don’t Eat before” camp have numerous scientific studies and journal articles appearing every day which all say various impressive good things about training while fasting, some excerpts below:

-        “working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight.”

-        “running on empty can make the body better at using its energy stores. “

-        “exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”

-        “training for 30 minutes on an empty stomach can be really beneficial, so long as breakfast is consumed afterwards to ensure muscle recovery and to support your metabolism.”

However, some of the main fasting research suggests that on a full fast day (36 hours of 500 or 600 calories) you should restrict your exercise to less vigorous versions (so it’s safe to suggest if you have a race, ride or event, a bit of the right kind of fuel before is still recommended).

Eat 1200 calories a day Funny Quote

There is also growing research into Post-Workout Fasting which claims that fasting after exercise maximises a rise in human growth hormone (HGH) which influences everything from bone density to muscle mass. Fasting causes an increase in HGH already but when combined with intense exercise the increase is multiplied.

I’ve gone back to practicing the 5:2 diet for the past few weeks so I have been trying out running or exercising at different times during a fast day.  Today I am in the 3rd hour of fasting after a run this morning to and it’s not going too badly, I don’t feel especially extra hungry than I do on normal fast days, my run was on a par with the speed I usually go. Earlier this week I ran in the evening of my fast day, aside from the fact it was much harder to motivate myself to go out of the door in the first place, I also didn’t feel any detriment to my performance and certainly no crippling hunger pangs. If anything you feel a bit more energised when doing it on an empty stomach.

I’ve also been looking into a new kind of fasting where you have an “eating window” during the day from 12 to 8pm and then fast from 8pm until 12 the following day. I’m going to give this a try – will keep you posted!

As seems to be the way with most things diet related, no one agrees with each other completely and there is medical opinion to back up both sides of the fence of whether to eat before exercise or not. If you are going to eat, eat sensibly and don’t eat anything new or out of the ordinary for you. If you aren’t going to eat, you can still have tea or coffee (it’s actually recommended) and make sure you still hydrate properly.

*This is my interpretation of others research, so apologies for any errors or omissions. You can see the articles I used for research on my Pinterest board by following the link below along with a daily increasing amount of funny memes and graphics about carbs (I just can’t help myself). https://uk.pinterest.com/worrylessdesign/eating-and-exercise/

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