Last Updated: April 20th, 2020
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What is the recent craze of the fitness industry? One Word…IF
Or, Intermittent Fasting.
Basically, this means eating during a fixed period of time and fasting for a fixed period of time.
It has inherently a lot of benefits.
But, Can Runners adopt it? Absolutely!
Is It Good Or Bad To Run While Fasting?
In short, this depends on the runner. Fasting takes a lot of effort and has a ton of benefits like reducing fat, inflammation, and hunger.
It is also said to improve your longevity. However before including this in your lifestyle, you must consider whether you are pregnant, diabetic, have hormonal imbalance or have a high stressed lifestyle.
As a matter of fact, runners should consult with their coach and physician before implementing this.
This is because, their requirement of calorie is much higher that any average Joe and their dietary changes requires supervision.
What is Intermittent Fasting or IF?
In a lay man’s term, what I understand about Intermittent Fasting is, restricting your eating to only during a certain time of the day, week or month.
This means, you eat only between 12:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
For the rest of the time you are not eating.
Using this logic, we all are fasting in someway or the other.
After eating, when you go to sleep, you are basically not eating anything for the next 6-8 hours.
By definition it is fasting.
If you can delay your breakfast till after your morning run, then your definition of fasting will be accepted by the modern fitness world.
What is the difference between Fasting and Intermittent Fasting?
Basically nothing! in my humble opinion.
What gives me the authority to pronounce them as synonyms?
The fact that, I’ve been doing this since my childhood.
Do I hear disbelief in your voice?
Ok…I get it, you have heard about IF in the recent times….
But as many of my other readers will agree, fasting has been a part of most of the religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam from the very beginning.
And in many of them, it is mandatory to observe Fasting in some way or the other…
And as I’m a part of one of those communities, I followed fasting as a part of a ritual to seek blessing from the Almighty.
Who Created Intermittent fasting?
Definitely not Brad Pilon as he himself admits it.
Also, definitely, we cannot tell also….
But most of us do follow or have followed it at some point of our lives.
As a matter of fact, Some of my friends follow this till date to seek blessings for their family…
I know, this religous stuff is coming up now and again in this post…
But I was introduced to fasting as a religious ritual…
Believe me! I’m not a very religious person…So let’s leave it at that…
16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours in a day like the above example…Eat only between 12:00 PM To 8:00 PM.
Eat-Stop-Eat: Don’t eat anything between dinner of one day to the dinner of other day…
5:2 Diet: 2 days a week, eat only 500-600 calories.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are lots of benefits of Intermittent Fasting, like..
- You will burn fat. (Check this article from on weight loss through intermittent fasting from Wellthy Soul)
- Your longevity will improve
- It is proven to keep your brain active and healthy
- Reduces Inflammation
- May reverse or reduce the the risk of diabetes
- May be beneficial for Heart Health
- Induces Cellular Repair
- May help prevent Cancer
- May prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
- May Sync Circadian Rhythms and Fight off Metabolic Diseases
- May slow down aging process (This is a sure winner 😉 )
Who Should Avoid IF?
As with everything, Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone…
You should avoid intermittent fasting if
- You have a very stressful lifestyle
- If you have Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar Levels)
- Pregnant or Breast Feeding
Also you should stop fasting, if you see any of the below adverse effect…
- Your menstrual cycle becomes irregular
- Your ability to recover from workouts reduces
- You are not able to sleep properly
- You’re experiencing hair fall
- Your tolerance level is going down
Now that we have understood the basics of IF, let’s find out how it affect us, the runners…
What is it like to run and fast?
Running is a high performance sports.
It requires a tremendous amount of effort to perform at your peak both on-field and off-feild
By off-field I mean, you have to eat a lot of nutritious food to perform properly, for going through those straineous workouts and recover.
So, mostly, fasting should be able to improve your performance due to the aforesaid reasons but there is other side of the story as-well…
As with all the things new, people get too much excited like they have found a magic pill to all their health problems.
We don’t realize that, everything has a limitation.
This is same with IF
So, let’s say you are not eating for a long time, I mean really long time say 24-48 hours fast.
Next you try to run.
What will happen?
Your, body will try to utilize its existing resources like fat and muscles…
Yes! True!..You will suffer a muscle breakdown.
As a result you will become weak and your recovery system will give up.
But, if you are trying to follow this means running after a prolonged nightly fast. Then it should be OK.
This may work for most of the people, but if you are already following a training program, you should think twice before including it in your routine.
Even better. Speak with your coach or trainer before including it as part of your routine.
Also, including it during your off seasons is a better idea.
You will get sometime to experiment, without screwing up your training…
Also, be prepared to quit this regim, if you find any of the signs like, poorer performance, irregular sleep, late recovery, etc…
Fasting is a good thing to do. However, it is not a magic pill.
If a runner like you is considering to include it in your routine, you should weigh the PROs and CONs.
Your body’s caloric demand is more. So, going empty stomach for a prolonged period of time may be a bad idea.
And whatever, decision you take, first discuss that with your coach and physician.
Have a plan and gradually include it in your routine.
What is your take on this?
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