Fasting has been around for ages, though more people have become aware of its benefits in recent times. In the past, it was associated mostly with monks and religions. It is seen as a cleansing process because of the many sacrifices and discipline that is involved in it.
Although the decision to fast should be personal, intermittent fasting has become a popular means of weight training. This is because fasting leads to a series of metabolic changes that can help monitor and control a person’s weight.
Regular fasting begins after the human body's complete metabolic absorption which usually occurs between 2 to 5 hours after eating. If you are interested in applying this method for maintaining or losing weight, read on to learn how to do intermittent fasting during weight training.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
One of the most popular types of fasting is intermittent fasting. It involves abstaining from food for short periods.
These time intervals are usually less than 24 hours. It is sometimes called an energy-restricted diet plan because of how it regulates one's daily energy, and calorie intake and use. This makes it the perfect fasting plan for weight trainers, and it is highly effective in weight control. Below are some instructions and tips on how to go about intermittent fasting.
1. Follow The Alternate Days Method
Only a few highly-disciplined weight trainers can follow this intermittent fasting regimen. It requires a high level of discipline to stay committed.
This method involves, as the name implies, alternating between days when fasting. It simply means that you are going to eat one day, on and off. In other words, you will abstain from food for 24 hours after eating in a 24 hours window.
For obvious reasons, this method is challenging for most people. However, once you start following this feeding regimen, your body and mind do adjust, and you will come to enjoy it. The alternate-day method is very efficient when it comes to weight training and weight loss, and can help improve heart health.
How To Do Alternate-Day Fasting
Since the idea of alternate-day fasting reduces what you consume by half, you need to know the average number of calories you consume daily and then plan to stick to half of those calories in two days.
Some call this approach the modified alternate-day fasting approach. Most people who follow the alternate method of fasting follow this approach and, on average, consume 500 calories in 48 hours.
Consuming only 500 calories in two days is quite impressive, and you can do this too. In fact, most of those who engage in intermittent fasting have come to love this method, compared to other ones that involve daily routine food reduction, because it allows them to follow a controlled diet.
Weight trainers have also found this method handy in reducing body mass, which is a major goal of workout exercises and other muscle training activities.
Technically speaking, when it comes to intermittent fasting, you can follow two different methods.
- Complete alternate-day fasting: This method requires that you consume nothing that will give you calories on days selected for fasting. So you will eat nothing on such days while you will eat on days that you are not fasting. Only people with great control over their will-power should engage in this type of fasting.
- Modified alternate-day fasting: This second method is actually for people who want the benefit of alternate-day fasting but lack the will-power to stick to it completely. It involves consuming up to 25% of the overall measured calories consumed for non-fast days on fasting days. It is simply feeding on low calories during fasting.
2. Follow The Regular Fasting Method
This method is sometimes called the whole-day fasting method. This usually involves fasting consecutively for days, which means you have to go for more than 24 hours without food. People who engage in this type of intermittent fasting select certain days in the week when they do not eat, while consuming their regular calories every other day.
So, for instance, you can decide not to eat for three days in a week, while you eat well in the remaining four days of the week.
Only few people can stay committed to this type of fasting, and they will have to stick to the strict rules and refuse to take any calories during the days of fasting. However, most people usually follow the easy way out by eating about 25% of the calories they would normally consume for non-fast days on the days they select for fasting.
3. Follow The Time-Restricted Fasting Method
The restricted fasting method involves eating only at a selected number of hours in the day. It is usually a plan which consists of picking a number of hours of active feeding and resting at hours of metabolism.
Some people choose a 10 hour daily feeding regimen and abstain from consuming any calories for the remaining 14 hours of the day. You will have to find out what works for you and then stick to it.
Apart from informing you about the different fasting methods, it is also vital to equip you with tips on how to carry out the intermittent fasting methods you choose. Below are a few general tips on how to fast intermittently.
General Tips On How To Fast Intermittently
1. It is Safer To Practice Short Fasting Periods
This is the first and most important rule you have to note. Never overdo it. Excessive fasting can bring about adverse health effects, so before you start, you should know that irrespective of whichever methods you choose to follow, you shouldn't stick to fasting for more than a few days or hours.
Fasting for weeks nonstop, irrespective of the type, can cause health issues such as ulcers, fainting, moodiness, and lack of focus. As a result, fasting that involves you eating 25% of calories on fasting days may be the best for your health.
So, don't push yourself if you discover that your body is not wired to stay off food altogether. A better alternative if you must do prolonged fasting is to do time-restricted dieting. However, if you must follow a long fasting regimen without following the 25% calorie rule, you may have to seek medical monitoring as you undertake your fast.
2. Eat Safe Amounts During Fasting
It is always ideal that irrespective of the style of fasting you choose to practice, you always place your health over personal will. In other words, always prioritize your health over any other fasting rule. It is not necessary to do the complete alternate fasting before you see results.
In fact, it is advisable to begin with a safe, short fasting regimen if you are just starting out. Even for someone who is experienced, it is still advisable to take only 25% of the calories they regularly consume for non-fasting days on fasting days.
To get the correct calculation, you will have to calculate the daily total number of calories you take before fasting commences, and set a 25% diet plan that will carry you through your fasting periods.
Doing the above will ensure that your fasting does not seem like punishment, as the 25% calories will take care of the feeling of hunger that is often associated with fasting.
3. Drink Water Periodically
Most people underestimate the role of water and keeping the body hydrated during fasting. They end up having health issues such as headaches, fatigue, dehydration, and sour mouth as a result of dryness.
You need to know that intermittent fasting doesn't clash with hydrating your body. Taking water doesn't add any calories; therefore, you can take as much as you can while fasting. Your body needs adequate hydration to carry out most catabolic and anabolic processes, especially when you are undergoing weight training.
Therefore, it is advisable to consume a minimum of 2 litres of water and fluids during 24 hours of fasting. This, however, is not a rule. What matters the most is that you pay attention to your body signals and drink commensurately to your level of thirst during fasting.
4. Engage In Low Energy Consuming Activities
The truth is that your mind will tend to think a lot about food and the things you are missing out on when you choose to fast; this is why intermittent fasting is difficult.
You also tend to feel hungrier on days designated for fasting. To overcome this challenge, get involved in activities that will take your mind off the fact that you are fasting. You can go for a walk, spend time meditating, do Yoga and other exercises that chase away boredom and focus your mind.
Avoiding food on fast days can be difficult, especially if you are feeling bored and hungry. If all of these tactics do not work, you can always take a cool bath and sleep. This might help because a refreshing shower will cause the body to relax, and sleeping will conserve energy.
5. Eat Light When Breaking Fast
A lot of people are tempted to feast while breaking their fast because of the intense hunger they feel just moments before the time for fasting is over. Don't fall into the trap of eating massive amounts of meals immediately after a fast.
You should break your fast by consuming something light. It can be fruit, beverages, or any other light meal. After that, take a short break before eating your main course.
Doing this will help your body adjust and give you time to metabolize your body fat. If, on the contrary, you choose to break your fast with a feast, you may end up feeling bloated and gain the weight you thought you had lost because of the excessive calories you’d end up consuming.
After a period of food restriction, it can be tempting to celebrate by eating a huge meal. However, don't give in to the temptation; otherwise, all your efforts will just be in vain.
6. Know Your Limits
Knowing your limits is a significant aspect to note when fasting. It is vital that you know your body, and then desist from pushing the limits of your body. Never turn fasting into a competition. Let your body be the judge of how long it can withstand a fast.
The moment you start feeling unwell or receive signals that your body is entering distress, it is better to stop fasting. Watch out for signs such as headaches, lack of focus, and even irritability during fasting. Once these signs become obvious, you should immediately stop fasting, and take something light. Doing this just might save you a trip to the hospital.
7. Watch Your Diet
Most people fast because they want to lose weight. However, to achieve better results with fasting, it is better to combine food and fitness for healthy weight loss.
It is smart to watch your diet when fasting because your diet can significantly affect your fasting efficiency. It is more helpful to eat a lot of protein and take in fluids during fasting, and stay off foods that are rich in fat.
Most weight trainers employ the service of a nutritionist to make protein-specific diets for them because they know the muscle-building effect of protein consumption.
8. Eat Healthy When You Are Not Fasting
While fasting is often engaged in for health rewards, you should also know that eating healthy on days you are not fasting is the secret to keeping your weight loss and health in check.
Fasting is an emergency approach to checkmate non-healthy feeding habits. However, it is healthy eating habits that will sustain the benefits derived from fasting.
So, check your diet; make sure you include classes of food rich in vitamins, preferably vegetables. Doing this will save you from future fasts and keep you healthy in the days to come.
9. Take Supplements During Fasting
Supplements are neither foods nor drugs; they are bodybuilders that increase the body's overall fitness. When you choose to go on a fast, your food regimen is affected which, in turn, affects the quantity of the essential nutrients your body has access to and can use.
It is, therefore, crucial that you take supplements to help augment this shortage and boost the intermittent fasting results. The average supplement is rich in vitamins, calcium, and iron, which your body needs for agility, strength, and to boost the body's immunity against illnesses.
The many advantages of intermittent fasting cannot be overstated. However, to get the most out of it, you need to know how best to go about it. Following the guide above will ensure that you practice intermittent fasting safely. It is also advisable that you engage in intermittent fasting periodically, especially when weight training, so keep these tips in mind to make sure that you stay in top shape.