Working out while fasting can be a great strategy to get lean if done correctly. You need to know when to work out and fast to get the best result. Here’s some commonly asked questions about working out and fasting at the same time.
In general, is it okay to work out when on a cleanse/fast/lower calorie diet, why or not?
Yes, it is okay to work out when on a cleanse or fast, but you want to time the workouts so that you’re energized when you do them.
You should always be consuming enough calories to be able enjoy being physically active! It may be lower than your usual amount but it is not healthy to cut calories so low that you’re completely exhausted and unable to do anything. If you can’t exercise, chances are you probably can’t think clearly either — which will affect your performance at work and your personal relationships. So when making a calorie “budget,” consider all of the above and include enough calories so that you can perform all of the activities that are important for a healthy body — including exercise, mental clarity, and good quality sleep.
Should I try different workout when I’m fasting?
You can try different workouts when you’re fasting, but if you want to get lean you should have a set routine that’s targeted towards lean body fitness.
It’s great to work out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning (assuming you’ve had a filling dinner the night before that will carry you through.) If you’ve been fasting for more than a day I would stick to low intensity exercises like Pilates and yoga that don’t burn a lot of calories but have great strengthening and toning benefits. If you feel energized on a particular morning from a great dinner, then head into a 20 or 30 minute run for maximum fat burn.
Are there some types of workouts that you should skip while fasting?
If you’re fasting, you want to skip workouts that you aren’t accustomed to. This is due to the added strain from operating on a calorie deficity.
Trying to do a high intensity workout or a strong run when you haven’t eaten in days is not ideal because you simply won’t have enough energy to execute the workout correctly. The point of HIIT is giving 100%… but if you’re fasting it’s unlikely you have 100% to give! So on these days stick to walking, Pilates, yoga, and light weight training.
Are there any tips for how someone can make sure they are energized enough for their workout while fasting?
If you’re fasting and you are unsure if you are energized enough for your workout, simply start slow and build up to a high intenstiy.
Stay in tune with your body. You will know if you feel too weak to exercise. You do not have the energy for a workout if just picking up your legs or lifting your arms feels like an exhausting task. If you feel faint and like you’re about to pass out during the first 10 minutes, you should probably rest or eat an apple for some quick carbohydrate energy. If you’re determined to workout, then make sure you have eaten something that gives you energy in the workout– like a piece of fruit, a handful of dried fruit and nuts, or a cup of oatmeal with a bite of dark chocolate.
Is there anything I should do to make my workout safer while fasting?
If you’re fasting and want to make your workout safer, try to keep in mind what works best for your body and implement it. If you get dehydrated more quickly, be sure to replenish fluids. If you tend to be stiffer, stretch out your body before going hard. Make sure to take care of your body when you’re in a fasted state so you don’t get hurt.
Any other tips for working out while fasting?
If you’re fasting and also working out, I would recommend to make note of the signs your body is giving you. One important thing to note is that you should always be cognizant of the amount of food you’re eating (and not overeat) but do not obsess over calories consumed every day per se. The best way to lose weight is to do it slowly and instead of going “cold turkey” and fasting or cleansing, eat a little less at each meal until you become used to the new smaller amount. Then continue to repeat the process until your body is able to function on a healthier amount of food and calories.
This way you will be able to lose weight for the long haul. If you just drink juice for 7 days, you will lose weight but once you go back to your usual habits you will gain all the weight you lost back. Remember, you can “cleanse” with healthy whole, single-ingredient foods as well… and likely start enjoy eating them in the process. That way you can continue your new clean eating habits instead of quitting or giving up!
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.