When Should You Work Out While Intermittent Fasting?
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Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on April 06, 2019
Expert Content This article contains content contributed by an expert in their field.

If you’re wondering when is the best time to work out while Intermittent Fasting, then you’re probably trying to fit your regular exercise windows into your fasting schedule.

So, if you’re looking to find out how best to time your workout while fasting, then you’ve landed on the right page.

This article is going to take a detailed look at fasting and exercise, and bring you some expert commentary from Intermittent Fasting expert Max Lowery.

We’re going to break this article into the following sections:

• What is Intermittent Fasting?
• What’s the Best Time to Work Out While Intermittent Fasting?
• Expert Comment on Working Out While Fasting
• Anything Else to Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already familiar with the basics of Intermittent Fasting.

In case you didn’t know, Intermittent Fasting is simply a protocol of splitting your day or week up into periods of ‘eating’ and ‘not eating’.

Basically, it’s all about integrating periods of fasting into your day to reap the many proven benefits for your health.

People choose to try Intermittent Fasting for a number of reasons, from helping to improve energy levels, to weight loss.

It’s become incredibly popular in recent years, as the modern world becomes more health conscious.

You always speak to your doctor before thinking about trying Intermittent Fasting, and that’s especially important if you have an underlying medical condition or an eating disorder.

Workout
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What’s the Best Time to Work Out While Intermittent Fasting?

If you’re just getting started with Intermittent Fasting, then it can all seem a bit daunting.

First you have to work out when your ‘fasting’ and ‘eating windows’ will be, and that’s before even thinking about how to fit your workout or regular exercise into the schedule.

Put simply, there is no ‘best time’ to train while fasting. The ‘best time’ to work out will always be when best it can be fitted into your schedule.

That said, many people choose to extend their overnight fast, and then break their fast immediately after their morning workout.

For example, you may choose to have your last meal at 6pm, train at 7am the next day and break your fast at 8am after your workout. That would be a 14-hour fast, with a workout incorporated.

HIIT training
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People often incorporated workouts into their fasting periods because ‘fasted exercise’ (training on an empty stomach), is claimed to have a number of benefits, although the research backing this up is not really wholly convincing.

Simply put, it all depends on your schedule. You’ll have to adapt your routine for what works best for you, taking into account when you can work out and how long you’re looking to fast for in total.

Check out our separate article if you’re wondering whether your pre workout will break your fast.

Expert Comment on Working Out While Fasting

Max Lowery
Max Lowery (Photo: Tom Joy)

Max Lowery is an online health coach, personal trainer and founder of 2 Meal Day, the simplest, most effective method of Intermittent Fasting.

We asked Max about the best time to work out when Intermittent Fasting to get his expert answer to the question.

Max says: “The answer to that question is the same for people who are fasting or not fasting – the right time to work out is the right time that fits into your schedule.

“When it comes to whether there are benefits of fasted exercise, yes there are. It improves metabolic flexibility, which basically means that you get used to using the right fuel source for the right exercise intensity.

“For example, on a day to day basis, when you’re doing low intensity things like jogging or longer-duration endurance stuff, you want your body to use fat as a fuel source.

“If you’re always eating before your workout, you won’t tap into the fat, you’ll used the food (for energy). Equally, (fasted exercise) gets your body better at using your stored glycogen and stored carbohydrates, making you more sensitive to carbohydrates, which is a good thing in terms of it having a bigger reaction with energy levels.

“When it comes to weight loss, it’s a bit of a myth that just because you do fasted exercise, you’re going to lose more weight. That’s not necessarily the case and there isn’t really much research to suggest that, although it does serve a purpose.

“Fasted exercise is quite a complicated thing – it depends on your goals. If you’re really focused on performance, it’s definitely something to incorporate as a tool – but not do every single session and not when you want to perform at your very best.

“If you’re just doing it for general fitness and you feel better training on an empty stomach, then do it. It really depends.”

You can hear more from Max in our in-depth interview.

Anything Else to Consider?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, you should always speak to your doctor before thinking about trying Intermittent Fasting for the first time.

You should not try Intermittent Fasting if you have an underlying medical condition, are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

As you can tell, there are no strict rules when it comes to working out while fasting.

There are many benefits to fasting, but timing your workout all depends on when it works best for you.

Generally speaking, it is probably most common for people to choose to time their workouts for the very end of their fast, eating again immediately after training.

But as we have stressed from the beginning of this post, there is no rulebook when it comes to this.

Use common sense and speak to a personal training professional if you are in doubt.

Weight training
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Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of our look at when is the best time to workout while Intermittent Fasting.

We’ve walked you through the basics of Intermittent Fasting and also some of the principles of fasted exercise.

We’ve explained how there is no ‘ideal’ time to workout while fasting. It all depends on when works for you.

That said, many people opt to break their fasts immediately (or just soon) after a workout in the morning.

Intermittent Fasting expert Max Lowery has also offered his take on this question of exercising and training while fasting, which is claimed to have a number of health benefits.