Nut Lab #9 | Training on fasted: When to do it and its benefits
Intermittent fasting seems to be on the rise, but what is fasting?
We refer to this term when we abstain from calories (solid or liquid) for a period of time. If we think about it, we all involuntarily fast at night. It is very common to go 6-8 hours without eating or drinking, usually from the time we finish dinner until breakfast time.
In addition, there are many scientific studies that support the benefits of longer fasts, especially in the treatment of diseases or in the field of sports. Prolonged fasting is most often referred to as fasting for longer than 12 hours. During this time, liver glycogen (the glucose or sugar stored in the liver) will be the body's main source of energy, leaving glucose levels low.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
If we combine 12 hours of intermittent fasting with low intensity training for more than 45 minutes, we will be able to benefit from this, because:
1- It generates metabolic adaptations that will be key for those who want to prepare for long-distance races, i.e. we will be able to be more efficient with the use of glucose during physical exercise.
2- It helps the consumption of fat as fuel during physical exercise. By this we do not mean that we will be able to lose weight, as it is just as important to exercise (at any time of the day) as it is to keep active and follow good eating habits. Rather, we will be able to provide more energy from fat than from carbohydrate. Remember that fat provides more energy than carbohydrate, 9kcal vs. 4kcal.
3- It helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, in other words, it helps to maintain a good number of "healthy" bacteria and limits the overgrowth of "bad" bacteria. This will create a digestive environment that will help control the body's inflammatory responses, as many of these responses are synthesised in the gut.
4- It reduces sensitivity to insulin, enabling good glucose tolerance to be maintained.
5- Increases the synthesis of endorphins, increasing the hormone of happiness.
In short, intermittent fasting can be a good tool to improve sports performance, but it is not the only one. We can find other ways to promote metabolic adaptations such as: "Sleep low, training twice a day, long training without carbohydrates intake...".
It is important to maintain a good training plan, to take into account the intensity of your training, to complement it with a good nutritional plan and above all with a good rest.