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Intermittent fasting: benefits.

Intermittent fasting has been a hotly debated topic to this day. Knowing its benefits is essential, as it can help people of all profiles (whether they are athletes or not). In this article we tell you in detail what it consists of.

Intermittent fasting: benefits.

Getting to know intermittent fasting

Actually, you could say that this method is a form of dieting, considering the periods free of food intake. In itself, it involves eating within a certain window of time and fasting the rest of the time.

But what does intermittent fasting actually do? In a nutshell, it can enhance weight loss, which is of great interest to those seeking to achieve this goal. Scientific evidence also indicates that fasting can help achieve greater mental focus, can reduce blood pressure and oxidative stress, as well as increase insulin sensitivity (a very important point in preventing diabetes).

If you are an athlete, you may be wondering whether, in addition to the above benefits, this method can also boost your athletic performance in particular. The answer is yes, because fasting can enhance the phenomenon of autophagy, promoting cell renewal and discarding the oldest cells. It also reduces the use of muscle glycogen. In itself, it seems that with this method you can teach your body to make better use of fats, being more efficient when practising certain sports (such as endurance races). 


Intermittent fasting methods

If you want to try intermittent fasting, you should be aware of several approaches. Of course, the one that suits you best will depend on your training hours, the type of exercise you do and other factors. A professional can help you make a dietary plan by adding fasting adapted to your sport.

One of the most popular methods is to fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining 8 hours. You can achieve this by, for example, skipping dinner and breakfast the next day. All kilocalories would be consumed between noon and 8 pm. Alternatively, some fasters prefer the 5:2 method in which you eat only five days a week and fast for two days in a row. On fasting days, only 500 calories may be consumed as a limit, a practice that is a bit drastic and perhaps not recommended for those who train vigorously.

The bottom line, if you are an athlete, is that when incorporating fasts into your eating schedule, it is best to include them once every seven days. The reason behind this is that most athletes should have at least one full rest day per week. On this rest day, the fast day can be added, and if the fast is to be broken, it should be with a small meal of healthy fats and vegetables, so as to keep calories to a minimum, keep insulin low and allow the body to use fat for fuel.

What about doing sport first thing in the morning without breakfast?

You've probably also heard of exercising first thing in the morning without breakfast. The idea is that this practice depletes your carbohydrate reserves, forcing your body to use fats as a source of energy for the rest of the day. However, when doing physical activity on an empty stomach, we advise you to always choose simple aerobic exercise, such as a gentle run or walk first thing in the morning.

As we have already mentioned, it is essential to carry out intermittent fasting with a professional. Otherwise, you may experience unwanted effects such as loss of muscle mass or decreased performance.

Published in 3/4/2021
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