Table of Contents
If you’re trying to get the best possible results from intermittent fasting, then you have to incorporate exercise. Whether it be resistance training or cardio, adding some type of exercise will speed up your weight loss exponentially. The remainder of this article will provide you with an intermittent fasting workout, and tips to make sure you’re doing things correctly.
You might already be on some sort of paid diet plan, but this article will allow you to craft your own. The main topics covered are exercising timing, a workout template, and beneficial supplements.
Working Out While Fasted
Exercising in a fasted state is among the most effective ways to lose weight. Intermittent fasting helps set up a caloric deficit, and pairing this with exercise will only increase this deficit. There’s no doubt that this combination is super effective, but you want to make sure you’re doing things correctly to preserve lean body mass.
There are two factors in particular that you must evaluate when you combine fasting and working out.
How long you’re fasting. The longer your body goes without food, the more calories you will burn.
How intense your workouts are. Or in other words, roughly how many calories do you burn in each gym session?
The reason you should consider these factors is because you don’t want to burn an excessive number of calories. Losing weight too rapidly will likely result in muscle mass, and lean tissue is your friend.
To put this into an easier perspective, imagine that you’re fasting for 16 hours each day, which is pretty standard. Going 16 hours without eating will certainly help you set up a caloric deficit, but it wouldn’t be as intense compared to a 20-hour fast. For this reason, a person fasting for 16 hours each day can exercise more intensely than the latter.
The most optimal time to exercise is during the fasting period. If your workouts are high in volume and intensity, you should prepare to break your fast right after your workout. Although this is not necessary, it’s mainly so that your body gets some protein, you can also take BCAAs as well.
If you’re struggling to figure out a time to work out, there are two fool-proof ways you can go about it. You can either workout right before the meal that breaks your fast or right after your last meal for a given day.
Both options ensure that your body has enough protein to repair the damage from your workout. One is right after a meal, while the other is right before a meal. It does not matter which option you choose, but I recommend breaking your fast right after your workout. In doing so, you replenish your body with a lot of calories and much-needed protein.
The most effective way to set a schedule is to exercise in the morning. After your last meal of the previous day, you will sleep and workout the following morning. By this point, it should be time to break your fast, and you can have a nice post-workout meal.
Fasting Workout Template
A lot of people are misinformed when it comes to intermittent fasting, but it’s truly effective when paired with exercise. As mentioned previously, you have to make sure you have a plan to not only lose weight but maintain your muscle mass.
The following graphic serves as an intermittent fasting workout template. If you’re struggling to get started and need a full-proof way to lose weight, then this will help you out.
Now, just in case the graphic is too vague for you, I will provide some detail on the workout itself. The following is an effective plan that you can use to easily lose two pounds each week.
This implies training with weights. For the best results, look into an upper / lower training split or a PPL routine. Try to train with weights 3-6 times each week to build and maintain muscle mass. Below is an example of a three-day weight training routine that is particularly effective.
Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
Wednesday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
Friday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)
Pick out a program for detailed exercises, but the outline above is an example of balanced training. If you’re training three days a week, your workouts will be higher in volume and intensity compared to someone training more frequently.
For the most effective results, implement low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio. A great example of LISS cardio is incline-walking on a treadmill. You don’t want to do HIIT or anything that takes up a lot of energy because if you’re training fasted you’re already burning a lot of calories.
Recommended treadmill settings when doing fasted cardio:
These settings put you at a brisk walking pace which burns between 200-300 calories every half-hour. Of course, the number of calories you burn is dependent on how high of an incline and speed you choose.
Tips For Fighting Appetite
I know, sometimes you just want to devour your entire fridge after a long fast. Truth be told, the feeling of hunger (which is actually your appetite) will get worse if you choose to incorporate exercise. Don’t let that scare you though, there are several ways to curb your appetite when you have a few hours left.
Caffeine – Whether you’re getting it as black coffee or zero-calorie pre-workout, caffeine is fantastic. There is probably no greater supplement for suppressing your appetite. If you can tolerate caffeine, it’s certainly a good tool to utilize when fasting.
Go to sleep shortly after your last meal – The best way to prevent those late-night cravings is to go to bed early. Generally, this implies getting some shut-eye shortly after your last meal. In doing so, you will likely not feel as hungry because you’re awake for less time.
Drink a lot of water – Filling your stomach with water is the best way to curb your appetite. Aim for 64-128 fluid ounces of water each day, and drink a glass each time you feel the hunger coming on. Water is your best friend when you’re fasting because it’s zero calories and great for bodily function.
Make your last meal your largest – This is completely up to preference, but eating a large final meal will keep you full if you have a busy night ahead of you. Of course, you don’t want to binge eat, but try to fill yourself up with your last meal. This especially applies if you workout after dinner.
Shorten your fasting window – Maybe you were too ambitious and started out with 20-hour fasts. If this is the case, start small and go back down to 16-hour fasts. Once you’re comfortable you can work your way up, but 16 hours is a great starting point. Again, this tip does not apply to everyone.
You’ve probably seen success stories about intermittent fasting muscle gain and fat loss. This is no fad diet, simply a change in your eating pattern, and it definitely works. The rumors that you can lose weight while maintaining or building muscle are completely true because I’ve experienced them myself.
By following this plan, you can expect to lose a minimum of two pounds each week. You should have no problem achieving this number if you’re doing everything properly. The intermittent fasting workout template above is designed to help you build muscle mass while you’re losing fat.
There’s no doubt that you might lose more than two pounds each week if you’re following this plan. If you’re extremely overweight, then this is normal, but if you’re slightly overweight then you need to slow things down. Generally, it’s best to lose two pounds each week at most.
Combining fasting with exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight quickly. Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that helps set up a caloric deficit, and exercise, of course, burns calories. If you’re someone who struggles with losing weight or needs to lose weight quickly, the workout above may be very beneficial for you.
Fasting and working out is particularly effective when you’re trying to get very lean, or if you’re very heavy from the start. When you’re lean, about 8-10% body fat, it becomes hard to keep losing weight as your body starts hanging on to the essential fat. If you’re not eating, it’s easier to reach the calorie deficit you need to get even leaner.
Lastly, none of the information in this article should be considered medical advice. Intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight for many people, but that does not mean it will work for you. Make the lifestyle changes at your own risk, and do extensive research before you adopt a new pattern of eating. If you have any doubts, consult your physician or a registered dietician with questions or concerns.