Why Should We Drink Water | What is Water Fasting | Water Fasting Benefits | Exercising during a Water Fast | Permitted Exercises during water fast | Not Permitted Exercises during water fast | When to Resume Workout During or After a Water Fast
Are you a fitness fanatic who ever wished to work out while on a water fasting? Can I Workout or Exercise During a Water fast? You must be having a lot of incredulity about this idea. The concept of exercising during a water fast may have struck you in awe by now. In this article, we will elucidate some aspects of the topic “working out during a water fast.”
Joggled! Right? How can anyone hit the gym while on a water fast? Well, the simple answer is “yes.” You can very well do the workouts, but with some caveats. The foremost essential point is to listen to your body. Does it allow you to do the workouts comfortably, or is it getting you overexerted? Since fasting causes weakness and exhaustion, a little caution may be warranted when carrying out the workout routine on an empty stomach.
Is it Safe to Exercise during a Water Fast?
The answer is ‘yes’! If you are on a water fast for less than 36 hours, it is not required to adjust your workout regimen. However, you have to get yourself acclimatized to exercise without a pre-meal nibble. Start with a low-intensity workout if you feel giddy. Research has shown that there is no change in performance if you work out for less than one hour while on a water fast.
But if you are on a multi-day water fast, you need to hydrate yourself with electrolyte supplementation and modify your schedule when required. For example, you can perform your workout normally on the first day of fasting, but eventually, you need to lessen your intensity on the following days.
While exercising on a water fast, the foremost factor to consider is to check the effect of the exercise and how it affects your energy levels when you are water fasting.
Since the human body requires a constant supply of glucose when it is exercising, it uses the glycogen stored in the liver and body muscles. Gradually, the body exhausts the glycogen stores and shifts to fat stores for more energy. In such a scenario, high-intensity workouts during a water fast may lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. This may result in weakness, light-headedness or even fainting.
Long-term water fasting may result in a reduction in your endurance when in a fasted state. According to a study, even the bikers got worn out when being on a water fast for 24 hours. Hence, to complete your workout, you need to add a dash of sweetened syrup and some sea salt to your water to get some energy and adequate sodium when you are on a water fast.
Doing strenuous or high-intensity exercises while on water fasting is not at all a good idea. There are fitness enthusiasts who might prefer to avoid being on rest while doing water fasting. But before being impulsive and leaping to any conclusion, you must know the potential consequences of doing HIIT exercises while on water fasting. Following are some factors that may mislead fitness freaks.
Ultimately, it’s you who decides whether to exercise during a water fast or not. Because exercising on a water fast by being watchful about a few aspects can reap numerous health benefits, let’s dive into the details.
Why Should We Drink Water?
Water is a natural anorectic that aids the kidneys to remove toxins and waste materials from your body. Water is required for your body for many crucial functions, primarily fat oxidation (fat burning). Without water, your body cannot transform the stored fats into energy.
Apart from that, water helps the body cells get properly hydrated because well-hydrated cells have better insulin sensitivity, which helps reduce insulin resistance which eventually causes type 2 diabetes.
What is Water Fasting?
Water fasting refers to ingesting water only with no food during the entire span of the fasting. Although the water fasting span has no time limit, you must consult a healthcare professional before starting the regimen. Doctors usually suggest a fasting span of 24 hours to a maximum of 3 days time period.
Water fasting is usually done for physical and mental well-being as well as spiritual and religious purposes. If it is followed with prudence, it can help detoxify your body and help manage your weight. If combined with meditation, it can yield wonderful results.
If you want to learn more about water fasting read What Is Water Fasting: All You Need To Know.
Benefits of Water Fasting
Following are the potential health benefits of water fasting.
It Encourages Autophagy
Autophagy is a process in which aged cells terminate their abnormal and old proteins and other components in their cytoplasm and get recycled.
Several animal studies say that autophagy is beneficial in preventing various dangerous diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. It also helps increase longevity.
It Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
According to studies, prolonged water fasting guided by a medical practitioner may help lessen your hypertension issue. As per research, water fasting for overweight or obese individuals for at least 17 days under medical supervision can result in decreased blood pressure. Additionally, it could help with lowering LDL cholesterol levels and inflammation. Be careful if you have low blood pressure before water fasting.
Another research showed that water fasting was helpful in decreasing body weight in individuals having high blood pressure.
Helps Improve Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity
Our body’s metabolism is regulated by hormones such as insulin and leptin. Insulin helps by storing nutrients in the blood, and leptin helps the body feel satiated. Research says when you are on a water fast, your body’s insulin and leptin become more efficient since their sensitivity enhances.
Being insulin sensitive helps your body lower blood sugar levels more efficiently, while being leptin sensitive makes your body efficiently take up hunger signals, which helps lower the risk of obesity.
Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases
It has been observed that water fasting can help reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. As per 2013 research, 30 healthy individuals were kept under water fasting for one day.
After the fast, it was observed that their triglyceride levels dropped significantly, which is a key risk factor for heart disease. Another study also indicates that water fasting helps defend the heart from the damage caused by free radicals.
It May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
Ingesting late-night calories may result in higher levels of inflammatory chemicals in the blood, that may increase the risk of breast cancer.
While avoiding food at night and remaining on a water fast may help lower the risk of developing breast cancer. As per research, the sooner you start your evening with water fasting, the lower would be the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
It Helps Increases Fat Burning
Scientifically proven, exercising while on a water fast may result in burning more fat. According to a study, this process enhances lipolysis, which is the process of breaking down fat molecules. Being on a water fast lowers insulin levels, while working out increases adrenaline and cortisol levels. This process, when combined, helps induce fat burning.
Alternatively, when you consume food before exercising, it increases your insulin level and eventually prevents your body from drawing out energy from the fat reserve.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of fasting, please read 5 Day Fast – Benefits- Everything You Need To Know
Confusion between a Juice Fast and a Water Fast
The majority of individuals need to understand the difference between water fasting and juice fasting. In juice fasting, the calories in juice provide energy and often allow for moderate exercise.
Water fasting, on the other hand, obviously offers no calories at all. Furthermore, water fasting promotes greater cleaning than juice fasting. This makes the energy levels low for other tasks like working out and exercising.
Addiction to Workout
If you like to work out in your daily life, it will be difficult to break the habit, but you have to develop the ability to let go of the compulsive desire to exercise when fasting.
Fasting makes you learn how to become calm and composed without external addictions and embellishments. It resets your hormones to manage without any use of endorphins, nicotine, caffeine, and other things. Fasting makes you learn how to attain contentment.
Fear of Losing Muscle Mass
Many fitness freaks continue to do the workout even on a water fast because they are scared of losing muscle mass. But when you work out while being on a water fast, your muscles lose more than when you are not exercising. This is because your metabolism changes, and your body enters a state known as a catabolic state.
When you refrain from eating anything, your body focuses on healing itself from the available materials rather than making newer muscles. Additionally, the muscle mass drastically reduces when you exercise on a water fast. This happens because exercise causes some degree of muscle injury as well.
The body fails to generate new muscle in a catabolic state. On the contrary, when you work out during fasting, your muscles get damaged and cannot recover further with additional muscles. In such cases, the immune system starts cleansing the muscles, and you have less muscle mass than before.
Fasting and Human Growth Hormone
One of the effective and natural methods to generate human growth hormone (HGH) is water fasting. Even after fasting, the HGH tends to remain elevated for an adequate amount of time which enables your body to quickly compensate for the muscle loss.
What Types of Exercise are Permissible on Water Fast?
While intense workouts are detrimental during water fasting, softer kinds of exercise can have a good result as long as they do not induce micromuscle damage.
Simple walking, yoga, stretching, and moderate cardio activity can help detoxify your body. When you burn out more calories than normal, your body releases toxins stored in the fat cells and flushes them out with other substances from the body.
What Kind of Exercise Is Not Permitted on Water Fast?
Any exercise that feels tough, challenging, and unpleasant during a water fast is harmful to you. If you continue to do these exercises when water fasting, your body will not be able to heal and replace the damaged muscles and leave you having muscle aches.
Additionally, you need to refrain from doing any activity such as strength training, jogging, cycling, or dancing that would put you on an anaerobic threshold. At this point, your body is unable to generate adequate oxygen to strengthen your muscles.
Since glycogen levels are already depleted during a water fast, this anaerobic stage would cause significant muscle injury. When you are fasting, you get immediately exhausted, even if you do simpler exercises like walking or climbing stairs, due to the anaerobic state.
When to Resume Workout During or After a Water Fast?
Although you should avoid doing a workout when on a water fast, you can still practice on day one. This is because you still have glycogen reserves from day one to utilize at this time, and your body system is still under process to absorb the nutrients from your last ingested food. This indicates you are still in an anabolic state and can exercise on day one. However, you must control yourself from exercising after day one.
It is essential to resist the impulse to start exercising soon after a fast. Because the body’s growth hormone will continue to elevate at this level. Hence, the body immediately focuses on your inner organs and body systems to recover, not your muscles!
While water fasting, the liver, kidneys, lymphatic, and immune systems all work overtime. When you take nutrients after fasting to return to an anabolic state, your body prioritizes rejuvenation and the rebuilding of cells over muscle growth. Hence, working out soon after the fast may cause muscle damage.
Once this process gets over your body is now ready to concentrate on the peripheral region and continues to build muscles. During this process, the HGH levels remain elevated for a prolonged period to help your body in building muscles and allow you for a healthy performance. Thus, if you continue to fast for seven days at a stretch, your performance in terms of stamina and endurance may improve roughly by 5% after some days.
Bottom Line – Can I Workout or Exercise During a Water fast?
Personally, I will do lighter workouts while water fasting if prolonged. Your body is in a recovery phase, and you don’t want to burn too much of the energy that it is using to recover its cells. Maybe try long walks, light weight training, something to get the blood flowing, but not over-exerting yourself.
If you are someone who wants to do water fasting but did not practice fasting earlier, then start with a one-day fasting first. Keep a water bottle with you on hand while water fasting.
If you do not encounter any adverse effects, you can extend your fasting only after consulting with your healthcare professional to ensure you don’t have any underlying health conditions. Before preparing for the fast, you must take care of the following aspects:
- Eat foods that are good sources of energy.
- Pick an appropriate time so that you do not have to work during the time of fasting.
- If you are feeling tired, or not well, simply drop the idea of fasting.
- Do not perform high-intensity workouts instead, you may carry on with mild to moderate exercise if you want to.
- Before starting a fast, first try to build up the fast gradually by cutting down the meal sizes.
- Try to ingest sufficient water during the fast, but do not do over drinking.
- Do not plunge into eating too much once you break the fast instead, eat your food gradually to avoid the risk of stomach discomfort.
When breaking your fast, always shoot for healthy fats, and easing into your food intake for the day. Nutrient-dense foods will always be a good option. This can kick start your weight loss goals and along with an intermittent fasting program can lead to long-term weight loss as part of a balanced diet.
See our Complete Guide to Water Fasting Here for more info.