Intermittent fasting and training | Uphill Athlete

Intermittent fasting and training

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  • #8361

    Hello Gurus,

    In addition to fat intake and fasted workouts,is it advisable to incorporate intermittent fasting as a strategy to increase fat adaptation?
    Or will it not be advisable to start it during the 24 week training plan?
    I am currently trying to have only 2 meals a day (9 am and 5 pm ) . The first meal will be immediately after a morning workout and the next one in the eve.
    Kindly let me know your views


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    Anonymous on #8364

    I think that that might be a good way to get overtrained. Even more important than fat adaptation is recovery from day to day. Nutrition is a big part of recovery and any type of restriction just increases the stress on your body. It’s probably best to just eat healthy and in healthy amounts.

    curriespencer on #8365

    If you’re eating at 9am and then 5pm you aren’t following IF at all.

    I’ve done intermittent fasting as found it to be very conducive to recovery. I was doing 20/4 so 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of eating. I was even gaining weight which was a goal of mine. I never felt like I wasn’t recovering. I think it has to do with all of your food intake is post workout.

    You have to have a flexible schedule or be willing to eat late and feel full going to bed with IF. I did it in college and was able to work out around 11 with some BCAA’s pre-workout and to sip on while training. I would recommend just using small amounts of whey instead of BCAA’s because of the cost.

    Right now I don’t follow IF because I’m doing twice a day training. I wake up at 6:30 and do my cardio fully fasted. I have a light meal of protein and a little bit of carbs after that training to get ready for my climbing or strength session. I then train at 2pm and go and eat a post workout meal and one last pre bed meal. On days I don’t workout I do follow IF and eat my first meal at 2pm and a last meal around 7pm.

    Colin Simon on #8366

    If you are doing your larger training days, for example “long z1-2 day” or muscular endurance or other challenging workout, like Scott S said, the most important part is recovery. So why not throw IF out the window for the big days and the following day(or two days or however long it takes) for recovery. Eat all normal meals those days and make sure to get plenty of carbohydrates. But if you are mid-cycle just running 45 mins some day, it makes sense to me to do it fasted at lunchtime, then eat between 1pm and 8pm.

    Anonymous on #8368


    There is some great advice from these other posters. Here is what I have discovered with this whole fat adaptation thing after messing with for 20 years and training many athletes with it.

    Fasting and fasted workouts will speed the fat adaptation process as will a shift to a high fat/low carb diet. But the bigger volume of Z1-2 training you do the less important the dietary manipulations. Fasted workouts WILL take longer to recover from (sometimes days longer) so you will then be in a trade off position: Become fat adapted or become fitter.

    If you want to become fat adapted to improve endurance performance then, from my experience, you do not need to do extreme dietary manipulations like extensive fasting as long as the aerobic training volume is high enough. How high? Over 12 hours/week. The greater the volume the more pronounced will be the fat adaption.

    As an example: David Goettler whom I coach is super fat adapted. He and Ueli would go climbing all day on big routes near Chamonix and eat maybe 1 bar and 2-500ml of water. David is a vegetarian and eats a high carb diet. But because he is often training 20 hours/week and doing many of his workouts in a fasted state he does not need to eat a high fat/low carb diet.

    Much of the literature written about fat adaptation comes from the fitness/body shaping world and they do not have the same high caloric demand for their sports and appearance is more import than performance.

    If you have other reasons for fasting, unrelated to performance then disregard the above comments.


    Mariner_9 on #8401

    My understanding is that there are health benefits (longevity-related) to fasting that are separate from fat adaptation/training. IIRC the topic has been covered by Rhonda Patrick.

    I try to avoid eating between dinner and breakfast, which typically means I don’t eat for about 12-14 hours of the day. It’s still possible to do a decent volume of training this way.

    Alan Russell on #8420

    The information here ( might be of interest.

    Kedar_dg on #8427

    Thanks a lot everyone for your thought provoking posts. I will not try IF while going through heavy physical activity. As Scott J mentioned , the ultimate aim is performance on the mountain and that shouldn’t be sidetracked. Will stick to the fasted workouts and the food pyramid as suggested !!

    richard.ferron on #8474

    For a few years, I tried Paleo, IF, low carb, etc. I had low energy and was putting that on other things (surprising how many reasons you can find when you believe something) and was a firm believer that carbs were not the best way to eat. A few months ago, after reading a few more books like TFTNA, I decided to give carbs another chance. What a difference did it made!!! High energy and better recovery. I’m even losing fat.

    My lesson is simply that it is an individual thing. We all know that vegies are good. Other than that, test-retest. And more that being an individual thing, I think it changes with time.

    I heard a paleo podcast that reccommends a book, that gives me other sources, etc. and I ended up with a paradigm. Paradigms are tough to break.

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