Ever heard of running while fasting?
Your body requires energy while running. It relies fully on carbohydrates to produce this energy during most of your workouts, like running.
On the other hand, when you eat carbohydrates, they are stored in your body in glycogen and later used as fuel.
However, you can only store so much glycogen at a time. Running while fasting will see you utilizing all this glycogen, leading to fatigue and eventually reduced pace.
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Running on an empty stomach will teach your body to burn fat more efficiently. Since it will have no more glycogen to use as its source of energy, it will use fat instead.
“At any given time, we have a lot more available fuel in our bodies in the form of fat, so training the body to use that fuel helps immensely with endurance and aerobic performance,” explains Caleb Masland, a coach based out of Boone, N.C., who is a 2:34 marathoner.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME FOR RUNNING WHILE FASTING?
This type of running will be more beneficial when done in the morning. This is because, after a night of what can be said as fasting, your body has deficient levels of glycogen.
Drinking only a little bit of water, and hitting the road will enable your body to burn the fat instead.
Doing this over and over again will enable your body to become more efficient in burning fat. The benefits of running while fasting are as follows.
BENEFITS OF RUNNING WHILE FASTING
1. INCREASES YOUR FAT BURN
This is a key advantage of fast running. The goal behind fasting while running is to make your body burn fats as a source of energy instead of glycogen.
By primarily relying on burning fat for energy compared to glycogen, you will delay the immediate risk of bonking during running.
This will help you to reduce reliance on supplemental fuel.
2. REDUCES ENERGY INTAKE
When your blood and muscle glycogen levels are depleted, your body will go to your liver glycogen stores for energy.
This will, in turn, affect your energy intake through your liver brain neural network.
Therefore, if you’re trying to lose weight, fasted running may come in handy in controlling your energy intake.
According to a study, 10 participants who ran on an empty stomach recorded low energy intake over 24 hours.
In this study, participants were excluded if they reported a known or suspected wheat or gluten allergy, reported having any blood-transmittable diseases or had diabetes mellitus.
3. INCREASES YOUR AEROBIC ENDURANCE
Running while fasting will increase your aerobic endurance because it reduces your body’s glycogen.
This facilitates the burn of fats in your body for energy during endurance events such as aerobics and other workouts.
Technically, fasted running teaches your body to adjust to the low carbohydrate levels with the thought of improving your endurance capacity.
This study’s aim, which consisted of 14 participants, was to compare adaptations to endurance training undertaken on acutely fed and overnight- fasted states.
4. REDUCES DIGESTION PROBLEMS
During long-distance running, you may often feel stomach cramps, intestinal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
These may persist if you continue running for long distances and can be quite common, especially if you are an athlete.
Whether an athlete or not, but you experience the above-mentioned symptoms, running on an empty stomach might be the one medicine you’ve been looking for.
5. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Running while fasting will help you to mobilize glycogen in your body at a more efficient rate. This means that there will be faster access to stored energy in your muscles, making you respond much quicker during your physical exercises—the more energy, the better the performance.
The faster access to stored energy in your muscles also comes in handy by reducing the amount of time to get you fully warmed up.
6. INCREASE HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
The Intermittent fasting that you do during running will increase your Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
This hormone produced by your pituitary glands plays a key role in your growth and body composition.
7. ENHANCES YOUR CONNECTIVE TISSUE RECOVERY
Fasting while running will stimulate your HGH, which will, in turn, lead to an increased connective tissue collagen synthesis.
This means that the hormone will support your connective tissue and make your muscles and tendons less prone to injuries.
8. IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY
Your HGH is directly connected to your sleep and sleep quality. This means that anything (fasting) that increases your hormone leads to improved sleep quality.
9. PROMOTES HEALTH AND LONGEVITY
Lowered blood sugar, reduced cholesterol levels, and less cellular inflammation are the benefits you get from running.
These, combined with the cardiovascular benefits you will get from fasting, will promote your health stability.
DANGERS OF FASTING WHILE RUNNING
The short-term dangers of a fasted long run are dizziness, nausea, and weakness.
On the other hand, running during an extended fast can cause the following long- term dangers:
By running on an empty stomach, you risk getting injuries. This is because, as your energy levels decline during your run, you may become fatigued.
Fatigue can cause falling or other injuries during physical activities.
It could lead to your body burning muscle for fuel. If you are an athlete, this could lead to weakness and difficulty in going up hills.
Also, running while fasting is not good for you if you have diabetes as it might cause low blood sugar.
Fast running is ineffective for long term weight loss. In as much as it is considered as a weight-loss strategy, it is not long term.
This is because of the way your body regulates its energy. As you burn large amounts of fat during your run, your body will compensate for this by reducing the fat burn later on.
Instead, it will go back to using glycogen, hence the accumulation of fat again.
TIPS FOR RUNNING WHILE FASTING
Do it the first thing in the morning before your hunger pangs are activated. Practice running while water fasting. You can also take electrolytes.
30 minutes after your run, consider supplying your muscles with high nutrient food
Consider a steady and easy run. Do not go for fast runs if you are not a marathoner.
If you feel you have to go for a long one, limit it to only one run per month if you are a beginner
Experts have suggested that you should avoid running on an empty stomach. This is because you will supply your body with the fuel to take you through the run smoothly.
However, if you still prefer an empty stomach, remember to go for easy and short runs.