Intermittent Fasting and Exercise: When is the best time to work out?

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise - When is the best time to work out

There’s this crazed trend about fasting and exercise, but the idea of working out while on IF is daunting. When you’re in an extended period without eating, you really will feel weak, fatigued, and cravingly hungry. 

ALSO READ: Acronyms and terminologies to learn about fasting

Is there a right time to schedule your exercises while on intermittent fasting training? The answer is straightforward. No, there’s no right time to schedule a workout, but the timing is essential. Constant hunger could throw you off from working out. So, we’ve decided to list things you should know before working out while fasting.


The common misconception for people who start intermittent fasting and working out is it’s not right. Not necessarily. Scheduling physical exercises during fasting periods has profound good effects on health and mind. Here are some of the things you need to know.

Can You Exercise While Fasting

Yes, but there are a lot of things to consider. Dr. Niket Sonpai says that the best solution is to exercise during your eating windows so that your nutrition is on a pike. If you plan to lift weights, you must have enough protein in your body to aid with regeneration. About 20 grams of protein is perfect for a 30-minute workout.

Ideally, you also don’t want to function and commit workout routines during the morning without breakfast. You’ll feel dizzy and weak after an hour of waking up. If so, it’s best to save your energy for the evening and start working out after your last meal of a day.

What is the best exercise while fasting

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise - When is the best time to work out

When on fasting mode, our bodies have this ability to adapt to what’s available. If your diet consists mostly of carbohydrates and sugar, go for HIIT (high-intensity interval training), anything that keeps your heart rate up, like running on fast-paced, jumping jacks, or pull-ups.

LIIT (low-intensity interval training) has a lower risk of injury, quite similar, and can be as effective as HIIT. But only if you spend more time working out. If you’re staying below your calorie count, it’s advisable to cut down carbohydrates and consume mostly protein. If this is the case, you should focus on weighing lifting or LIIT, like walking, and mainly resistance training.

When is the Best Time to Workout During Fasting

About three considerations must come in mind before making your workout effective when you fast. Should you exercise before, during, or after the eating window?

People who perform well on exercise while on an empty stomach are suited best before the fueling window. During the feeding windows is ideal for someone who doesn’t like to exercise with an empty stomach but remember that you shouldn’t work out when you are too full. It’s best to wait 1-2 hours after eating before you start working out.

Working out in the morning is also beneficial. It’s the time where your fasting mode is almost over. It’s one reason why your insulin levels drop low, meaning your body is no longer storing fat but instead burning it for energy. Therefore, working out the moment you wake up burns your stored body fat and keeps you going throughout the day. 

Eat the Right Meal Before and After Working Out

 A good tip is to eat a small meal or snack anywhere between 2-3 hours before your scheduled workout, so your body has enough glycogen for fuel. You can eat something like peanut butter toast or an apple with nut butter and yoghurt with nuts if you’re avoiding carbs. Drinking black coffee also improves concentration and boosts energy.


Committing to a scheduled workout while fasting essentially forces your body to shed fat. Exercise, together with fasting, also increases oxidative stress, which benefits your muscles. 

Working out while fasting is often beneficial, but safety is first. Always pay attention to your body and look for signs for dehydration or low blood sugar count. It is also best to speak to your GP first. Here’s to guide you on how to safely and effectively exercise while on fast:

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise - When is the best time to work out

Consider your Energy

Consuming not enough food throughout the day negatively affects your energy levels and your capacity to perform specific tasks. You’ll crave for food and feel that eating is the best way to give yourself a shot of energy; however, it’s not always the case. Try employing these techniques to keep your energy level peaking.

Hydrate. Dehydration often leads you to hunger. If so, instead of reaching for a snack, go for a glass of water instead. Read this guide on what can you drink without breaking your fast.

Sleep. A quick catnap can re-energize your body system and energy levels. If you’re feeling cranky or sluggish, consider shutting your eyes for a few minutes. 15-20 minutes can get you that spark you need.

Eat nuts, dried fruits, or sip a soup. Dried fruits and nuts like walnuts, almonds, raisins, dates are full of vitamins, minerals, and energy that you’ll need. Soup, on the other hand, helps to prevent bloating and constipation since it warms up the stomach. It’s nutritious and consists mostly of fluid, which your body requires on fast. 

Have People Around You

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise - When is the best time to work out

It’s best to have someone by your side when you start to incorporate working out with fasting. Research suggests that women who diet alone only have 1 out of 5 chances to continue keeping pounds off for a month or more. 

However, having a friend to diet with likely increases your chance to stick out on your losing weight plan and healthy eating program for much longer. 

If you also plan on lifting heavy weights, it’s essential to have a friend as a spotter in case of emergency and to avoid any accidents.

Start Slowly

IF and working out is mentally and physically challenging, so if you’re new to this diet, start slowly and let your body adjust and prepare. 

Your body should adapt first and function with lesser energy levels than the usual. Stick to lower intensity workouts like yoga, walking, and flat cycling. While on fast, your body is not fully capable, so be sure to have more extended rest after reps, and lighten your workout if you are feeling a little weaker. 

Use an App

Best Fasting Apps - Free and Premium Intermittent Fasting Apps

There are lots of free and paid apps, either for fasting or workout. It starts with a small quiz followed by taking your details (age, height, weight, diet/and type of meal) before tailoring the safest routine for your needs and goals. 

Fasting apps also allow you to choose from schedules you’d like to follow from different workout plans based on your difficulty and your feeding window.

Your meal plans will be based on the questions you’ve answered on the sign-up quiz and your daily caloric intake. 

Some apps not only improve your time to eat but offer recipes and macros for improving what you can eat. The great thing about fasting apps is the workout plan; you get workout suggestions from video demos and expert advice.

ALSO READ: Here are the best fating apps for you

Meal Timing

If you are planning to exercise while fasting, the right timing of having the meal is very essential to make sure you have energy to finish your work out.

Early Time-Restricted(eTRF), a form of Intermittent Fasting, is where dinner is eaten in the afternoon and does improve your ability to switch burning carbs to burning fat for energy – metabolic flexibility.

Listen to Your Body

You should know how to tune and listen to your body while on intermittent fasting and exercise. If it doesn’t feel right for you, it’s probably time to speak to a professional before you move forward with fasting and working out.

Meanwhile, if you’re feeling dizzy or weak while on fast, keep yourself hydrated because you might experience low blood sugar. Also, overdoing fasting and working out can inhibit metabolism and production, which might cause other symptoms.

You should not ignore these changes since it’s your body’s way of trying to communicate its limitations. You need to be respectful and mindful of these signs and be responsive at all times. Because instead of getting healthier, you might injure yourself instead.

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise - When is the best time to work out

Walk as Much as Possible

When I’m taking a break from the gym or not feeling up for it, I’d go for a long walk instead. About 2-hour walk can burn you 450 calories and more if you go for hills as well.

Fasted walking is less stressful. However, there’s no trick or science within walking while fasting, but it merely keeps you busy if you can only think about eating. Walking is also one of the techniques of easy cardio while in fasting mode. 

Walking as your easy cardio exercise your large muscles over and drive your heart and lungs to work hard. Doing this often makes your heart stronger and even enhances your endurance.

Try Lifting Weights to Preserve Muscles

On an extended fast, lifting helps prevent muscle loss when you’re losing pounds. You can’t gain muscles when you’re on intermittent fasting and exercise, but when you lift weights, you can’t lose it either. Since you’re not trying to gain muscles in IF and trying to maintain what you have, an infrequent and fair lifting schedule is suitable for you, 2-3 times per week.


Personally, 18:6 or 16:8 are both perfect for exercising and fasting at the same time. I don’t recommend you do work out while doing extended fasting since you won’t have enough energy to do it.

The bottom line is to stay healthy while on fast is to keep fasting period short, stay hydrated, and avoid intensive exercise.  

The best diet is the one you can stick to in the long run. Intermittent fasting might be great to others but for some not. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to health and nutrition.

If Intermittent Fasting interests you and you want to try something new, keep in mind that it’s vital to follow your diet plan decisively. I hope this article about intermittent fasting and exercise incorporating together is useful and that we answered your questions. If you have more tips to add, let us know in the comment section below.


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