20 Jun The Truth About Fasting; Diet, Religion and Getting Lean Faster – Ramadan fasting benefits
Chances are, you’ve heard the term “fasted cardio” tossed around within the fitness community, and as you may know, it is highly regarded as one of the best cardio practices to lose that stubborn belly fat. This is mainly due to your body performing while your insulin is at a baseline level, as opposed to performing when your insulin levels are spiked by the absorption of food.
Essentially, in a nut shell, when it is not being fueled by food, the easier route, your body uses fat for fuel instead. If you would like to learn more on the subject of fasted cardio, you can check out our blog here. With it being the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, the beginning of Ramadan is upon us, and the subject of fasting has been mentioned even more frequently. For those who are unfamiliar with Ramadan, for both religious and self-growth reasons, during this month, all practicing Muslims totally abstain from things such as food, drinks, smoking and even sex from sun up to sun down for thirty days. They do this with a goal in mind of exhibiting such inner reflection and self-control that they find a renewed sense of discipline, patience, modesty and spirituality. For religious reasons or not, intermittent fasting of 1-2 days at a time has become a hot topic for those in the fitness world especially, and it’s essential to know the truths and myths before you jump on the fasting train and give it a try for yourself.
Please note that before starting any diet or weight loss plan, you should consult a physician and make sure you are in good health and under doctor supervision. Every person is unique!
First, let’s break a few myths!
Myth #1:…Hunger is an emergency – When your body tells your mind that you’re hungry, it begins to consume us and becomes all we can think about until our mind is satiated with the pleasure and endorphins associated with eating. When we are deprived of food, we can get irritable, irrational, cranky, upset, and emotional. That said, more often than not, hunger is not exactly your body prompting you to eat, but rather your mind recognizing your eating patterns and launching you into a panic driven starvation mode when food is not readily available. Your mind controls every cell inside of your body. When you are able to maintain control of your mind and differentiate between what your mind is requesting and what your body needs, you will find a complete sense of peace and happiness, hungry or not. Being hungry is definitely no emergency!
Myth #2:…Eating Constantly Is A Necessity – Although it is a common health practice to keep your metabolism going strong by eating multiple meals throughout the day, we have more or less become products of food marketing, and need to remember that having food readily available within any given five minutes a privilege. Food is a resource that is not provided at such a high disposal rate in other areas of the world. In many of these areas, people live long, healthy and active lives by harvesting their own food and eating only what sustains them for their lifestyle.
Myth #3:…Fasting Yields The Same Results For Men and Women – Unfortunately, where intermittent fasting is concerned, women may not see as much of a desired result as men. This is simply due to the fact that from an evolutionary standpoint, womens bodies are vessels for carrying young, and intermittent fasting is not exactly conducive for child bearing, as your body goes into self-preservation, or starvation mode.
The scientific research done behind intermittent fasting has been nothing short of fascinating. It has concluded results such as reduced number of blood lipids, like triglycerides and cholesterols, reductions in inflammation and even a decreased risk of cancer. This is likely in part due to the increase in cell turnover and repair and fatty acid oxidation. In addition, while monitoring the metabolic rate of those intermittent fasting, it was surprisingly discovered that the metabolic rate actually increases as the fast continues. That said, you can make yourself metabolically flexible just by fasting infrequently.
When your body starts eating into fat reserves to create energy, it will also burn away any harmful toxins that may be present in fat deposits. This fasting body cleanse will leave a healthy blank slate behind, thusly boosting your immune system. To stress the importance of this, 70% of your immune system is found in your gut, and an unhealthy gut can lead to both malabsorption of nutrients as well as a leaky gut, which virtually leaks particles through the intestine walls into the bloodstream. That said, intermittent fasting is a cleanse that will leave a healthy blank slate behind, providing the perfect stepping stone to a consistently healthy lifestyle, all around!
One of the stranger benefits of fasting, however, has to be the effect on psychological food addictions. As most of us have likely always had structured diet schedules due to school or work, whether we’ve previously realized it or not, we’ve become acclimated to eating at certain times throughout the day. Often times, this can wreak havoc on our minds, causing stress, anxiety, irritability, and even weight gain when food is not within immediate reach. This can also come into play with most fitness athlete’s diet programs, where eating at precise times plays a large role in the success of one’s prep. Intermittent fasting happens to be a great way to break free from those chains after prep is complete and reset your mind!
To Recap Those Health Benefits:
Increase Your Metabolic Rate
Lower Your Cholesterol
Detoxify Your Digestive System
Boost Immune System
Ditch Bad Habits
Is Intermittent Fasting Right For Me?
Intermittent fasting is best for:
Those with a history of monitoring or counting food
Flexible Job and Lifestyle
Low stress level
Desiring athletic look
Use caution if:
You have a history of health issues
You have not discussed with your physician
You are new to exercise
You are trying to conceive
You have a high stress lifestyle
You cannot commit to a relaxed exercise routine
Adjust your fitness goals to maintain muscle and lose fat
Do a lot of cardio. *Instead, combine resistance training and light cardio
Workout for a long period of time
Workout more than 4 times per week
BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
Meal Replacement Shakes (If necessary)