Every year, hundreds of millions of people around the world fast. There are several benefits of swimming while fasting: you can feel more energetic and it can re-generate your metabolism. While there are a ton of benefits, there are certainly some challenges, too.
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What is Fasting?
Fasting is where you give up food and/or drink for a period of time for religious or health reasons. Various religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, have some form of fasting. It involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. Most people already “fast” every day, while they sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer.
On more restrictive fasts, however, your low-calorie days might leave you feeling too sluggish. You have to listen to your body. You have to take in a lot of extra fluids. I drink a lot of sports drinks, like Gatorade and coconut water.
Training while in a state of dehydration can decrease strength significantly. In fact, research indicates that dehydrating a muscle by as little as 3% can cause a 12% loss in strength. Typical fasts can go 16-18hrs of no eating. The eating window for intermittent fasting is typically between 11am and 7pm. During Ramadan, Muslims don’t eat from dawn to sunset.
How to Swim & Fast
During Ramadan, the best time to do a weight-training workout is NOT while fasting.
The best time to weight train during Ramadan is at night. This will ensure that you will have several meals and plenty of water in your system before going to the gym. This will also allow you to consume your all-important post workout meal or shake which is essential to muscle growth, which leads to fat loss.
- Keep cardio intensity low if you’ve been fasting. When glycogen is in short supply, your body also reverts to breaking down protein – your muscles’ building blocks – for fuel.
- Increase your intensity only after you’ve eaten. That way you’ll still have some glycogen (aka leftover carbs) available to fuel your workout, and you’ll reduce your risk of low blood sugar levels.
- Break your fast on high-protein meals.
Fasting Swim Workout
This Workout of the Week is an example of a swim that can be done during fasting that doesn’t over exert the body yet still offers an aerobic benefit.
- 4 x 100 Freestyle
- 4 x 50s IM or Stroke
Main Set (2x)
- 1 x 200 Freestyle
- 6 x 50s Freestyle
- 4 x 50s Freestyle or Stroke
I hope this video was helpful in understanding what fasting is and how you can get the most out of a swim workout during a fast. Until next time, happy swimming!