Should Runners Be Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a hot-button nutrition topic for everyone, but athletes in particular. I know a lot of people—runners and cyclists—who are experimenting with it, and the results for them have been… mixed. So, I asked Stacy Sims, sports nutrition expert and brilliant researcher (and author of January’s Athletic Bookworm pick, ROAR), for some intermittent fasting advice. Is it healthy? Is it helpful? And if so, how do we do it without getting hangry or wrecking our training?
Her advice was spot-on, and while I don’t want to give it all away—the full article (written by me, obviously!) is available over at MapMyRun—I’ll say that she’s not opposed to intermittent fasting done in a natural way. She is absolutely against any kind of full-day fasts (i.e the 2 days of no eating, 5 days of normal eating styles), but she’s down with the reasonable window of eating. Some people get crazy and do an eating window of only a few hours each day, but for those of us working and working out, that’s somewhat unrealistic. All we really need, in order to get the benefits, is a longer window at night where we’re not eating. So check her tips for putting down the ice cream and planning your schedule to allow your gut to digest and empty overnight.
I’ve tried a bunch of different versions of intermittent fasting in the last few months, and I realized that not many work for me. I had some success (full post coming soon on this) doing a 24-hour bone broth fast, but that was after being sick and having some serious gut issues that needed addressing. Where I’ve found the most efficacy has been the eat-dinner-and-then-stop model, leaving 12-14 hours before my breakfast. The biggest DON’T that I’ve seen recently, though, is this disturbing trend of people now skipping breakfast in the name of intermittent fasting, then going HAM on lunch. That is NOT helping!
To find out Sims’ take on fasted-state runs and rides, plus tons more advice for putting this into practice, you’ll have to check out the full article!