A look at Intermittent Fasting
The second eating plan I am profiling, is one in which normal kilojoule-intake days are interspersed with kilojoule-restricted days – an approach to improved performance called Intermittent Fasting.
While some sport dieticians caution that the energy-restriction involved may not be sustainable in the long-term, after weight-loss goals have been reached, a March 2018 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition has found that intermittent fasting can, in fact, enhance the physical performance of trained athletes.
Fasting for efficiency
In the study, 12 male athletes participated in an every-other-day fasting programme where, on fasting days, they consumed just 2 500kJ and, on non-fasting days, resumed their normal +/-9 840kJ pattern. While the same may not be true of the general population, in this group of trained athletes results showed their heart rates after the six weeks were lower when performing the same activities at the same level of power, i.e. their bodies had become more energy efficient. They also reported less fatigue, showed an improved tolerance for workloads and had lost enviable amounts of body fat (15.1%) while preserving most of their muscle mass.
My advice, as always, is to ensure that your medical practitioner has give you the greenlight to try this regime and that you save it for less-active periods.
Celeb athlete: Actor Hugh Jackman while getting his Wolverine physique on! Nutritional scientist Ben Coomber says Jackman’s fantastic results could well be due to the following: “When you don’t eat, your muscle cells become more sensitive to insulin. So, when you do take [in] food, the muscle cells are as receptive as possible and you get a much greater anabolic response when you exercise.”