The effects of intermittent fasting have been studied for decades, and it has been proven as an excellent way to boost one’s health. Aside from the various health benefits that it offers, it is also convenient as it minimizes the money and time you allot on preparing and cooking meals each week. Doing intermittent fasting is already effective, but there is an even better way to fast track your journey towards a healthy body and mind – intermittent fasting combined with martial arts training.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you cycle between periods where you restrict yourself from eating, typically in a daily or weekly schedule. Intermittent fasting has many benefits, some of which include: weight loss, improved hormone function, reduced insulin levels, increased human growth hormone (HGH) levels, cellular repair, and gene expression.
There are ways to do intermittent fasting, and perhaps the most famous one is the 16:8. It is a fasting protocol where you put yourself in an 8-hour window to consume all your calories for the day to refuel the body. This aims for your optimal calorie intake. The 16-hour fasting period is when you are only allowed to have water, green tea, or black coffee without sugar or milk.
Other examples of intermittent fasting are the 5:2 method, alternate-day fasting, and one meal a day. The 5:2 method has 5 days of regular eating patterns and two days of 500-600 calories. It is important in the 5:2 method to split the two days of low-calorie eating apart and not on consecutive days.
The Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) is where you do fasting and non-fasting days on an alternate basis. The most common way to spend the fasting days is to only consume calorie-free beverages like water, tea, or unsweetened coffee.
Although in a modified ADF approach, you may limit your intake to around 500 calories during the fasting days. One Meal A Day (OMAD) is where you eat a single meal within an hour of the day.
Martial arts can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations and are still developing up to this date. Martial arts such as boxing and wrestling are two of the oldest martial arts that exist. Although boxing and wrestling are still popular and being practiced worldwide, modern martial arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, although with ancient roots, are now on the rise.
Training martial arts will help you improve not just physically but mentally as well. Some benefits of training martial arts include increased confidence, flexibility, coordination, self-defense skills, mental toughness, better focus, improved social skills, discipline, cardiovascular health, and is a great way to relieve stress.
Intermittent Fasting With Martial Arts
Martial arts have a myriad of benefits that are as impressive as intermittent fasting. It is an activity that not only gives you knowledge on self-defense, it also is a great workout and is a great way to build new friendships. Martial arts such as boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, and MMA are fantastic tools to improve your quality of life. Below are the benefits of combining intermittent fasting and martial arts.
1) Weight Loss
It is widely known that intermittent fasting is an effective tool for losing weight. Exercising with an empty stomach may produce greater fat-burning outcomes. Intermittent fasting will help you regulate your calorie intake, putting you in a caloric deficit. Other than the calories you will be reducing from intermittent fasting, training in martial arts will help you burn more calories, which eventually helps you lose weight.
2) Preserves Muscle
Intermittent fasting will help you preserve muscle. As martial artists, it is important to lose body fat without losing muscle or strength in return. It is optimal for martial artists to build muscle and strength during the training process. Intermittent fasting improves the production of human growth hormone, which in return stimulates muscle growth.
3) Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of the body towards injury. It is not necessarily a negative thing. It helps speed up recovery, and training with inflammation can be concerning for martial artists who regularly train and spar. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in athletes.
4) Better Sleep Quality
Better sleep quality helps with recovery, which is necessary with martial arts training. With HGH being produced as we sleep, it helps burn fat, repairs the body at a cellular level, and restores the muscle.
Because of intermittent fasting, you may wake up feeling restored and refreshed after sleeping, giving you a better mood and focus throughout the day.
5) More Energy And Focus
Similarly, martial arts like boxing and BJJ and intermittent fasting helps with focus. Martial arts will help you focus on the tasks at hand, leading to better control and concentration.
On the other hand, intermittent fasting helps with the increase in the production of orexin-A, a neurotransmitter that aids in wakefulness and alertness.
6) Helps Improve Cardio And Muscle Endurance
Given that intermittent fasting reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, a study was done on the benefits of intermittent fasting on cardiovascular health. The study shows that alternate-day fasting improved numerous cardiovascular health parameters as it lowers the resting heart rate.
Intermittent fasting, such as alternate day fasting, can increase endurance while performing aerobic exercises because the body switches to using fats and ketones to fuel the muscles as a source instead of carbohydrates.
That being said, an increased muscle endurance from fasting will help you last longer during training sessions and, as a result, improve your cardio.
Intermittent fasting and martial arts training have been proven to help with weight loss, along with many other health benefits. Martial arts combined with intermittent fasting makes weight loss while maintaining muscle mass, strength, and cardio now achievable.
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