In some sports, like wrestling and boxing, fasting is used as a way to drop weight quickly in order to make a certain weight class or to provide an advantage during a match.
Intermittent fasting has become a hot topic in the sports and fitness world, since some athletes have reported stronger results by skipping meals in a strategic way. Some plans call for a 24 hour fast and others just skip a single meal.
Elite athletes are highly in tune with their bodies, and understand the effects of every tweak and change, from drinking an extra glass of water per day to fasting for 18 hours instead of 12.
Those who believe in intermittent fasting claim it helps burn fat while preserving lean muscle and helps flush the body of toxins. One of the major reasons some athletes use intermittent fasting is it teaches the mind about hunger. There is internal and external hunger. Internal hunger are real symptoms your body uses to show you need food, such as light headedness. External hunger is what causes us to eat based on our emotions, like sadness and boredom. Intermittent fasting makes athletes take a deeper look to find out if they are truly hungry or if there are just external hunger cues.
It is important to know almost all of intermittent fasting results are based solely on testimonials and not research. Though athletes will lose fat, some research shows the loss of lean muscle while fasting as well. The argument for fasting to flush toxins also has flaws. The liver and intestines responsible for detoxification need calories to do their job. Therefore fasting could slow down this process or even bring it to a halt. In response to internal and external hunger, although it is important to not eat based on your emotions, fasting and ignoring hunger can lead to binge eating.
Working with a nutritional counselor is the best way to be sure you are eating correctly for your activity level. Though there are many new and trendy diets out there, not all of them are right for everyone.
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