Intermittent fasting (IF) is an increasingly popular dietary practice, and its implementation is found throughout human civilisation in various cultural, spiritual and religious traditions. Emerging evidence has shown that the health benefits of IF stretch beyond calorie restriction and weight loss. These benefits include metabolic shifts in energy production, the optimisation of peripheral circadian clocks, and overall improvement in physiological markers of metabolic health. IF has been proposed to reduce systemic inflammation and have a role in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. For the athlete, IF protocols offer a potential new frontier for maintaining performance in the fasted state. They may allow athletes to optimise training adaptions, while respecting individual cultural, religious, and/or spiritual preferences to fast and exercise. Below, we discuss the physiological impact of fasted exercise while highlighting areas for future work to improve our understanding and implementation of the practice for the benefit of both the active general community and sporting populations.
- exercise and/or caloric restriction effects on body weight/composition
- food intake/body weight regulation
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Contributors IA: devised the main conceptional ideas of the manuscript.IA, NS and SM: drafted the manuscript.IA, NS, SM, KC and SA: involved in structuring, researching and editing of the manuscript.I.A approved the final version of the manuscript.SM and NS contributed equally to this paper.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.