The practice of intermittent fasting has gained increasing popularity in the fitness and nutrition world because of its benefits for boosting metabolism and managing body weight. But how does exercise fit in with this diet? Can you exercise while intermittent fasting? And if so, when is the best time to fit in a workout when intermittent fasting?

The best time to work out while intermittent fasting depends on your fitness goals and your method of fasting. Building muscle is pretty much out of the question if you are committed to intermittent fasting. However, it is important to maintain an exercise routine in order to avoid losing muscle and to boost your metabolism for effective weight loss. Nutrition is an absolute requisite to fuel our body for energy, which means food is important – whether before a workout or after. Read on to discover what time will work best for your exercise regimen.

Listen To Your Body

Trying to manage a new diet while maintaining your fitness regimen can be downright exhausting. If you are new to intermittent fasting, you should manage your expectations accordingly – you may not be able to hit the gym as hard while you are adapting to your new eating plan. Learn the tell-tale signs of what your body is trying to tell you. 

You may need to adapt your training regimen and take things a little more slowly when you work out, since your body will not have as much energy as it is accustomed to. Do not force yourself to train if you are feeling weak, light-headed, or exhausted, as you will be doing more harm than good.

Intermittent fasting can be stressful on the body, so regardless of when you decide to work out – you should never push yourself too hard. 

Cardio For Weight Loss – In The Morning 

If you are trying to shed those extra pounds with cardio while intermittent fasting, then you may want to train first thing in the morning.

Low-intensity cardio, such as hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes at a steady pace, will help you burn more fat without exhausting your energy reserves. This is known as “Fasted Cardio” among fitness buffs and is touted as the ultimate fat burner. While there is some truth to this, sometimes less is more, especially if you are relatively new to intermittent fasting. Even if you feel like you could squeeze out an extra 10-20 minutes, remind yourself that you need to get through the day on the limited energy you have.

Do Not Attempt High-Intensity Workouts While Fasting

You need to properly fuel your body for high-intensity training, so if you are hitting the weights or doing intense cardio, then ideally you will want to train after you have broken your fast, since these demanding fitness routines burn a lot of energy.

However, be careful not to exercise too soon after you eat, as this may make you queasy. Try to aim for somewhere in the middle of your eating window. This way your body will have time to absorb energy before your workout.

Exercise Before You Break Fast To Maintain Muscle

Intermittent fasting is not the ideal diet for those who wish to pack on the muscle. Muscle growth depends on having enough available proteins, carbohydrates, and amino acids. If you try to hit the gym 14 or 15 hours into your fast, your body is likely already burning any energy it has stored.

With strength training, the body becomes more sensitive to proteins and carbohydrates for a window of 30-60 minutes. This is known as the anabolic window or the ‘golden hour,’ and eating during this time can maximize muscle repair and growth.

Again, it is important to pay attention to how you are feeling both before and during your workout. If you feel weak and are battling to get through your sets, you may want to train after you have eaten. You will have more energy, and you will perform better rather than trying to train on an empty tank. Something else you might consider trying is a high-quality supplement to boost your workout. Research Verified Nitric Oxide can help increase energy during your workout and promote muscle gain and recovery.


Intermittent fasting may be challenging on its own, and those trying to maintain their fitness schedule with this diet may have some difficulty doing so. There are certainly numerous benefits to working out while intermittent fasting which include boosting weight loss, promoting a faster metabolism, and strengthening your immune system. However, figuring out when the best time to work out may be tricky. With any new routine, it can take time to determine what works. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body.


Emily Anderson is a nutrition writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. As a member of the 5 a.m. club, she does most of her writing before the sun comes up. When not writing, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and scouring the latest self-help books for pearls of wisdom she can share with others.

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