'Fasting for Fitness: Why One Size Does Not Fit All '
Fasting can be a useful tool to build into your healthcare routine, but when it comes to athletic performance and recovery, fasting should be personalised for each individual to ensure safety and effectiveness. As oxidative stress is amplified during intense physical exertion and fasting can put your body under extra strain, it’s important to be conscious during the competitive season and avoid putting your body under too much strain at once. Choosing a longer period of rest during the off-season is a good strategy, as the competition and training load will be less. Though fasting is thought to have many benefits, when it comes to sports performance and recovery, our fasting mimicking diet (FMD) is more effective in providing metabolic rest, cellular repair and rejuvenation—with less strain on your body.
What types of fasting methods are there?
There are different fasting protocols such as intermittent fasting (IF), time-restricted fasting (TRF), and water-based fasting (WBF). But how do you choose what’s right for you? Factors like age, sex, body composition, activity level and health status should be considered when figuring out the right method. Intermittent fasting usually involves a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour period when you consume all your daily calories. Other popular variations include 13:11, 18:16, and 20:4, while more prolonged fasting may include water only for three days or more. Our FMD is an increasingly popular form of fasting, as it involves fasting with conveniently packed set meals for five days. Fasting can result in ketogenesis, which can promote changes in metabolic pathways and cellular processes, such as stress resistance and autophagy, offering benefits like increased energy, better sleep and more.
Could the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) be a secret weapon for athletes?
Professor Valter Longo's FMD approach has gained popularity thanks to his clinical research carried out over 25 years, which suggests that it has all the health benefits of water fasting, without the hardships. The ProLon FMD approach consists of between 34% and 54% of normal adult daily calorie intake, with a macronutrient ratio made up of 9-10% protein, 56% fat and 34% carbohydrate. This places less stress on the body than complete water fasting and supplies most of the carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, focusing on phytonutrients and reducing calorie intake.
What are the scientifically proven benefits of fasting protocols for athletic performance?
Studies have shown the benefit of fasting to help normalise elevated biomarkers for type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation*. It also works to reprogram metabolic and stress resistance pathways, helping to improve overall health and prolong lifespan. With ProLon FMD, lean body mass has been shown to be preserved after three cycles, which is not the case with water-based fasting. Research suggests that our FMD also leads to an increase in stem cell production, which can play a role in the body's repair and regeneration processes, assisting in sports recovery.
How to personalise your fasting for optimal athletic results
To ensure safety and maximise health benefits, personalise your fasting by considering factors like age, sex, body composition, activity level and health status. Reach out to a registered healthcare provider or dietitian to help provide personal guidance and support, helping you choose the right fasting method for you and the results you’re looking for.
Fasting has the potential to provide numerous health benefits for athletic performance and recovery but personalisation is vital to ensure safety and effectiveness in achieving your goals. ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet provides a specific balance of nutrients, so it doesn’t feel like a fast but offers the same health benefits—without the difficulty associated with a water-based fasting diet. It is also important to strategically identify the right time period to fast, by avoiding high-energy periods and competitive seasons where your body may be under more stress. Instead, opt for a period of rest or off-season to give your body time to reap the full rewards, and experience the power of ProLon fasting firsthand.