Despite the fact that people are told in early childhood that eating a well-balanced diet every single day is vital to their health and wellbeing, more and more people are discovering (and adopting) a lifestyle that includes intermittent fasting. Believe it or not, there are actually several health benefits that you can derive from the practice, especially for athletes and bodybuilders.
The Most Prolific Benefits of Fasting
Most people believe that they need to eat at regular intervals in order to stay as healthy as possible. While there is some truth to this in most circumstances, it is important to consider the things that happen when you don’t eat for a while.
- The amount of human growth hormone, or HGH, in the bloodstream can increase by up to five times.
- The body starts repairing a variety of cells and removing waste from them.
- Genes and molecules that are related to longevity and disease prevention undergo beneficial changes.
- The amount of insulin in the bloodstream drops, priming the body for fat burning.
With all of this evidence, it is easy to see why intermittent fasting is so popular among athletes and bodybuilders, particularly when they are in the cutting phase of their cycles and they want to reduce their body fat.
It Fights Against Free Radicals
You see the term “antioxidant” everywhere you look these days, and that’s because antioxidants fight the free radicals that can cause cancer and speed up the aging process. The processes by which free radicals interact with and damage otherwise healthy molecules (including everything from protein right down to your DNA), is called oxidative stress. There are several clinical studies showing that intermittent fasting may help enhance the body’s ability to resist that oxidative stress, thereby preventing the acceleration of the aging process and potentially even fighting certain cancers.
It Induces Cellular Repair
Building solid muscle (and retaining it during a period of fasting) depends on your body’s ability to repair muscle cells. Fasting initiates a body process known as autophagy, which is a term used to describe the removal of waste from just about every single cell type. Essentially, the cells are better prepared to break down and then metabolize the broken or unusable proteins floating around inside them, providing more building blocks to build healthier cells. It effects everything from your heart to your liver to your muscle tissue, which is why intermittent fasting is popular among bodybuilders.
How to Fast Intermittently – The Healthy Way
Before you jump in and start starving yourself for the sake of your health, keep in mind that food is a necessary part of your body’s metabolism. Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to produce the necessary hormones and tissues required to build strong muscles. You should never go a period of days without food; in fact, intermittent fasting consists of eating once only every 24 hours for a short period of time. This alone is enough to provide all of the aforementioned benefits, especially for athletes.
Although intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone, it certainly can go a long way toward helping you reach your fitness and health goals. Before undertaking an extreme change to your diet and exercise routine, be sure to discuss it with your physician – especially if you have underlying health conditions.