By now you're doubtless used to hearing that fasting has been linked to increased longevity. But such distant promises can be tough to swallow in the short-term, especially when, well, swallowing isn’t an option. Thankfully, new science suggests there’s a more immediate benefit to getting hangry.
A European Journal of Applied Physiology study has found that combining intermittent kilojoule restriction with cardio modifies your muscles on a cellular level, to serve up a feast of previously off-menu stamina. Yes, running on empty will undeniably feel more grind than glide as you’re temporarily forced to use body fat, not carbs, for fuel.
But the Swedish School of Sport and Health Science found that the stress placed on your muscles when training without adequate glucose yields big physiological changes, responding with an eight-fold increase in mitochondria – your cells’ energy factories. This means that once you restock with glycogen via a bowl of pasta, your muscles will have more firepower than ever before. You’ll need to cut out more than your morning oats, though. Try restricting to 3200 kilojoules the day before training to deplete your glycogen. Follow this protocol once a week in the three months pre-race.
The benefits of fewer kilojoules are not restricted to endurance alone. Here’s how you can refrain and gain:
Growth hormone has been shown to increase as much as five-fold in your blood, helping you build muscle quicker. (Journal Of Clinical Investigation)
Temporarily cutting kJs can elevate your metabolic rate by up to 14 per cent, for extra weight loss with no extra effort. (American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Intermittent fasting could not only reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms, but also delay its onset. (Neurobiology Of Disease)