When Should I Exercise? A Primer


If you’re on a specific diet, are busy all the time, or have other commitments, you know how hard fitting in time for exercise can be. Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t always have to happen at the gym. Want a quick guide to fitting in exercise? You’ve come to the right place!

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Exercising on Empty: When to Exercise When You’re Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, or alternating periods of starvation and eating with some caloric restriction, can be a great way to burn fat. It cuts down on calories, can be a challenge, and is excellent for weight loss. But should you exercise on empty? Experts say no. Fasting intermittently can cut down on the number of calories that your body burns in a day, if done for long periods of time, and exercising on an empty stomach can accelerate that process. If you’re intermittent fasting, you should probably hit the gym after dinner, when you’ve had something to eat. In the morning, when you haven’t eaten, you’re likely to hurt yourself.

Exercising on the Keto Diet

Marathoners rejoice: on the Keto diet, sprints and bouts of high-intensity exercise are much harder to do, but long periods of moderate intensity exercise get easier. Since your body doesn’t have access to the quick-burn energy in carbohydrates on the keto diet, it tends to get tired more quickly. However, moderate to low-intensity exercise for long periods slowly gets easier and more comfortable on the keto diet. While there are no time restrictions that you must place on training with the keto diet, be aware that sprints and high-intensity activities will get harder. This means no more HIIT, no more dance classes, and no more spin class.

The Cold Hard Truth: Should You Exercise While Sick?

This is a tough one. If you feel like you’re okay to exercise, then you most likely will be if you decide to head to the gym. As a rule of thumb, though, if you have head symptoms (sneezing/cough, congestion, or headaches,), you should be good to head to the gym. However, if you’re experiencing any aches, fever, or chills, it’s generally wise not to take a run around the block. Rest is the best way to get better when you have a cold or the flu, and hitting the gym isn’t exactly resting up.

Keeping up with the Cramps: Should You Exercise After Eating?

If you’ve ever hit the gym on a full stomach, you know that it can be tough. But how long should you wait to exercise? Experts recommend an hour between when you eat and when you hit the gym. Exercising on an empty stomach isn’t any better, though: you can hurt yourself if your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to perform. Keeping a balance between being hungry and being too full when hitting the gym is essential.

If you exercise in the morning, be sure to have something for breakfast before you go. Protein, especially, it is important to eat before a workout. Having a small snack that combines protein and carbs, like a banana and peanut butter, a protein bar, or a similar small meal, can pay dividends for your workout. If you exercise at night, waiting for an hour after dinner to head to the gym can make that nightly workout a little bit easier.

Busy and Broke: How to Exercise When You’ve Got No Time and No Gym

Being broke, especially when you’re busy, too, can be a dangerous combination for your health. Gyms are expensive and going to one can often be a considerable time commitment. If you still want to exercise, consider a YMCA or similar community organization. If those are still out of your price range, try going for runs and doing sets of bodyweight exercises, like push-ups, burpees, and similar activities, to get fit. There are plenty of free apps that can guide you in a series of 10-minute workouts that you can do at home. While you won’t be able to get as fit as quickly, you’ll still see results if you keep at it.

Have a comment, or want to learn more about any one of these conditions? Let us know by leaving a comment down below with your thoughts!


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