PHIL KAPLAN'S FITNESS TRUTH - Fasting for Athletes

Q&A: Fasting For Athletes

by Phil Kaplan

Q: I'm an avid racquetball player and bicycle rider. I also lift weights and follow much of your recommendation for a healthy lifestyle. I'm intrigued by what I read about fasting. I don't want to lose weight, but I want to try it for an energy boost. I'm concerned I may actually reduce energy and wondered what your opinion is.

A: Personally, I don't see much value in athletes fasting. When you eat supportively, getting vegetables in each meal, staying away from excesses of alcohol, drugs, hydrogenated fats, and refined products, drinking a significant amount of water and exercising seems to do a very nice job of detoxifying. If you have specific issues that you want to resolve, and a healthy lifestyle hasn't done it, I'd encourage you to enter fasting gradually. Start with a 2-day juice fast (perhaps supplemented with amino acids and/or a liquid protein supplement) and see how you feel. Consider that a practice to determine if you want to do something more restrictive. I understand the supposed virtues of fasting, as well as the spiritual cleansing beliefs associated with some religious doctrines, but in my experience I find it leaves athletes depleted. I look forward to hearing of your experience if you opt to pursue fasting.

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