Fitness Resources

Month: December 2021

Intense exercise before starting a fast can help you reach ketosis faster, research suggests

Gabby LandsverkDecember 3, 2021

  • Intermittent fasting may help improve metabolism and prevent disease, according to research.
  • Starting a fast by exercising could help you see the benefits more quickly, a new study suggests.
  • An intense workout burns through stored energy, which helps you reach ketosis quicker, researchers theorize.

Intermittent fasting, the trend of abstaining from food for set periods of time in the day or week, is praised by some experts as an aid for weight loss and disease prevention.

You may be able to benefit even more from fasting if you kick start it with a workout, which could help you reach ketosis faster, according to a study published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah looked at 20 healthy men and women who completed two 36-hour fasting periods, one starting with exercise and one without. They were looking to see how quickly participants reached ketosis, a metabolic state of burning fat for energy. Ketosis occurs after the body runs out of carbohydrates or glucose, its preferred fuel source, either through fasting or a low carb diet.

The researchers determined whether participants were in ketosis by testing them for one specific type of ketone, a chemical the body produces during ketosis. The chemical, beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB), has been linked to health benefits like reduced inflammation, better blood sugar control, and lower risk of aging-related diseases.

Typically, it can take between 20 to 24 hours of fasting for ketosis to begin and ketones to appear. However, this study found that participants were in ketosis three and a half hours sooner, on average, when they started their fast with an exercise session.

Intense exercise may help quicken ketosis by burning off carbs

Researchers theorized that exercise helped kickstart the fast by using up some of the body’s glucose, or stored carbohydrate energy. Participants worked out by running on the treadmill for 40 to 50 minutes with intense effort (70% of their maximum heart rate). It’s not clear from this study what type of exercise might be ideal for inducing ketosis, or how long you need to work out for best results. The best exercise style and timing may also vary from person to person. Previous research has shown, though, that high-intensity exercise burns glucose more quickly.

“The more carbohydrates you burn off (without overdoing it or injuring yourself), the better you set the stage for starting ketosis early in your fast,” Landon Deru, lead author of the study and a PhD student at Brigham Young University, said in a press release.

Working out could also improve your mood while fasting

Some evidence suggests exercise can boost appetite, prompting you to eat back calories you’ve burned off, but this study found participants weren’t hungrier when fasting after a workout.

While fasting generally was linked to some unpleasant side effects, like hunger or moodiness, exercise didn’t seem to exacerbate them. In some cases, participants who worked out reported feeling happier during the fast, potentially because the brain releases feel-good chemicals during and after exercise (sometimes called a runner’s high).

“Everyone’s going to be a little grumpier when they fast, but we found that you aren’t going to feel worse with the intervention of exercise — with exercise, you can get these extra benefits and be the exact same amount of grumpy as you would be if you didn’t exercise,” Deru said.

Read the original article on Insider

What Actually Increases Your Testosterone and What Doesn’t

by Jen Kates
on June 03, 2021

All too often, we look to supplements or oral medications to solve our nutritional or hormonal deficiencies, but this approach is not always effective. Fortunately, even hormonal issues such as low testosterone can often be resolved by building some new, healthier habits.

Why are Testosterone Levels Important?

Men’s levels of testosterone, a steroid hormone, tend to decline an average of 1% per year after the age of 30. While testosterone also plays an important role in women’s health, this article focuses on natural methods men can use to impact their testosterone levels.

Low levels of testosterone has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including low libido, changes in sexual function, reduced fertility, fatigue, sleep disturbances, difficulty in weight loss or maintaining body composition, decrease in muscle mass, brain fog and emotional fluctuations. Lower testosterone may also eventually lead to longer-term issues such as osteoporosis (low bone density) and cardiovascular concerns. A variety of factors are believed to impact testosterone levels, in addition to age, including obstructive sleep apnea, medication side effects, thyroid issues, excessive drug and alcohol use, and depression.

A growing body of research offers insight into how testosterone levels can be boosted through lifestyle-related behaviors. However, be sure to discuss any health concerns, which may or may not be related to testosterone levels, with your physician or healthcare provider.

How to Increase Testosterone Naturally

  1. Exercise and lift weights. In general, exercise offers numerous health benefits that can help prevent lifestyle-related illnesses and diseases. For example, resistance training has been shown to be one of the best ways to increase testosterone. You need to stick with a weight or resistance-training program for at least six weeks before seeing any potential changes. Additionally, some research has shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may increase testosterone more than steady-state endurance exercise.
  1. Optimize your sleep. Getting ample sleep is one of the most underrated things you can do to optimize your overall health. The ideal number of hours of sleep varies for each person, but seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended for most people. Optimal sleep can help reduce stress and cortisol levels and increase one’s overall sense of well-being. Studies have shown that sleeping only five hours a night can decrease testosterone levels by 15%; conversely, for every extra hour of sleep you get, testosterone levels may increase by an average of 15%.
  1. Reduce and manage stress. The stress hormone cortisol tends to increase when chronic stress is high. When cortisol levels are fluctuating due to stress, testosterone levels, in turn, can lower. Stress and elevated cortisol have also been linked to an increase in body fat, which is shown to decrease testosterone levels.
  1. Eat a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates and fat. Prolonged dieting may contribute to low testosterone levels, according to some research. Additionally, a balanced diet that includes adequate protein, carbohydrate and fat is essential for maximizing the benefits of an exercise program.
  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Low testosterone is often seen in men with overweight or obesity. Getting any extra weight off may encourage a higher testosterone level. By following the steps above, such as exercising and eating a balanced diet, a healthy weight can be more easily maintained.

Post Author


Jen Kates


Jen (Pn2, NASM-CPT, ACE Certified Health Coach) has been a coach in the fitness industry for almost 15 years. She’s the host of the podcast Making Shift Happen and the owner of Shift Human Performance (, both of which allow her to share her purpose to help others create their best lives without spending countless hours in the kitchen and gym. In her spare time outside of the gym, she enjoys mountain biking, spending time outdoors in Colorado, and spending time with her family and silly rescue pup. Follow Jen on Instagram (@shifthumanperformance), Twitter (@shiftyourselfup), or contact her at