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Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.071472
  • Review

Fasting and recovery from exercise

  1. Louise Burke
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louise Burke, Australian Institute of Sport, PO Box 176, Belconnen ACT 2616, Australia; louise.burke{at}ausport.gov.au
  • Accepted 4 March 2010
  • Published Online First 10 May 2010

Abstract

Recovery after strenuous exercise involves processes that are dependent on fluid and food intake. Current sports nutrition guidelines provide recommendations for the quantity and timing of consumption of nutrients to optimise recovery issues such as refuelling, rehydration and protein synthesis for repair and adaptation. Recovery of immune and antioxidant systems is important but less well documented. In some cases, there is little effective recovery until nutrients are supplied, while in others, the stimulus for recovery is strongest in the period immediately after exercise. Lack of appropriate nutritional support will reduce adaption to exercise and impair preparation for future bouts. Ramadan represents a special case of intermittent fasting undertaken by many athletes during periods of training as well as important competitive events. The avoidance of fluid and food intake from sunrise to sundown involves prolonged periods without intake of nutrients, inflexibility with the timing of eating and drinking over the day and around an exercise session, and changes to usual dietary choices due to the special foods involved with various rituals. These outcomes will all challenge the athlete's ability to recover optimally between exercise sessions undertaken during the fast or from day to day.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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