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Fasting for Fitness

written by: jamesj • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 6/29/2011

Fasting has great benefits to the body, mind, and spirit, according to those that make it a practice. Fasting clears the body of impurities. Some say it helps with healing, and most who practice fasting say it clears the mind, restores energy, and increases spiritual awareness.

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    Fasting for Health

    In a culture that is sometimes obsessed with food, fasting seems almost counter intuitive. People have fasted for health and spiritual reasons since the beginning of recorded time. There remains some controversy about the benefits, but those practicing fasting for fitness and health benefits strongly believe in the positive effects. Fasting clears the body of toxins, which is the primary benefit. A side benefit is mental clarity that results from the body being cleansed of toxins.

    When the human body does not have food coming in, it turns to stored fat for energy, and this is where toxins are released. Will Carroll, in The Health Benefits of Fasting, notes that a fast chemically begins when the body carbohydrate stores in the body are used as an energy source. He calls fasting "the missing liink," in the Western diet.

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    Types of Fasts

    A juice fast is the most popular type of fast. Drinking only juice provides enough nutrients to keep a person going, and at the same time helps to cleanse the body of impurities. A fast with no liquids would not be good, and could actually hinder the cleansing process. Some people do a water-only fast.

    Another type of fast is to abstain from certain foods, such as meat, for a period of time. Purists scoff at this idea, but it could be a place to get started on doing a liquid fast.

    You may determine how long your fast will be. Usually one day is a good place to start, but drink as much juice or water as you want. Some people fast for many days, but it might be too much of a shock to your body to start with a multi-day fast.

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    Body, Mind and Spirit

    Cleansing the body is healthy, and some say it increases the quality of life. It does rejuvenate the body, sort of a resetting of one's biological system.

    When the body is cleansed that way, the mind is also cleared. People who fast regularly say fasting makes their mind more sharp. While on a fast there is more awareness of things around you. Grass looks a little greener, the sky is a deeper shade of blue.

    On a spiritual level, awareness is also increased. Fasting is popular in Judaism, Christainity and Islam, as religious rituals. The practice makes them feel closer to God and more in tune with their spiritual life.

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    Preparation

    In getting ready to fast for fitness, it is good to have some basic plans. Do not schedule stenuous activities, but in general, you may continue with life as usual while fasting.

    Practice at first. You need to know how your body will react. Start with skipping one meal. Start with a one-day fast. You may feel light headed at first, but that will pass in a few hours.

    If you have any existing medical contitions, particularly diabetes, you need to check with your doctor before trying a fast.

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    Resource

    The Health Benefits of Fasting: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1834