To assess whether Ramadan intermittent fasting (RIF) affects 5000-m running performance and physiological parameters classically associated with middle-distance performance.
Two experimental groups (Ramadan fasting, n = 9, vs control, n = 9) participated in 2 experimental sessions, one before RIF and the other at the last week of fasting.
For each session, subjects completed 4 tests in the same order: a maximal running test, a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of knee extensor, 2 rectangular submaximal exercises on treadmill for 6 minutes at an intensity corresponding to the first ventilatory threshold (VT1), and a running performance test (5000 m).
Eighteen, well-trained, middle-distance runners.
Main Outcome Measures:
Maximal oxygen consumption, MVC, running performance, running efficiency, submaximal O2 kinetics parameters (O2, O2b, time constant τ, and amplitude A1) and anthropometric parameters were recorded or calculated.
At the end of Ramadan fasting, a decrease in MVC was observed (−3.2%; P < 0.00001; η2, 0.80), associated with an increase in the time constant of oxygen kinetics (+51%; P < 0.00007; η2, 0.72) and a decrease in performance (−5%; P < 0.0007; η2, 0.51). No effect was observed on running efficiency or maximal aerobic power.
These results suggest that Ramadan changes in muscular performance and oxygen kinetics could affect performance during middle-distance events and need to be considered to choose training protocols during RIF.