Can You Exercise on A Juice Cleanse? What Workouts are Allowed?
This is a question that comes up a lot in the juicing world, some people are really into exercise and want to know if they can carry on while on a juice cleanse. Others want to know if exercise will enhance the effects of the juice cleanse.
Well, I did some research and it turns out that yes you can exercise on a juice cleanse, but you want it to be light exercise. No super intense workouts, no heavy weight lifting, no cross fit. You just want light cardio exercises, walking, yoga, swimming all that kind of good stuff.
I’ll go into more detail below as to what you should and shouldn’t do but for now let’s take a look at what exercise does during a juice cleanse.
What Exercise Does During A juice Cleanse
During a juice fast not only are you limiting solid foods into your diet to give your body a chance to detox, but you are also limiting the number of calories to help with weight loss.
Some juice cleanses have your full day of calories in them but most are all about calorie restriction and easing the digestive system,
Now what exercise does is take these calories and turn it into fuel for your muscles and joints while you exercise, so if you’re on a calorie restricted cleanse your body isn’t going to have this fuel as readily available, it can turn to fats stored in the body for fuel but there is a price to pay…
Why You Shouldn’t Over Exercise
You’ll get injured! Your body needs calories to repair itself after exercise, you need to be eating enough so that all the strains to your muscles can be repaired and looked after while you recover. Without enough calories, these repairs don’t happen and then compound over time leading you to injuries that can be severe.
If you’re just cleansing for 3 days this likely won’t happen because you’ll feel tired and not be able to go full throttle as normal, but if you’re going longer than this then you’re asking for trouble.
Now if you stick to light exercise this won’t happen. Walking for 30-60 minutes isn’t long enough to truly work your muscles, but it’s a great way to re-energize and focus yourself during a cleanse.
Your ridding your body of physical toxins and a walk can help rid your body of emotional ones. As can yoga and swimming but I’ve found there’s something especially centering about going for a walk.
Weight Lifting and Juice Cleansing
Now weight lifting especially should be avoided because you’re simply not getting enough protein, this is what repairs the muscles allowing them to grow stronger, and without enough protein, you’re going to feel weak and sore. And during a cleanse you’re probably going to be a bit weak and low energy anyway so no need to make things worse!
So hang up the squat rack for a few days while you cleanse. Or if you really can’t resist adding in some protein powder to give you the extra boost you’ll need.
How Does Cleanse Length Affect Things
As I hinted at before the longer the cleanse the more likely it is that you’re going to hurt yourself if you keep up high intensity workouts. You’re cashing out a calorie debt that will lead to injury if you don’t switch down a gear.
But in a 3 day cleanse you’ll likely be OK, just worn out, but as you get up to 7 days and beyond you’re going to start running into trouble.
But again this is if you’re cleansing to lose weight, if you’re not restricting calories then exercising is fine, you’ll just find yourself more tired and probably recording a little slower than before.
What Exercise is recommended on a juice cleanse
Anything your Grandma would be happy to do.
You can walk, cycle (lightly, no 100 mile races), swim, do some yoga, a little tai-chi. All of these are totally fine, even some bodyweight exercises are OK as long as you don’t push it too hard.
As I said, this is my preferred exercise and what I tell people to do, it’s the most calming, the most invigorating and the best for getting your head straight. There is no problem made worse by taking some time to walk in nature after all.
Not power walking, and not hiking 10 miles, just a nice gentle walk to catch up with someone close to you, to be in nature, and to put one foot in front of the other for an hour or so. Bliss
The cycling you would do to the shops, not the spandex covered cycling you would see on the front of a magazine. But be careful, some people get some dizziness during a cleanse and you don’t want that to hit while you’re on a bicycle, so stay sharp and stay tuned in to your body. If you need to stop, then stop, and if you need to walk your bicycle back home then do so.
You’re getting the idea but a gentle breaststroke rather than a frantic butterfly up and down an Olympic pool.
Find some YouTube videos you can follow along to at home, that way you can rest more as needed and you’re not pushing to keep up with a class.
What about hot yoga and juice cleanses? Well the jury is out on these, I find hot yoga unbearably difficult so it’s not something I’d consider, but I know others find it a much more relaxing process. So the Jury is out, best to talk to your teacher, tell them about your cleanse and ask what they recommend.
A few push-ups, a few squats, and a few sit-ups? I don’t see the harm in that, as long as you aren’t pushing to excess I think it’ll be fine.
What exercise isn’t recommended on a juice cleanse
Anything that leaves you covered in sweat, Cross fit, HIIT workouts, any fitness class, Long distance anything, most running but some running is OK if you’re already a runner, you’ll still need to change and reduce your normal fitness routine.
These are all likely to wipe you out, and if you do them you won’t be performing at nearly your normal standard which can leave you pretty demotivated and feeling lousy. SO best to put a hold to them and skip them until next week.
Or if that doesn’t seem right then have some extra meals on the days you’re working out, there are no hard and fast rules after all. Try some nut milk or incorporate more green juices because leafy greens tend to have a little more protein than other fruit juices.
Warning Signs While Exercising on a Juice Cleanse
If you do choose to exercise during the detox process these are somethings you’ll want to look out for.
The most common because your blood sugar levels are going to be out of whack depending on what your diet was like before. If you feel dizzy, stop and take a breath, there is no winning this so just chill out and take your time, be kind to yourself and accept you’re doing all you can.
Low Energy Levels
This one is very normal, especially if it’s your first day. You just aren’t taking in as many calories so your body doesn’t have the same fuel. And if you don’t have as much fuel then of course you’re going to hit the wall faster. Just roll with it, take a walk, get some fresh air and relax, it’s OK to feel tired.
This is the worst sign, a sign of too much exercise for how much fuel. Always stop if you feel pain anywhere while exercising, regardless of whether or not you’re on a juice cleanse.
Take it slow, take it sensible, and listen to what your body has to say. It will guide you through this process, and if you need some extra fuel have a banana, eat some fruit, or even eat an avocado to get you some extra healthy fats to fuel you through, a little bit of healthy eating never hurt anyone, especially if you’re eating superfoods. .
You get to make up your own rules, it doesn’t have to be a hard and fast militant operation after all. Come up with a light exercise routine that works for you and stick with it. Avoid intense exercise and have your juicer at the ready to make some extra fuel. Even throw in a protein smoothie if you need it, I’m not judging! Detoxing can be a personal process, so you might as well try and enjoy the detoxification.