Fasted training Is training that you do in the fasted state.
Fasted cardio and weightlifting are both included when I say “fasted training”.
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The fasted state= This is a state in which you have completely digested and absorbed your last meal or snack. And your insulin levels are at a baseline or low level.
Typically it takes between 3 – 4 hours after you ate your last meal until you’re in the fasted state.
For example, even if you drink a protein shake (one scoop of whey protein mixed with water).
It could take you between 2- 3 hours to absorb and digest it. And for insulin levels to return to low/baseline levels.
The opposite of the fasted state is the postprandial state.
Postprandial state = Can also be called the fed state. It’s the period following after you’ve eaten a meal or a snack.
If you perform your weightlifting/ cardio in the postprandial state you’re not training fasted.
There are benefits and downsides of training in the fasted state.
But if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article let it be this:
Fasted training doesn’t cause you to lose any more fat in and of itself. You must still be in a calorie deficit for fat loss to take place first and foremost.
Fasted Training (Cardio And Weightlifting) Pros And Cons
1. No stomach discomfort and you don’t have to wait for your meal to digest before working out.
This seems obvious but there’s something nice about just getting up in the morning (completely) fasted. And getting your workout done.
If you’re doing a type of intermittent fasting protocol. Where you consume most of your calories at night. You’ll find that your glycogen stores are completely replenished when you workout in the morning.
So when it comes to the morning you’re ready to crush your workout.
2. You can eat more food later in the day resulting in you not going to bed hungry.
While using an intermittent fasting approach (And there are many). Where you train fasted. You can eat like a king for the other meals of the day.
Poor insulin sensitivity is associated with metabolic syndrome. So improved insulin sensitivity is an important health marker.
And improved insulin sensitivity can help against the group of conditions that make up metabolic syndrome.
Improved nutrient partitioning, in short, means where the calories are going when you eat them.
For example, someone who is lean who overeats will drive more calories into their muscles and build muscle easier.
Whereas someone who is overweight will drive more of those calories into their fat stores and put on more fat.
4. You can eat bigger meals while dieting
This is a massive advantage in my opinion. Because if you train while already having a big breakfast of 600 or more calories. That’s 600 calories that you can’t consume later.
If you like to eat big meals in the evening then this can have an undesirable impact on your adherence to your diet.
1. Because you’re training fasted you’re not consuming any pre-workout carbs. Which isn’t optimal for performance.
Pre-workout carbs before your workout. Have been proven to increase your performance in your workouts. So you won’t be able to lift as much weight in your workouts if you’re in the fasted state.
Although not to worry because your body quickly adapts to training fasted. And even though it’s not optimal to train in the fasted state. You can still develop enough strength and muscle to build a great physique training fasted.
2. Missing a meal may make it harder for you to gain weight.
If your goal is to gain weight. And you need to eat lots of calories. Then it makes sense to eat before your workouts. This will give you an extra boost in strength.
And you won’t need to cram in the calories later in the day. Which if you’re eating 3000-4000 or more calories can be very tough to achieve.
3. You might find that training fasted is uncomfortable.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to meal frequency.
And although your hunger hormone ghrelin will help you become more accustomed to fasted training. After the first few days. You may just not like it.
4. Breakfast is your favourite meal of the day.
If breakfast is your favourite meal of the day. And you enjoy eating it before working out. Then fasted training probably isn’t for you.
Although you could train before breakfast. But in my opinion, if you’re going to eat breakfast you might as well have it before your workout to reap the extra boost in strength gains.
My Thoughts On Fasted Training
When calories are equal. It doesn’t matter if you do fasted training or not to lose fat. Although it can help very lean individuals lose stubborn body fat. But because 99% of my audience don’t need to lose stubborn body fat (they just need to lose some fat and get healthy).
It’s not going to help you much at all. And it’s much better to just focus on resistance training and on making sure you’re in a calorie deficit. Because this is where 90% of your weight loss results will come from.
Total calories will always be king as far as weight loss and weight gain is concerned.
And as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. You’ll lose weight whether you train fasted or not.
Why I Like To Train Fasted & Partially Fasted
I enjoy eating most of my calories in the evening. So training fasted (or having 30 grams of whey protein before my workout) ensures that I eat nothing and just drink a light protein shake.
I’ll then postpone my first meal till 1-3pm and it’ll be something full of protein, carbs and a moderate amount of fat.
In true 16:8 intermittent fasting style, I’ll eat 3 meals in total from 1-9 PM and fast for 16 hours once this eating window is over.
This helps me enjoy big meals while still sticking to my diet. Especially when I’m losing fat which means I need to eat between 1900-2000 calories to be in a sustainable yet aggressive calorie deficit.
If I Train Completely Fasted Won’t I Lose Muscle?
To quote Lyle Mcdonald from body recomposition.com.
” It’s almost universally stated that eating more frequently either increases fat loss or spares the loss of lean body mass (LBM) while dieting but this really only holds true for extreme differences in meal frequency and even then only when dietary protein intake isn’t sufficient. When protein intake is high enough, meal frequency becomes more or less irrelevant. “
That is to say, it doesn’t matter if you eat one meal a day (OMAD) or 5 meals per day. As long as you’re eating enough protein it doesn’t really matter if you train fasted or not. You won’t lose muscle.
Most of this “anabolic window” nonsense comes from supplement companies trying to peddle their branch chain amino acid products that are virtually useless as long as you’re getting enough protein.
The Bottom Line On Fasted Training/ Cardio
- When calories are equal and you’re in a calorie deficit. It doesn’t matter if you train fasted or not. You’ll lose the same amount of fat.
- If you prefer eating more calories later on in the day and use intermittent fasting then fasted training maybe your favourite way to train.
- If you enjoy eating breakfast and you enjoy the extra boost in performance from the carbs. Then fasted training probably isn’t for you.
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