Fasted workouts are something I’ve only recently discovered after reading how they’re one of the best ways to burn body fat. Now — performance is always my main goal, being fit to fight and having the ability to recover quickly — I’d be lying if there wasn’t a little bit of vanity there too. It’s always nice to know that you’re training hard and — cough cough — looking good too 🙂
Vane old me!
But to justify that vanity it has led me to some excellent discoveries and helped me ‘sell’ the benefits of certain exercise methods and diets to student who otherwise wouldn’t be interested. Any how, let’s get back to the point — fasted workouts!
Fasted Workouts — Tell Me More?!
After training hard on both a full and an empty stomach I have to confess to finding the later a little better for performance. That may be ‘in my head’ or it may be real so I decided to do a little digging and this is what I discovered.
Checking out Mark’s Daily Apple he quotes a study. Three groups were tested — fasted, fed and a non-training control group — using hard endurance exercises while being fed a high fat, high card diet well above what they needed to maintain their bodies.
The results — the fasted group gained the least weight, the least fat and (this is important) their glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity improved in the fasted group and suffered in the control group.
Now I’m not overly interested in the science – I’d rather be training – but I am interested in the results and the general gist seems to be that fasted training improves metabolic performance and helps maintain muscle after endurance exercise.
Fasted Workouts in Layman’s Terms
Good old Rusty Moore put things in to layman’s terms over at his blog.
Explaining that when you eat before training you tend to burn the food that you’ve eaten rather than burning the body fat you’re carrying. How many times have you downed a banana before training to keep your blood sugar levels up — well that’s what you’re burning during training.
So how can you perform better with a fasted workout? Rusty thanks the sympathetic nervous system and puts it better by referencing Ori Hofmekler who stated:
“When fasting, a primal survival mechanism known as the fight-or-flight reaction to stress is triggered, maximizing your body’s capacity for generating energy, being alert, resisting fatigue and resisting stress. The survival mode is primarily controlled by a part of the autonomic nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system, or SNS. When it’s in gear, the body is in its most energy-producing phase, and that’s when the most energy comes from fat burning.”
Imagine you’ve got without food — instead of your body going down a gear, it does the exact opposite and starts producing energy from fat so you get off your butt and go savaging (or whatever our ancestors might have done)!
Not only do you perform better with a fasted workout, you don’t have to worrying about bring back up your dinner during a tough session, taking body punches — and all while burning more fat 🙂
It’s a new topic to me and personally I’ve really struggled with hard training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach quite often BUT that may well be due to day-to-day life and diet. If I clean my diet and change my routine then I’m sure I can make morning sessions on an empty stomach as productive as the evening ones.
It’s pretty hard to get ‘hard information’ on Fasted Workouts right now however this doesn’t come recommended from some particularly well rated bodybuilders big into fat loss (amongst other things)! >> Click HERE