Hey guys, John here.
I’m Christian’s brother and I’m here to tell you about fasted training (a little bit about intermittent fasting(IF), as well as both, require you not to eat up everything in sight :))
I’ve also had a lot of success in the “fitnessphere” when it comes to weight loss (I lost 80 pounds!) and used IF and fasted training with a lot of success.
Anyways, let’s just get to it 🙂
Consider fasted training a strategy in your “burning fat toolbox”.
Fasted training is no secret.
Bodybuilders have known about this “trick” for decades and it’s especially useful when you encounter a plateau in your fat loss journey.
Fasted vs. Fed State Training
Fed State Training
We’re all familiar with fed-state training.
It’s how everyone starts off their gym training career.
Fed training continues to be the way we train until our fat loss journeys stall and we hit a dreadful plateau.
That, or you’ve hit the stubborn belly fat stage (a.k.a. the last ~ 5 pounds of fat in your midsection).
It’s about this time that people start looking for different tricks to get rid of the last five, or so, pounds.
Encountering a plateau, or being in the final stages of your cut (the stubborn belly fat stage), is perfectly normal if you’ve been dieting correctly.
Your body is being a rebel, and it’s attempting to hold on to as much belly fat as possible.
Can this “stage” be overcome by traditional “fed” training?
Of course, it can, but if you’re like me, you want results fast.
Appropriately fast that is.
In other words, I want the last layer of fat covering my abdominals to get lost!
Fasted State Training
Fasted training gives everyone the opportunity to accelerate the rate we eliminate stubborn belly fat.
Fasted training is traditionally working out on an empty stomach.
Yes, this includes fasted weight training and cardio training.
You can do fasted training after a meal’s digestion (roughly 3-6 hours depending on the meal’s magnitude).
Your stomach isn’t “empty”, but it’s still considered fasted training because your insulin levels are back at baseline levels.
Let’s take a closer look at how our bodies function in both states. This way we can better understand the difference between fed and fasted states.
What Determines Being in a Fasted or Fed State?
Let’s start off with a famous hormone we’ve all heard, thrown around once or twice, called insulin.
Insulin is a hormone responsible for transporting nutrients, via the blood, to cells throughout the body.
When you’re in a fasted state, upon waking in the morning, your insulin levels are at baseline levels.
When you’re in a fed state (post food consumption) your insulin levels are higher.
When we eat a meal our bodies digest the nutrients into three main components.
Our bodies break down foods like chicken (protein), for example, into amino acids, potatoes (carbs) into glucose, and fats into fatty acids.
When the nutrients are broken down into these components insulin comes into play and transports the nutrients to different cells throughout the body.
At this point, your body’s insulin levels are higher than normal.
That depends on the magnitude of your meal.
Usually, the higher the carb load the higher your insulin levels.
How to Start Fasted Training?
Fasted training can be done by either of the following two methods:
- Train 4-5 hours after meal consumptionOR
- Train right before breaking your FAST A.K.A. pushing your first meal 4-6 hours back upon waking up A.K.A. Intermittent Fasting.
Being that you’re in a fasted state, your body is going to be forced to tap into your body fat stores for energy.
Starting to see the plus in fasted training?
Have you noticed that eating before a weight lifting session gives you an extra boost in the gym?
This pumped-up feeling comes from the foods we eat.
Carbohydrates, in particular, fill our muscles with glycogen, a storage form of glucose.
Glycogen, stored in muscle cells (as well as the liver), tends to help us squeeze out a few extra reps in our workouts.
During fasted training, you have little to no access to these benefits.
There’s a tradeoff:
fasted workouts = less energy in the gym BUT a faster rate of fat loss
fed workouts = more energy in the gym BUT a lesser rate of fat loss
What Can You Expect with Fasted Weight Training?
If you’ve never tried it, fasted weight training, before, don’t be surprised if you drop 1-2 reps on lifts that you usually perform strongly in.
It’s not that you’re losing muscle (you wouldn’t lose it that fast anyway), but remember you’re in a fasted state now and your glycogen levels are at the lowest point they’re going to be all day.
You’ll be a little weaker on your lifts, expect it.
What can you expect with Fasted Cardio?
Fasted cardio is another great option to consider.
You’ll still reap the benefits.
You could even save your weight training for later on during the day if you wish.
You can combine your workouts (fasted cardio and fasted weight training) too.
Doing this, however, will increase the chances of breaking down muscle.
If your schedule permits, separate these two forms of training by a few hours or better yet have them on separate days.
Is fasted training better than fed-state training?
Not necessarily, but when you’re looking to accelerate your fat loss efforts, specifically get rid of stubborn belly fat, fasted training may be your winning ticket.
My Experience with Fasted Training
This picture is my testimony to fasted training.
The left was taken in March and the right was taken a quarter of the way into May.
It’s the most recent update picture I have.
I practice intermittent fasting, it’s my approach to fasted training.
Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been “walking the walk” on fasted training.
My schedule permitted me to do fasted weight training in the morning and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio in the evening.
The results speak for themselves but don’t take my word for it.
Let’s take a look at what research has to say about fasted training.
The Research on Fasted Training
Benefit #1: Fasted Training Increases Fat Oxidation
The University of Texas, at Austin, performed a study to determine if having an increase in plasma insulin, before training, had an effect on fat oxidation.
The testing subjects were 6 men who trained in both a fasted and fed state.
The results were that a small spike in plasma insulin suppresses lipolysis during exercise.
Furthermore, the study indicated that the suppression also limited fat oxidation.
The study concluded that fasted training increases fat oxidation.
This means that your body will use fat stores for energy more often.
Benefit #2: Fasted Training Helps Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat
Aarus University Hospital, Denmark did a study on fasted subjects and the findings were fascinating.
This study found that abdominal lipolysis increased.
In other words, the breakdown of triglycerides for energy production, in the stomach region (the stubborn belly fat region), increased.
The study showed that blood flow to the abdominal region increased by 50%, giving fasted training an edge.
Our abdominal region isn’t as vascular as other regions in our bodies (blood has a tough time circulating to this portion of the body).
A Potential Downside
A potential downside of fasted training is increased muscle breakdown.
The goal of fasted training is to use fat stores for energy.
The reason you don’t want to lose muscle mass is that muscle is a lot harder to gain back.
It’s a lot easier to gain 10 lbs of fat then it is to gain 10 lbs of lean muscle.
Gaining muscle mass takes time and effort.
Fasted training increases the rate at which muscle cells are used up.
The amount of muscle that’s broken down is not drastic but it’s a possibility.
So does fasted training fit the bill for you?
Let’s take a look at two body types, when it comes to fasted training:
- Naturally chubby camp (endomorphs).
- Naturally skinny camp (ectomorphs).
For people in camp one, losing body fat is typically a struggle.
Chris and I happen to be a member of this camp 🙂 and we also enjoy proven strategies that’ll accelerate fat loss.
Camp two tends to be made up of people who were born skinny (tend to have fast metabolisms too) and have the most potential of losing muscle mass.
Folks in this camp have a harder time gaining weight.
Since preserving strength, when training fasted, is the ultimate goal for both camps it’s appropriate to discuss supplements that will help spare muscle.
Avoiding Muscle Loss and Accelerating Fat Loss with Fasted Training
I’ve come across these supplements through my journey:
BCAAs are branch chain amino acids that consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Together these amino acids prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle synthesis.
I found leucine (by itself), as a supplement, to be a good alternative when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck.
Leucine is the main amino acid responsible for protection against muscle breakdown.
It’s not the best-tasting supplement, but it gets the job done.
Yohimbine is another supplement we’ve experimented with.
It’s a supplement that enhances fat loss.
The catch is that it only works when you’re in a fasted state!
The Mother of All Fasting Supplements
After getting tired of purchasing the above supplements separately I came across a supplement called Forge.
My brother and I use it before our fasted training.
Without going into too much detail, here is the list of ingredients:
FORGE supplement ingredients:
- The metabolized version of the amino acid leucine (for muscle loss prevention)
- Accelerates stubborn body fat loss 🙂
- No Caffeine
- Works best with coffee
Is Fasted Training for You?
In short yes, but recall that fasted training only works if your diet is in check.
Those who claim fasted training doesn’t work tend to neglect the law of energy balance (aka, being in a calorie deficit).
Fasted training will help you lose stubborn fat faster if you let it.
If you take the right steps in your diet and protect yourself from muscle breakdown you’re on your way to accelerating your fat loss efforts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
Have you experimented with fasted training in the past? Leave a comment below and I’ll join in the discussion!
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