Hey Angels and Alphas,
Have you ever wondered whether you should do fasted workouts for weight loss? Have you thought about skipping breakfast before exercising? With many experts touting the benefits of so-called “fasted” workouts, are they actually worth the hype?
Let’s be honest – if you don’t eat before a workout simply because you don’t have the time or because you want to avoid gastric distress, that’s fine, you can choose to skip eating. But if you want to reap all the supposed benefits of fasted workouts, you have to do more than just skip eating in the morning.
Not to mention, if you are one of those people who work out on an empty stomach and is then immediately tempered to consume extra food to “reward themselves,” you’re likely overcompensating for the actual calorie-burn.
If you’re not careful with fasted workouts, you’re not just risking not getting the desired results. You’re putting your health and performance in danger.
That’s why we’re here today to talk about some of the most common fasted workout mistakes and how to go about correcting them.
First of all, there’s a difference between fasting and just not eating.
And yes, the difference does occur on a physiological level (and on a weight loss level.) Usually, when you’re talking about fasting, you’re talking about a period of 10, ideally more than 12, hours. This is the amount of time your body requires to thoroughly digest everything that’s in your stomach and stop relying on glucose for fuel.
Then it basically “switches” from relying on carbohydrates for energy to relying on fat for energy, one of the main reasons for practicing fasted workouts.
For example, many people opt for having dinner at 8-9 p.m., then have a midnight snack, then go for an 8 a.m. workout without eating first. Is that really a fasted workout? You’re not reaping the benefit of utilizing fat for fuel.
That’s why you should aim to eat meals earlier or just practice time-restricted eating so you can actually be in a fasted state during your morning workout.
How much more fat can you actually burn with fasted workouts?
Here’s what the research says – after a fasted training session, fat burning mechanisms in your body get elevated for about 24 hours which means more weight loss. That being said, this 24-hour increase in fat burning isn’t going to be immediately visible in terms of fat-loss results.
If you’re someone practicing fasted morning workouts a few times a week, you will definitely see enough fat burn accumulate to help you reach a better body composition. But if you’re doing it once a week, you probably aren’t going to drop yourself into that calorie deficit you need.
When training, the fat-burning zone of exercise is found basically at one of the lowest levels of intensity. You can burn a higher percentage of fat just by walking, but training at a higher intensity can translate into more total calorie burn and more fat being torched as a result.
That’s why instead of relying on just doing fasted cardio to get lean, focus on eating a balanced diet with high-quality, nutrient-dense foods and mixing low- and high-intensity workouts.
What about fitness performance during fasted workouts?
Many people choose fasted workouts because they expect great performance. But you have to think in terms of “how can my body using fat for energy here be an advantage to me?”
Performing at a high level will come from having an immediate supply of glucose from carbohydrates because this is simply the easiest way to produce ATP and give your muscles strength and endurance during training.
If you’re an athlete, you might find that fasted training has a “higher perceived effort level” than the same workout would feel during a fast. If you’re pushing too hard and you’re trying to hit your numbers in a fasted workout, you might risk weakness, dizziness, and maybe even injury. Fasted training will provide beneficial physiological adaptations; however, they happen throughout time and will not immediately lead to better performance workout-to-workout. That’s why you should take fasted workouts seriously and use them strategically.
What does this mean for you?
Remember – training in a fasted state is a specific type and method of training that requires extra attention and care if you want to adhere to its protocol correctly. Yes, this type of training has science-backed, long-term benefits from blood glucose stability to increasing your muscle’s oxidative capacity.
But if you’re not sure what you’re doing and you’re neglecting to follow a well-defined fasting plan, you are likely doing it wrong and you’re damaging your energy levels, your fitness, and your body composition.
Make sure to do your research and listen to your body if you want to reap the extra benefits of fasted sessions, and even then, use them sparingly and strategically.