5

votes

Why pre-workout fasting?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 30, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Could someone please explain the preoccupation Paleos have with exercising in a fasted state? This has come up again and again on comments and I don't understand the benefit.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 03, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Adam, What do you think are the health benefits of ending a fast with exercise? Do you think it has improved your strength, endurance or overall health?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2011
at 01:52 PM

@L.Pelt, I agree that paleoman or whatever would have been hunting fasted. That is ONE type of exercise. I have a feeling the focus of this thread was somewhat more of the "can i progressively increase my strength, my ability to move heavy poundages" while training fasted. I would say that you will hit the limit of the progressive strength gains quicker than otherwise if you consistently train fasted. You can of course do a myriad of exercises with no fuel in you. However, if you are consistently, progressively lifting heavier and heavier you might be wise to have fuel inside your body.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Adam...I have intuitively gravitated to this mixing of fasted/unfasted workouts: I like the best of both worlds approach: good fat-burning and energizer in the morning workout, good strength/skill expression in the unfasted state. The body requires variety to adapt and avoid entropy...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 07:23 PM

your name isn't "lucien" is it? The french teacher?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Likewise, Adam!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Mark V, I respectfully disagree based on my own results in the last 6 months and in keeping with "Paleo". Obviously, Paleo man would have been hunting in a fasted state. After extensive energy expenditure in making a kill, with a fresh carcass in front of him, I just don't see paleo man feasting on sweet potatoes.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Anyone know specifically, what would constitute a "true fasted state"? 4-8 hrs? 8-12 hrs? Longer?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 01, 2011
at 03:26 PM

I agree with Mark, here. when i lifted in a fasted state i was truly fasted - as in the last calories that went in me were 16 hours before.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 01, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I like this approach. It reminds me of Art de Vany's power law business. Variation seems to be key to getting the best results since it fiddles with gene expression in different ways.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on May 01, 2011
at 01:33 PM

It is not an exclusionary choice, some training fasted and some training fed should be in the plans of most people... In my opinion, anyway.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on May 01, 2011
at 01:31 PM

MarkV: now that I have been getting in the occasional workout fasted, I don't run out of steam... This is a metabolic adaption that I have never had before, so it is really noticeable.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Maybe it is just semantics. Working out with an empty stomach is one thing, working out in a "true" fasted state is another. Having not eaten for 2-3 hours is not a fasted state. You definitely do not want a belly full of food when you workout!

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:48 PM

I know people who walk for exercise in the morning before eating breakfast, but that is a mild form of exercise. I would gas out on an intense weight training seesion.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:45 PM

It looks like some people can do it. If I am in a true fasted state I can't reach my normal level of intensity.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Thanks Dave. I will check it out.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:42 PM

A fail safe and healthy method to loss fat is to reduce calories slightly over time.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Yes. The post workout "window" has been over-hyped. The practice of eating a sugary protein powder drink right after your workout will spike your sugar and stop the growth hormone production initiated by the exercise. Better to let your body relax and wait an hour before you ingest anything after your workout.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:34 PM

Thanks for all your answers/comments. My feelings are you can't put on muscle mass and strength working out fasted. Even for weight loss I think it it counter productive because you can't maximize your workout intensity in a fasted state. What has worked best for me is a small protein/carb meal about an hour before I workout.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 01, 2011
at 04:53 AM

I've done several different skinfold tests and entered the results into a bunch of different formulas on line. Some have me as low as 2% bf (bull), others as high as 8%. I just kind of estimate 5-8% is about right given the results.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on May 01, 2011
at 03:21 AM

My recollection is gluconeogenesis creates most of its glucose from protein, and uses fat to power that conversion. There's a little glucose derived from the fat, but the majority is from protein.

Eeb593d6b6d7a939fdd5469b69347d5f

(1037)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I heartily boo pre-workout fasting.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I have a crummy BF measuring scale. Before I started eating Paleo, it pretty consistently told me I was at 13-14%. I'm just guessing purely on how I look, but I wouldn't think I've dropped too far below 11-12% so far, which is kind of disappointing to me. I was hoping after 2 months to be able to get down below 10% and at least see my abs.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Good comments we got here. I'm curious though: how do you guys know your body fat percentage? I have never heard of a consistent effective way of measuring. Thanks for the input.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 06:23 PM

as an addendum, on days that I do fast pre-WO, I usually break my fast about an hour before going in to the gym on a few hardboiled eggs, or a can of sardines, or salmon, topped off with a small serving of coconut water for some carbs.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I agree with Ben here. Having lifted in a fasted state, I agree that my strength was not at a level I thought it should be...I would however, lift in a fasted state to get lean, which I just can't seem to do (or it's so slow I haven't noticed it). I seem to hover around 12-14% BF no matter what I do.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:48 PM

I'm already very lean, somewhere between 5-8% body fat. Since starting leangains 6 weeks ago, I've packed on 4 lbs, and it sure looks like mostly muscle. You can still gain strength and muscle on leangains, hence the name, though I absolutely don't doubt that not fasting will lead to strength gains, perhaps even at a faster rate.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:42 PM

"preoccupation" seems like a strong word. an "interest" is probably more accurate.

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7 Answers

6
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:28 PM

i myself used to lift heavy in a fasted state. I no longer do as i finally drilled it into my head that getting stronger was my real goal, and not leaning out.

I suppose the fascination with training fasted is just cuz something like 90% of people wish they had a leaner bodycomp than they currently do, and the LG site got mentioned a lot early on in the paleo growth sport and its stuck around.

I do believe in LG's efficacy, its just that i've finally realized that you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Either you work to get stronger in a progression with heavier and heavier iron, which is AIDED by eating pre and post workout, or you work to lose bodyfat and decide that you will NOT get stronger progressively with the iron. In the latter, going in fasted to lift weights that you ALREADY KNOW you can handle will indeed prolly burn off more bodyfat.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 06:23 PM

as an addendum, on days that I do fast pre-WO, I usually break my fast about an hour before going in to the gym on a few hardboiled eggs, or a can of sardines, or salmon, topped off with a small serving of coconut water for some carbs.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 01, 2011
at 04:53 AM

I've done several different skinfold tests and entered the results into a bunch of different formulas on line. Some have me as low as 2% bf (bull), others as high as 8%. I just kind of estimate 5-8% is about right given the results.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on May 01, 2011
at 01:33 PM

It is not an exclusionary choice, some training fasted and some training fed should be in the plans of most people... In my opinion, anyway.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I have a crummy BF measuring scale. Before I started eating Paleo, it pretty consistently told me I was at 13-14%. I'm just guessing purely on how I look, but I wouldn't think I've dropped too far below 11-12% so far, which is kind of disappointing to me. I was hoping after 2 months to be able to get down below 10% and at least see my abs.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:34 PM

Thanks for all your answers/comments. My feelings are you can't put on muscle mass and strength working out fasted. Even for weight loss I think it it counter productive because you can't maximize your workout intensity in a fasted state. What has worked best for me is a small protein/carb meal about an hour before I workout.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:48 PM

I'm already very lean, somewhere between 5-8% body fat. Since starting leangains 6 weeks ago, I've packed on 4 lbs, and it sure looks like mostly muscle. You can still gain strength and muscle on leangains, hence the name, though I absolutely don't doubt that not fasting will lead to strength gains, perhaps even at a faster rate.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Mark V, I respectfully disagree based on my own results in the last 6 months and in keeping with "Paleo". Obviously, Paleo man would have been hunting in a fasted state. After extensive energy expenditure in making a kill, with a fresh carcass in front of him, I just don't see paleo man feasting on sweet potatoes.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:51 PM

I agree with Ben here. Having lifted in a fasted state, I agree that my strength was not at a level I thought it should be...I would however, lift in a fasted state to get lean, which I just can't seem to do (or it's so slow I haven't noticed it). I seem to hover around 12-14% BF no matter what I do.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Good comments we got here. I'm curious though: how do you guys know your body fat percentage? I have never heard of a consistent effective way of measuring. Thanks for the input.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2011
at 01:52 PM

@L.Pelt, I agree that paleoman or whatever would have been hunting fasted. That is ONE type of exercise. I have a feeling the focus of this thread was somewhat more of the "can i progressively increase my strength, my ability to move heavy poundages" while training fasted. I would say that you will hit the limit of the progressive strength gains quicker than otherwise if you consistently train fasted. You can of course do a myriad of exercises with no fuel in you. However, if you are consistently, progressively lifting heavier and heavier you might be wise to have fuel inside your body.

5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 30, 2011
at 11:46 PM

I just cannot train as intensely, having eaten and I do not believe in the PWO "window". IMO, this was made up by protein powder companies. I don't know about you, but the last thing I feel like doing is eating a big meal after hard training. The powder is easier of course, but I'll take my steak and eggs PWO 2-6 hours later. I train fasted at 530am. I have been experimenting with preserving the growth hormone release, as opposed to the insulin spike of "carb loading", which stops the HGH and have been seeing gains in strength and mass at 6%-8% BF. I figure HGH has quite the anabolic effect. I don't eat cake but if I do, I'm eating the whole damn thing.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Yes. The post workout "window" has been over-hyped. The practice of eating a sugary protein powder drink right after your workout will spike your sugar and stop the growth hormone production initiated by the exercise. Better to let your body relax and wait an hour before you ingest anything after your workout.

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 30, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Exercising lowers your blood sugar, prompting the creation of blood sugar from stored fat via gluconeogenesis, so long as it can't draw glucose from what you've recently eaten. Making sure that your body is able to do this well, as opposed to never doing this by eating a high carb, insulin triggering diet, may increase your satiety between meals. This is also the only direct way to "burn fat" that exists.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on May 01, 2011
at 03:21 AM

My recollection is gluconeogenesis creates most of its glucose from protein, and uses fat to power that conversion. There's a little glucose derived from the fat, but the majority is from protein.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:42 PM

A fail safe and healthy method to loss fat is to reduce calories slightly over time.

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 30, 2011
at 09:22 PM

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Thanks Dave. I will check it out.

2
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on May 01, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I train both fasted and fed, on a shifting schedule. Comment on this answer if you want the details!

I get slightly better endurance from training fed, and more health benefits from training in a fasted state. I want both good results, so I make sure to visit multiple variations.

To be clear, I don't think I'm training in a fasted state if I have eaten in the last 12 hours or so. I sometimes make sure to train at the end of a long fast, right before breaking into the fridge.

I know that I am consuming some small amount of muscle when training fasted, but I am also consuming fat and any damaged or diseased tissue that I may have on board.

I'm sure this is part of the reason my health has improved so dramatically.

Mix the combinations of fed state and types of training, and you will be a flexible superhuman and will get many kinds of benefits.

Don't get into a training rut!

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 01, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I like this approach. It reminds me of Art de Vany's power law business. Variation seems to be key to getting the best results since it fiddles with gene expression in different ways.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Adam...I have intuitively gravitated to this mixing of fasted/unfasted workouts: I like the best of both worlds approach: good fat-burning and energizer in the morning workout, good strength/skill expression in the unfasted state. The body requires variety to adapt and avoid entropy...

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 03, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Adam, What do you think are the health benefits of ending a fast with exercise? Do you think it has improved your strength, endurance or overall health?

1
6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on May 01, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Here's my rationale: It works. I feel better, perform better, feel lighter, etc.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:45 PM

It looks like some people can do it. If I am in a true fasted state I can't reach my normal level of intensity.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 30, 2011
at 07:08 PM

a good way to catabolize muscle mass. I nevertheless workout in this state first thing in the morning---it wicks away the grease like a spatula on a Mcdonald's workers pimply face.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Likewise, Adam!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 07:23 PM

your name isn't "lucien" is it? The french teacher?

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on May 01, 2011
at 01:31 PM

MarkV: now that I have been getting in the occasional workout fasted, I don't run out of steam... This is a metabolic adaption that I have never had before, so it is really noticeable.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 01, 2011
at 12:48 PM

I know people who walk for exercise in the morning before eating breakfast, but that is a mild form of exercise. I would gas out on an intense weight training seesion.

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