We’re going to re-start the great debate about fasted training, should you or shouldn’t you? It’s a debate that has been raging online for quite some time. It’s time to put our two cents in and hopefully put it to rest for our readers once and for all. Ok, maybe not once and for all, but for now? The debate will always be a debate.
It’s important to understand that fasting is not evil and it’s not dangerous when done correctly. People have been fasting for thousands of years. In fact people of certain faiths still do to this day. As pointed out by Dr. Jason Fung M.D., a renowned diabetes and obesity specialist in Toronto, Ontario people in the western world as late as the 1950’s fasted for a period. Snacking and eating while driving and between meals was not a normality back then and a result, obesity was very low in the 1950’s. It was common for families to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner within a 10 hour span of time and then fast until breakfast the next morning. In fact, look at the name of the first meal of the day – Break Fast. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that people started eating on the run and in between meals and quick processed microwaveable foods became the norm.
Now that we have shown you that fasting as always had a place in this world, let’s see if we can convince you that training while fasted may have it’s place in he modern world as well.
Fasting is a good way of optimizing hormones, and optimizing them quickly. This optimization may have benefits conducive to both burning fat and building muscle. Fasting is responsible for two significant effects:
First, fasting improves insulin sensitivity. The hormone insulin is released by the body when we eat to help us absorb nutrients from the food. It also takes the blood sugars and directs them to muscles, liver and fat cells to be used as energy. Where we have a problem by when eating too much we become resistant to the effects of insulin. Which also raises the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases and makes it hard to lose fat. After all, if our body doesn’t have to utilize the stored energy it will just keep it stored for later on. Also by eating less often the body slows its release of insulin causing us to become more sensitive to it.
Before we go into the second significant effect of fasting I want to issue a warning here – If you believe you cannot build muscle and burn fat while training fasted AND don’t want to change your views, move on to the next article.
Second, the significant increase in the production of Growth Hormone (GH). Growth Hormone is a hormone that helps build muscle tissue and burn fat. With proper weight training and sleep, fasting can significantly increase the production of GH. In fact at 24 hours without food studies have shown an increase of Growth Hormone of upto 2,000 percent. This affect ends when the fasting ends. This fact alone may have you thinking about adding some fasting to your regimen. The more regularly you fast the more growth hormone production you’ll have.
Furthermore it’s common for people who fast regularly in general to report boosts in energy levels. Thus, making it seem logical that if you put those energy levels to good use and train during a fasting period you just might see even more gains than a fed state training session. If you do give fasted training a go remember, I recommend compound movements. Movements which use more muscle groups and cause a surge in Testosterone. We haven’t covered testosterone in this article because fasting really does not affect testosterone but why not increase those levels and get that muscle building machine of yours fired up.
To close this out, fasted training ensures that carbs, proteins and fat get distributed to the right parts of the body and stored minimally as fat. Many studies have shown that fasted training is a great way to burn fat and build muscle and also helps absorb that post workout meal – which doesn’t have to be immediately after your workout, but rather whenever you break the fast.