Is fasted training the secret to greater fat loss, longer lasting sex and eternal life?
Want to know the quickest way to improve your training quality and results? Learn how to eat appropriately around your training sessions (no, preworkout does not count).
This is one of my favourite topics to talk about because I think it’s one of those scenarios where the truth doesn’t really make sense, so it’s easier to believe the myth. And it’s a damn persistent myth.
It’s also a pretty easy adjustment, with a huge payoff. I’m not saying you’re lazy, but who DOESN’T want a huge outcome with minimal effort?
Hey guys, welcome back to the Bite Me podcast. Today, I'm going to be talking about fasted training. So this is the idea of going to do your training sessions or going to do some form of low impact cardio in a fasted state. So instead of having something to eat before you go and train, you go and do it on an empty stomach and the rationale behind this is that because you haven't provided your body with any fuel before that training session, it's forced to break down and burn your stores of fuel. And so the idea being, hopefully this is the body fat and this fasted training session, particularly this fasted cardio, might lead to an increased loss of body fat versus if you had done that training session in a fed state after you've eaten something, right. And I completely understand where this idea has come from because on the surface, that makes total sense. If your body doesn't have food to burn, it's going to burn body fat. Sounds good to me, right? Unfortunately there's a little bit more going on under the hood and that's why all of the studies that have investigated this idea of fasted training versus fed training, I should say all of the studies that have matched calories and protein with the groups that have been fed versus the groups that have been fasted, they don't find any difference in body composition at the end of the study, which is to say that the group that does fasted training doesn't end up losing any more body fat at the end of the four week study, the six week study. However long it goes for both groups lose the same amount of body fat. And the reason for this is because we need to understand the difference between fat loss and fat burning or fat oxidation. Okay. So fat burning or fat oxidation, they mean the same thing. I'll say fat burning, because it's a bit simpler to say. Fat burning is purely referring to your body's use of fat as fuel. Now, it's not as simple as it burns body fat instead of burning other stuff. What it means is it's primarily burning body fat over burning carbohydrate, but what we need to be thinking more about if we're thinking about fat loss is our total daily calorie intake. So it's very similar to your bank account, right? If you have $100 in your bank account and you withdraw that $100 as two lots of $50, or 10 lots of $10, you've still withdrawn $100. If you though, then go and replace that $100 later in the day, it doesn't really matter what you withdrew earlier that day. And it doesn't really matter whether you withdrew it as $50 notes or as $10 notes, you've still replaced it. And so if you have gone and done fasted cardio and you've burnt 100 calories, primarily as fat, if you go and replace that 100 calories later in the day, it doesn't matter. You have replaced those 100 calories. If you had eaten something before you were trained and that had caused your body to burn 100 calories of carbohydrate, and then you replaced that 100 calories later in the day, you were in the exact same position as whether you were trained fasted versus training fed. So you might hear people say that fasted training increases fat burning. That is technically true. Fasted training does not increase fat loss. What drives fat loss is a calorie deficit. And so to focus on a calorie deficit, we need to look at our whole day, right? So if we... It doesn't really matter how many calories we've burnt in that training session, whether it be fasted or fed, if we have gone and replaced all of those calories later in the day, or maybe we've consumed even extra calories and we're putting on body fat, fasted cardio or fasted training doesn't affect that equation one little bit. The other interesting thing we see in these studies is even though fat oxidation or fat burning, the use of fat as fuel, may increase when training in a fasted state, it actually decreases for the rest of the day versus fed training. So if we're training after eating, yes, we burn less fat as fuel during that training session, but we actually burn more fat as fuel later in the day. And this is also probably why we don't see a difference between these two groups, because if we pull our lens out and we look at our full 24 hours that increase in fat oxidation during our fasted training session is kind of offset by our decrease in fat oxidation for the rest of the day. Once again, a reminder, that's why it's important to look at our whole day, our whole week, not just that one little individual session. And so basically this leads me to my recommendations for training fuel or training nutrition. If you're doing a short, relatively low impact bout of training, there's no need to eat beforehand. It's not really going to have any positive or negative effects. If you'd like to have something before you go for your morning walk, or light swim, or ride, or even a jog that's less than 30 minutes. There's no need to eat anything. If you want to eat something beforehand, great, but don't feel that you have to. If you are doing a longer session or something that's far more intense, then I absolutely suggest, beg, plead, beauty eat before you train. Eating something before these training sessions is going to do a number of things. The main thing it's going to do though, is it's going to increase your power output in that session. It's going to allow you to perform better, perform for longer, to push harder and to really access that top gear, which is going to allow you to get the most out of that training session. So we can do that. We can eat before we train comfortable in the knowledge that it does not affect our overall fat loss efforts that is driven by our calorie deficit, which has nothing to do with training fed or training fasted. So I hope that made a little bit of sense. If it didn't please shoot me an email or contact me over on the gram. If you learnt something from this podcast, I would also greatly appreciate if you could snap a photo, throw it up in your stories and tag me, maybe tell a friend who is forever training fasted that they should stop doing that and I'll see you next time.