Fasted Training has an abundance of fat burning and muscle building benefits backed by science. If you want to destroy your stubborn fat for good, read this article...
On the surface, fasted training appears to go against conventional wisdom. When you exert energy when the body has none to spare, it’s going to catabolize muscle. That’s the commonly accepted thinking adopted by most personal trainers and coaches in the industry.
However, new studies are always coming forth and challenging old prevailing beliefs. Fasted training, as it turns out, just might prove to be beneficial in more ways than one. Most importantly, it will accelerate fat loss.
1. Fasted Strength Training Increases Growth Hormones
Cardio on an empty stomach has long been the accepted norm, and there is ample evidence for why you should get in your HIIT before your first meal of the day. Resistance training while fasting, though, is an entirely different story.
Most coaches recommend against it especially if you’re trying to build muscle. It’s long believed that fasted weight training actually has the opposite effect and may eat into muscle instead of stimulating and priming it for anabolic growth.
This line of thinking, though, has just been turned upside its head. Countless studies, such as this one, show that growth hormones elevate by as much as 2,000% following a fasting period. When combined with strength training, which also elevates testosterone, then that is a hell of a lot of anabolic hormones circulating in your body. For you, that translates to lean mass growth.
Even if you’re not interested in competing for the next Mr. Olympia title, it’s common knowledge that muscle burns calories, thus translating to more fat loss.
Here’s another idea to ingest: Fasting induces autophagy. This is the ability of cells to shuttle toxins and endocrine disruptors out of the body. Impurities in the body are one of the greatest testosterone killers.
2. Fasted Training Targets Fat Stores Directly
For the most part, your body acquires energy from one of three sources. The first is from the foods you eat, which it breaks down and use for various bodily functions. If you’re in a fasted state, then your body has to get the energy from elsewhere, and that’s where it turns to the other two sources: fat and muscle. Your goal is to get the body to burn fat rather than muscle or recently consumed food.
When you train in a fed state, that is, training not long after consuming a meal, then the body has no reason to target fat tissue when there is an abundant of readily available energy from your last meal.
On top of that, eating also raises insulin levels. While insulin is invaluable for shuttling nutrients and macronutrients into cells, it’s also more notoriously known for impairing the breakdown of fatty acids.
When you’re in a fasted state, all foods consumed have been fully digested and insulin levels have returned to baseline. All energy expended at this point will come from body fat and muscle.
To ensure that your body is only using fat stores for fuel, I recommend supplementing with a BCAA like Revolt so that your muscles are being fed during your intense workout session. .
Intermittent Fasting ≠Starvation.
When it comes to fasting, there is a lot of talk about the body going into “starvation mode.” When the body is in a state of starvation, that’s when the dreaded muscle catabolism begins.
Here’s what you need to know: intermittent fasting does not equal starvation. The two are vastly different. Remember, a typical intermittent fast only lasts for about 16 hours, or 24 hours at the most. Your body doesn’t enter starvation mode simply because it went for a few hours more than usual without eating. Also, being hungry does not mean your body is in starvation mode.
One study, in fact, showed that even prolonged fasting – lasting two to four days – was actually beneficial for the body as it allowed for the regeneration of new immune cells. This is definitely not something the body can do if it’s breaking down from starvation.
3. Intermittent Fasting Increases Catecholamines
Fasting has also been shown in studies to increase an organic compound known as catecholamines. Two types of catecholamines, adrenaline and noradrenaline, are known for elevating metabolism even while the body is at rest.
More specifically, these two catecholamines aid in the activation of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), which resides in adipose fat tissue and is responsible for the release of fat from fat cells where it can be burned for energy.
Separate studies also show that high intensity cardio, such as HIIT, elevates catecholamines. It makes sense to believe then, that fasted HIIT has a double whammy effect on the levels of the compound released.
Another benefit of fasted training is that it promotes blood flow throughout the body and particularly in common “problem areas,” such as the lower abdominals or areas where body fat tends to accumulate. The increased blood flow makes it easier for catecholamines to travel to these so-called troubled spots where it can activate HSL.
In simplified terms, fasted training promotes MORE fat loss and specifically more from stubborn fat sources.
4. Intermittent Fasting Increases Performance
Fasting or not, when you train, you have to perform at your very best. Results, after all, do not come from mediocre effort. Fasted training, though, is long believed to inhibit performance; after all, you are working out without readily available macronutrients circulating in the blood.
Indeed, some people do experience diminished performance when training in a fasted state. Everyone is different after all, and people respond differently to the effects food, or lack of it, on exercise.
However, even if an empty stomach makes exercise feel awkward, the effects are usually just temporary and subside once your body adjusts. Any decline in performance can also usually be offset by taking a BCAA supplement.
This study showed that subjects administered a BCAA supplement showed improved oxygen intake and blood lactate concentration during a cycling exercise.
Fasted training, in fact, is a staple practice among Kenyan runners, many of which compete at the world level and have taken home many Olympic gold medals. Granted, these are endurance runners who train for long-distance runs, not exactly the exercise you want to be doing for maximum fat loss. Nevertheless, it does show that there is serious validity behind the effects of intermittent fasting on physical performance enhancement.
It’s not just endurance athletes, though, that train fasted. Husain and Hamza Abdullah are two brothers and players in the NFL who sometimes train fasted when observing the Muslim holiday Ramadan.
Football training consists of short bursts of explosive energy to prime players for that 100-yard dash. Their coaches have devised a plan that allows them to train at an optimum state while adhering to their fasting requirements during the religious observance.
You can read about the Abdullah brothers’ story here and how they integrate fasting into their training for maximum performance. It is said that even a few other players are following suit.
Fasted training, and strength training especially, is no longer taboo and is becoming more accepted and mainstream. This is a huge revelation because when it comes to fat loss, you have to train near your maximum output.
If you’re not exerting near your VO2 max, then you’re not doing HIIT; you’re practically doing regular aerobics at a moderate pace. That, as you should know, does not burn fat at optimum levels and is even accompanied by some muscle loss.
5. Fasted Training Lowers Insulin Levels
This was briefly discussed earlier, though it warrants a much more in-depth look. Insulin is vital as it helps distribute the nutrients from the foods we eat to the muscles and organs where they can be properly utilized. Eating, even if it’s a low-carb, high-protein meal, releases insulin.
Of course, this is a good thing; the problem, though, is that if you eat too much and too often, the body becomes insulin-resistant, and this is a precursor for developing type II diabetes. Fasting, therefore, is useful in this aspect as it reduces the number of times you eat, thus preventing the constant release of insulin that can lead to insulin resistance over time.
Unbeknownst to most people, and even to science until recently, insulin may also have an indirect effect on your fat levels. Insulin sensitivity also increases fat stores in areas not normally designed to store fat, such as the liver and muscles. This is known as visceral fat.
When you train while fasted, the body uses up the fat stores in the body, thus shrinking the size of the lipid droplets in the liver and muscle cells. Interestingly enough, the body’s response to insulin becomes more powerful as the fat stores in the liver and muscles decreases. This was proven in this study.
6. Fasted Training Makes You Less Hungry
Here’s news that may surprise you: the very act of eating is actually what makes you hungry. Conventional wisdom has you believe that the body gets hungry because it doesn’t eat. Well, this isn’t exactly how it works.
Believe it or not, lack of food is not what makes you hungry, or at least not directly. It’s actually the production of a hormone called ghrelin that determines your hunger level.
Your body produces ghrelin in response to eating. When you establish a set eating pattern, such as eating every two to three hours, your body produces ghrelin that keeps you hungry, so that you begin to feel the hunger pang if you go for longer than the usual three hours without a meal.
When you train fasted, or even just fast for the first time, the presence of ghrelin will be sending signals to your body that it’s hungry. This includes all the sensations associated with a growling tummy.
However, once your body adjusts after several weeks, it will adapt by producing less ghrelin. This explains why intermittent fasting becomes more tolerable as you make it a routine practice.
Even if the hunger does become quite nagging in the early stages, this can easily be offset by taking a fat burning supplement with appetite suppressing ingredients, such as Tea Rexx..
Less hunger means less eating, and less eating means more body fat coming off in less time.
Is Fasted Training Right for You?
The benefits of intermittent fasting itself are far-reaching. When combined with exercise, it turns your body into a fat-burning furnace! It’s definitely worth a shot, and if you already do HIIT or fast every now and then, then it’s only a matter of combining the two.
Fasted training isn’t the only way to six-pack abs, and for some people, it might just not be a good fit. However, with its documented benefits, it’s at least worth several weeks of trial.
In any case, if you do decide to give it a shot, then be sure to take a serving of BCAAs before you get your HIIT or strength training session underway.
Using a product like Revolt ensures that your muscles are supplied with the essential amino acids; it’s a safe measure of keeping your muscles fueled for preventing a catabolic response..