Stef Williams

Should You Train Fasted?

So what does fasted training actually mean? 

Some people may claim they’re doing fasted cardio by skipping lunch and then training, but the scientific literature specifies that the body needs a 10 to 14 hour period of not eating to be truly fasted. 

What’s the point of running on empty? 

The main argument for fasted training is that you burn more fat, this is logical. Once you’ve been in a fasted state for a while, your glycogen stores will be slightly depleted, which means that less glucose is available for energy during exercise, and your body will look for alternative fuel sources. Theoretically, fat should replace that glucose as fuel during the fasted activity.

In practice, however, it’s more complicated than that. This concept also ignores the fact that the body continually adjusts its fuel source. Your body doesn’t automatically burn fat instead of glucose in a fasted state; it may turn to protein instead. Research shows that there’s an increase in muscle breakdown when we exercise fasted, so if you’re trying to gain muscle, fasted training is not your friend. 

When it comes to weight loss, all that fat-burning potential does sound appealing. But in reality you’ll still be burning the same amount of calories, and If you’re eating within the nutritional budget determined by your training plan and weight loss goals, burning a little bit higher percentage of fat is not really that important to your body weight over time or your body composition. 

And about those endurance benefits…People were actually able to perform for longer after eating rather than when they fasted. 

So if it’s your preference to exercise on an empty stomach then absolutely do so, but if you’re doing it because you heard or read somewhere that it aids weight loss, then scrap that idea. 

The bottom line? 

There is no concrete evidence to support that fasted workouts aid weight loss.