Fasted Exercise

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Most of you already know this blog focuses on intermittent fasting as a lifestyle to become and stay lean and healthy. Of course, this lifestyle includes exercise.

For those who have asked about fasted training and its effect on health, fitness and how one feels during the process, here’s a mainstream article about exercising before breakfast — actually, the study had one group delay the intake of breakfast for later than usual, essentially simulating a period of fasting.

3 groups were used in this controlled study. All 3 ate a crappy, hyper-caloric diet. One group did no exercise. The second group ate breakfast and then exercise after. The third group exercise first and then ate breakfast LATER.

The non-exercising group gained weight and exhibited insulin resistance. The group that ate breakfast and then exercise also gained weight (about half of the weight of the non-exercising group), and also showed signs of insulin resistance. The third group that ate breakfast later, after the exercise, gained almost zero weight, burned fat efficiently, and showed no sign of insulin resistance.

The main point of this article is that training in a fasted state yields benefits in health and body composition. The secondary point is that the benefit observed may also be attributable to the longer period of fasting (no food in the body), as the study structured the fasted exercise group to eat breakfast later.

As I’ve always said, it’s important to extend the period between meals whenever possible, and this study’s protocol certainly met that with the fasted exercise group.

Intermittent fasting, or going longer between meals. The idea is to teach the body how to regulate between consumed energy and stored energy. And exercise while in a fasted state may further enhance the metabolism of stored energy.

This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities, weight Loss and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Fasted Exercise

  1. kitoi says:

    I’ve always exercised before breakfast for as long as I have been into fitness (20+yrs), just made more sense to me. Now with IF in the mix it all comes together.

  2. KK says:

    I too have always exercised on an empty stomach, and in the morning. I couldn’t imagine working out with a belly full of food. Yick.

    Johnny- Is there decent/appreciable benefit to only fasting 2 consecutive days per week? I find that on Saturday/Sunday I can easily eat only one meal per day because I’m so busy. (My last meal on Friday around 6 (no later than 7), then dinner only on Sat. & Sun. ) During the week, while I’m at work (sitting at a desk hatching on a keyboard)… I can’t get past the growling stomach and gnawing hunger to hold till lunch. (besides- I worry about bad breath from not eating.. how to come around that?).
    Love your blog!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi KK,

      Thanks for reading the blog.
      Sure there’s benefit from IFing on two consecutive days per week.
      As for bad breath during fasting, are you referring to the “sweet” breath smell one gets while in ketosis?
      Not sure I ever had this problem — at least my wife tells me I don’t — but try drinking a lot of water if you’re concerned.
      I honestly don’t know.
      Maybe breath mints?
      Does anyone else have suggestion?


  3. KK says:

    Thanks for the response, Johnny! As for the breath I was more thinking just kind of that stale/sour breath. I think your suggestion about drinking water, and maybe lemon water even more so, would do the trick and keep things ‘fresh’! Not cool to be hot and lean with stanky breath! lol!!!

    • Stephan says:

      The best thing for bad breath is to rinse your mouth for 30 seconds with hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) and warm water. That’s also the best thing for bleeding or receeding gums, decays and kankers.

  4. Jeff says:

    Thanks for posting that with the link. I would have missed that one.

  5. Audley says:

    I always have some sugarless gum on hand. I’m not crazy about the chemical makeup of most gums, but I only use it when meeting with someone. I tried a”natural” gum, but it didn’t taste good. I do try to drink lots of water, sometimes with lemon, seems to help.
    Due to my work schedule, I sometimes workout only 1-2 hours after breakfast. Last week had a chance to workout 5 hours after breakfast, felt the difference, much better workout with the 5 hour time frame. Will have to re-do the schedule to keep it that way!

  6. Stephen says:

    I have never exercised before breakfast because I usually feel sick and hypoglycemia if I exercise in the morning so I always exercise in the evening but looking at the results of that study it seems like something worth trying. Maybe I can still exercise in the evening but do it before my meal and after several hours since my last meals have elapsed, that could work in the same way as exercizing in the morning on a fasted state, what do you think?

    I have also read that if you exercise for 60 to 120 seconds (yes seconds) before a meal, the meal is more likely to be stored in the muscle cells than in the fat cells.
    I think this is another example of why exercizing on a fasted state is so good for body composition, indeed 60 second of exercise before a meal is still exercizing before eating and entails the same mechanism of triggering muscular uptake of nutritional elements.

    • Sue says:

      I think that’s Ferris’ idea about exercising 60 to 120 seconds before meal and also after – it was posted on Rusty’s site. Someone else had the idea before Ferris. Very interesting. I want to try it before a meal.

  7. Johnny says:

    Exercise stimulates muscle metabolism and nutrient uptake, so exercising before eating makes sense. Exercise is one of the contributors to insulin sensitivity; and the fact that it is ONE OF THE DRIVERS, I don’t bark too much over scheduling my exercise time before eating, but certainly worth paying attention to, especially for those who suffering insulin resistance or displaying its symptoms.

    A balance diet, an avoidance of overeating, maintaining a healthy weight, and intermittent fasting are also great contributors to a healthy insulin mechanism and muscle metabolism.


  8. Maomao says:

    In the past, many people feared going for a morning run with an empty stomach.

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