Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular fitness trends today. It’s a timed-eating window wherein you feed only during a certain period of the day, while “fasting” for the rest. It has loads of benefits that have been previously discussed. Among those benefits include rapid, dramatic, and easy weight loss.
While intermittent fasting isn’t exactly a restrictive diet, people all over the world follow it to achieve their fitness goals. It really is effective and can help you lose weight and get fit.
However, as with any good fitness program, good eating habits have to be accompanied by regular exercise. And therein lies the dilemma. Since intermittent fasting restricts practitioners to a certain eating/feeding window, there will inevitably be a portion of the day you will have to go through without food.
Which begs the question: when should you train? Surprisingly, a lot of people on intermittent fasting train outside of their eating window, when they’ve consumed nothing for the day. It’s called “fasted training” or when you train in a fasted state.
Training in a fasted state may sound like a terrible idea because your body has no food to burn off as fuel. You’re basically relying on energy you’ve accumulated the previous day, or in some cases, no energy at all.
While training in a fasted state does have its pros and cons, we’re here to help you consider a few things if you’re looking to try it out. Today, Evolve Daily shares the top reasons why training in a fasted state is a good idea.
1) Burn up to 20% more calories and fat
Working out on an empty stomach is what’s called fasted training. The science behind fasted training is that your body utilizes existing fat stores and stored carbohydrates for energy, instead of the food you’ve recently consumed. This, in theory, leads to higher levels of fat loss because you are basically forcing your body to use what it already has in abundance.
According to some studies, training fasted can help people burn nearly 20% more fat compared to training normally with regular food intake.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) February 16, 2020
The absence of food in the body lowers your circulating blood sugar, which then causes the level of stored carbohydrates in your body to decrease dramatically. Your body is then left no option but to use its existing fat stores as fuel for the day. This includes the fuel you need for your workouts.
Simply put, when you train in a fasted state, your body resorts to burning fat stores as opposed to carbohydrates because your carb levels are already depleted.
2) Wolverine does it
Intermittent fasting came to mainstream popularity a few years ago, and it was mainly because a host of celebrities were doing it and showed incredible results. One of those celebrities was Mr. Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine in the film adaptation of the X-Men. Jackson had openly revealed that he was on intermittent fasting, and he gave it credit for his awesome physique.
Anyone who knows Hugh Jackman knows how incredibly ripped this man is. The actor is constantly bulking and cutting for his movie roles, and training fasted has helped him achieve his fitness goals.
Needless to say, he trained like a madman in a fasted state.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) February 21, 2020
Over the years, studies found that an empty stomach during training surprisingly brought on a myriad of hormonal changes in the body which are conducive to both building and toning muscle, and lowering levels of fat.
Another reason why training fasted was great for Wolverine is because of apoptosis, or autophagy. It is the process of cell death and regeneration. You basically clean out dead cells and dispose of them, ridding your body of toxins.
3) Improves the body’s ability to process food
Intense exercise, which uses the body’s main muscle groups extensively, causes a huge spike in testosterone levels. Testosterone will help you train harder even when there’s not much fuel in your body.
Many studies have shown that fasted training is a great way to build lean muscle mass and improve insulin sensitivity, not just because of the great hormonal response in your body, but also because you are optimized to absorb post-training fuel more efficiently.
Simply put, because fasted training helps align your body into moving and expending energy without food for fuel, it then becomes way more efficient for when you do have some food in you. Training fasted helps your body process carbohydrates, protein, and fat much better and make sure they go to the right places in your body.
Training on an empty fuel tank has proven incredibly effective for those looking to burn fat, as it also trains the body to become more efficient at burning fat at higher levels of intense workouts.
4) It makes your body more fuel-efficient
Which brings us to our last point. Fasted training improves your muscles’ glycogen storage capabilities. Working out on an empty stomach trains the body to become more efficient with how it processes fat stores for fuel.
As also mentioned previously, in fasted training, the body adapts and learns how to operate without any food. This then helps to improve the body’s ability to process food for when you do train having consumed a pre-workout meal.
Some studies have also revealed that fasted training dramatically improves an athlete’s VO2 Max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake. It is the measurement of the highest amount of oxygen an athlete can use during intense exercise. The better your VO2 Max efficiency, the more athletic you become, and the better your fitness.
So if you’re looking to improve your health and fitness through Intermittent Fasting, you have to make sure to include the second half of the equation, which is fasted training.
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