How are you fueling your workouts?

Are you doing fasted workouts or eating before your workouts?

What are you eating before, during or after your workouts… or not?

The takeaway: Exercise routines in this study were very intense 60- to 90-minute sessions. Yet the researchers have said even less intense workouts could have similar results. The old something-is-better-than-nothing way of thinking! “I recommend exercising before breakfast, of course,” says Van Proeyen. But she can’t recommend an ideal breakfast menu: “Based on our findings we cannot say what the best breakfast is. However, a healthy, well-balanced fiber-rich breakfast—mainly consisting of carbohydrates—is the most optimal breakfast to maintain a good health in normal fit individuals.” We wanted to know if this trick would work with lunchtime workouts too.

Turns out, it doesn’t. “Our subjects always performed the exercise after a 10- to 12-hour overnight fast, which is likely the most convenient way to stimulate fat oxidation.”

The time between breakfast and lunch is only about 4 to 6 hours and that’s not enough time to maximize fat oxidation before the workout.

Moral of the story: Set your alarm earlier each morning. Get your daily run out of the way, eat breakfast at your desk and enjoy a long, gym-free lunch break.


Ben Greenfield’s blog has a great summary of the benefits of fasting in general.

The Latest Research On Fasting: What 9 New Studies Say About Fasting’s Effects On Fat Loss, Satiety, Insulin Resistance, & More.


I hope this overview of the latest research on fasting has enlightened you on some of the many benefits of fasting, intermittent fasting, fasted cardio, and beyond—and that it can serve as a guide for making an educated decision about which type of fasting is right for you.

To recap,

  • Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Glucose Tolerance – Eating all of your meals within a 9-hour window can improve glycemic variability. Or, better yet, an earlier (8 am-5 pm) 9-hour window can lower your fasting glucose.
  • Intermittent Fasting Reduces Fat Mass and Improves Total and LDL Cholesterol – Intermittent fasting at 70% of your usual caloric intake, three days per week can help you lose fat and improve your metabolic health, especially if you struggle with resistance to weight loss.
  • Fasted Cardio Has a Surprisingly Satiating Effect – A leisurely, one-hour bicycle ride at 50% of your peak power output can keep you feeling more satiated throughout the day.
  • Ramadan IF’s Positive Effects on Decreasing Fat Mass – Fasting from dawn to sunset for one month can help you with losing fat, but it may also lead to impairments in aerobic capacity. TRF may be an effective way to avoid such impairments.
  • Calorie Restriction Stimulates a Meaningful Reduction in Weight and Promotes Aging-related Benefits – By reducing metabolic rate and protein and DNA damage, CR may slow down the aging process and allow you to live longer with less risk of age-related diseases
  • An Earlier Fast Start Time Results in a Reduced Likelihood Of Becoming Obese – Starting a fast earlier (around 8 am) is more effective for fat loss than starting later in the day.
  • A Very-Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet Promotes Weight Loss and Reductions in Visceral Adipose Tissue and Liver Fat Fraction – While a VLCKD can promote weight loss, long-term carbohydrate deprivation can have significant negative impacts on your health. If you’re going to go on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to add sufficient sodium to your diet, stay well-hydrated, and incorporate “carb re-feeds.”
  • Intermittent Calorie Restriction Reduces Triglycerides and Improves Insulin Resistance – Intermittent Calorie Restriction is just as effective as continuous calorie restriction for lowering triglycerides and improving insulin resistance.
  • Intermittent Fasting Is a Feasible Weight Loss Strategy to Improve Metabolic Syndrome – Intermittent fasting can help bring down high blood pressure and sugar, reduce fat, and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels—all markers of metabolic syndrome.

Finally, as a “last-minute addition” bonus to this fasting article…

…I was recently reading Examine Research Digest (one of my favorite, fast ways to stay up-to-date on handy summaries of the latest nutrition and exercise research), and came across a review of a study by and interview with Jeffrey Rothschild, the author of a new paper entitled “What Should I Eat before Exercise? Pre-Exercise Nutrition and the Response to Endurance Exercise: Current Prospective and Future Directions.”

The entire article is well worth a read, but in the interview within the research digest, Jeffrey replies to two particularly intriguing questions on fasting and exercise, namely:

Q. The review also mentions that, in general, being fasted or fed has a larger effect on performance than the size or timing of meals, and that fed exercise seems to be better for performance. Is there any evidence that individuals who are accustomed to training in a fasted state have less of a dip in performance?

A. The key thing here is likely to be the exercise duration.

During shorter-duration exercise (less than 60 minutes), a placebo/belief effect is more likely to occur, and it could be possible for people to ‘convince’ themselves that their performance will suffer. For longer duration exercise, glycogen depletion becomes more of the issue and so I don’t think being accustomed to training fasted will help very much, presuming we’re talking about high-intensity exercise performance. There may be some mental benefit for people who are more used to the feeling of being a bit hungry, but I’m not sure how much that would affect things. I’m not sure there is a study testing this exactly, but in my research there hasn’t been any influence of habitual fasted training practices on performance in the fed vs. fasted state.

Are you doing fasted EASY low heart rate workouts first thing in the morning?

What is the IDEAL day and best time of day to exercise, move, lift heavy things and sprint?

The WHOLESTIC Method Coach,

Debbie Potts

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