Can you get your sweat on while intermittent fasting? Absolutely! In fact, I encourage it. Any beneficial fasting relationship should include a little hard work and a lot of sweat to get the best results possible.
If you’re looking to optimize your workout results and achieve a banging body, then this article is for you. There are good, better, and best approaches to training during an intermittent fast, and I’m spilling the tea on all of it.
So, what is the best time to work out when intermittent fasting? While there are a lot of factors at play here, the optimal training time is first thing in the morning. To understand why this is prime fat burning time, you need to nerd out and get a basic understanding of some sciency stuff.
The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
Maybe you’ve never heard of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), but you have heard of “fight or flight”. It’s the same thing.
When you’re in a fasted state, your SNS is on alert, which means it’s getting you focused and ready for action. That means your body is mobilizing and burning fats at an accelerated rate (this is why we love the fasted state, right?).
So, if you train while in a fasted state, you’re getting all the benefits of the SNS firing on all cylinders.
The Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
The human growth hormone (HGH) is responsible for all sorts of things in your body, but for our purposes, you need to know that it boosts muscle growth and exercise performance. For big results, you need to optimize your HGH levels and train when HGH levels are highest.
Now what does all this have to do with early a.m. workouts? Well, your HGH levels are typically highest first thing in the morning. So, to optimize your results, you should get your workout in early.
All this science simply means one thing – rise, shine, and hit the gym!
But what about post-workout meals?
You may be worrying that your body won’t get enough macros to support muscle growth if you’re working out on empty. Isn’t protein the key to muscle growth?
You’re right. Protein is essential for muscle growth. But if you’re getting in all your macros during your feeding window, you’ll be fine – especially if you stick to the best type of fasted training, coming up in the next section!
The Best Type of Fasted Training
Not only should you pay attention to when you work out, you should also focus on the optimal type of training to get the biggest impact. It’s the age-old rivalry: cardio vs. weight training.
Is cardio a go or a no?
In a fasted state, cardio becomes very effective. Your insulin levels are super low, so your body is relying primarily on fat for energy.
Because of this, you should get your cardio on when you’re as deep in the fasted state as possible (this probably means right when you wake up if you started your fast from the afternoon before.) After your workout wait several hours before breaking your fast so that the fat burning extends as long as possible, or what you can handle.
If you’re a beginner you may need to slowly work your way up to longer fasting schedules and plan your start and finish to your fast.
It’s extremely important to stick to your plan. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!
As a bonus, fasted cardio allows for more blood flow to the abs and targets stubborn belly fat – score!
So fasted cardio is a GO – most experts agree that it’s the best type of fasted training for weight loss.
Weight training for big time muscle growth is optimal just a couple of hours before you break your fast. That way you can take advantage of those early morning HGH level bumps (grow, muscles, grow!), while also getting in protein relatively soon after.
Why pick just one?
You can combine high-intensity cardio with lighter weights in one powerful workout. In my experience, a high-intensity interval training program is the absolute best type of fasted training when you’re deep in your fast.
Other Training Tips
What if I can’t work out first thing in the morning?
What if my body is telling me no?
A happy, healthy relationship is a sweaty one, and combining intermittent fasting with your workouts makes for a winning marriage. So get your workout on, get the results you’re looking for, and live happily ever after.
Coming up next in this series – alternative schedules for intermittent fasting. No matter your lifestyle, there’s an intermittent fasting schedule for you.
https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Can-You-Exercise-When-Intermittent-Fasting-44156468your text here...
Lilli is a weight training enthusiast with a background in both CrossFit and powerlifting. She lives on a ranch in Texas where she has built an amazing home gym right in her own backyard (err, garage). When she’s not working out, Lilli works as a freelance writer and travels as often as possible.