December 18, 2022
Should I eat before my workout?
You’ve probably heard about fasted workouts - they’re a big topic in the health and fitness world right now! Exactly what it says on the label, fasted workouts are workouts that are completed before you’ve broken your fast.
Perhaps you’re looking to fit the gym into your busy lifestyle by doing it first thing. Or maybe you want to be like some celebs who swear by it. But when we’re told so often to “fuel up” in the morning and never skip breakfast, it can feel confusing to navigate the world of intermittent fasting when also working towards your fitness goals.
So, is working out on an empty stomach worth the hype? Can everyone benefit from them? Or is it best to wait until after you’ve broken your fast? Let’s find out.
Today, Fastic’s fitness expert Alice Fontecilla, will be taking us through the tasty facts of fasted workouts.
Men vs Women and Fasted Workouts
In terms of gender, we all have our strengths. Physiologically speaking, men and women have some slight differences that impact how our bodies react to fasted workouts.
Women are naturally more sensitive to hormonal changes due to the fluctuations of their menstrual cycles, and so can be prone to fatigue, blood sugar crashes and hormonal imbalances when the body is put under stress, such as restricted calories or overtraining.
During different parts of a woman’s cycle, her body requires more energy in order to potentially create and sustain life, should she become pregnant. Throughout the luteal phase, more energy is required to produce a thickened, protective uterine lining that is then shed during the menstrual phase. Sometimes a woman’s body is doing its job by increasing hunger and cravings. During this time, it is not advised for women to complete fasted workouts. Instead, opt for slower, fed gym sessions and save the fasted stuff for later in the cycle, ovulation!
Men on the other hand have been shown to respond better to fasted workouts, showing an increase in testosterone, a boost in metabolism and a relaxing of the nervous systems into a rest and digest state. Due to the less turbulent nature in men’s hormonal cycles, they are able to maintain energy throughout fasted workouts better with a lower risk of blood sugar crashes or reduced recovery.
However, this isn’t to say fasted workouts can’t work for everyone. With great nutrition, enough calories and awesome recovery between sessions, fasted workouts can be used by everyone, of any gender if it feels good to them!
Fat-Loss: Incorporating Low Intensity Cardio
With fat loss being such a common fitness goal, it's a well studied area of intermittent fasting science. One study even highlighted a huge 20% increase in fat-specific weight loss with regular fasting practice. If your goal is fat-loss, I recommend incorporating LISS (low intensity cardio) into your workout routine. Not only does it strengthen your heart and lungs, but also boosts metabolism, increases energy and lowers the risk of a blood sugar crash! LISS is also ideal for those who are intermittent fasting because it is low energy and great for workout recovery time. Even walking to work or around the mall is considered LISS!
While not everyone wants to be a super strong body-builder, building and maintaining muscle mass is vital for a long, healthy life, especially as we age. Fasted workouts have been shown to be ideal for fat-loss, but they are not so optimal if building mass is your main goal.
If muscle growth is something you’re trying to achieve, here’s three ways you can optimize your workout, should you choose to train before breakfast:
- Opt for a high protein meal after your morning workout to aid recovery and muscle growth
- Cook a high protein, high carb meal the night before to fuel you through your workout
- Avoid training to extreme fatigue or burnout, using higher weights and lower reps, with plenty of rest time
Ultimately, fasted workouts can be an amazing part of anyone’s routine if you incorporate it into a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Tips to optimize fasted workouts:
- Ensure you’re eating enough calories throughout your eating window
- Eat high protein and nutrient dense meals
- Stay hydrated
- Prioritize rest and recovery
- Listen to your body
If you find yourself getting sluggish, struggling to reach your goals or even unable to make it through a workout, perhaps adjust your schedule to fit a workout in after you have broken your fast.
For more details on fasted workouts and whether they can work in your lifestyle, check out our Premium Course: Fasted Workouts, in the Fastic Intermittent Fasting app.
❤️ Love and light, Alice
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