Updated: May 4, 2021
One of the newest buzzes in health and fitness is something called Fasted Exercise. If you’ve never heard of it, the concept of fasted exercise is that you perform your workout first thing in the morning before “breaking the fast” by consuming your first meal of the day. The idea behind it is that incorporating this sort of physical activity on an empty stomach with little to no glycogen stores and low insulin levels will force your body to find other sources of energy and, in turn, start to burn fat. Followers say it aids both in weight loss as well as overall fitness performance. We decided to get to the bottom of this trend to see who can truly benefit and who is better off skipping this one.
FASTED EXERCISE NOT NEW
As it turns out, fasted exercise is not exactly a new trend, as bodybuilders and celebrities alike have been using this technique for years in order to quickly slim down before photoshoots or lean out before a stage performance. Studies have backed up it’s reputed benefits. Some studies have even revealed that fasted exercise can burn almost 20% more fat than food-fueled exercise.So we know that the technique works, however by looking at the situations in which it has been used historically, we also know it also isn’t a long-term, sustainable way to lose weight or improve performance.
Training without proper fuel will not enable you to workout at your highest capacity. You’ll lack the energy it takes to train hard, hit milestones and truly engage in progressive overload. Not to mention that the recovery process can be that much harder as well. Proper fueling before a workout can help you increase the intensity of the exercise itself, leading to increased muscle activation as well as a boosted metabolism the rest of the day.
IS FASTED EXERCISE FOR YOU?
Whether fasted exercise is a good option for you is going to come down to your body and your fitness goals. Fasted exercise is indeed an effective way to force the body to burn more fat for energy during exercise. When it comes down to it, fasted exercise can be a great way to quickly slim down and lose those last few pounds, before a big event for example. That being said, when it comes to long-term fitness and training, it is probably better to properly fuel yourself in order to have enough energy not only for the workout itself but also for the recovery process and to make long-term gains in strength and overall fitness. If your main interest is losing weight, rather than looking at fasted exercise to burn more fat during workouts, the bigger picture would be to check in on your overall diet, caloric intake, and try to make healthy dietary choices. Whichever choice to make, remember that hydration is still important! So don’t forget your water bottle or a hydrating drink with electrolytes.