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Should you Work Out in a Fasted State?

By: Ken Dominique

I’ve been asked about the potential benefits of intermittent fasting and fasted cardio. While more experienced athletes may need to fuel their workout to keep the intensity higher, there may be athletes whose goals are to lose weight that could benefit from doing a workout after not having eaten in 12, 18, or 24 hours prior to the workout. So, is working out in a fasted state really all it adds up to be? 

This is a great question, and it makes sense! If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in through your diet (calories out need to be more than calories in). Your body uses stored carbohydrates (glucose) as energy, and when that glucose storage is depleted, your body looks for alternative sources of energy. This is the basis of the ketogenic diet, which has become very popular in the last few years. This is where you eat a VERY limited number of carbohydrates, so your body has no stored glucose and chooses instead to burn stored fat as energy. 

While there are plenty of benefits to fasting, is it right for everyone? 

The short answer is, no.

If the goal is weight loss, there are plenty of ways to lose weight and body fat by eating real food. Remember, your body NEEDS food. It’s literally what you use for fuel. When you deplete your body of calories before a workout, you could become hyperglycemic and pass out, you could burn muscle instead of fat, and you probably won’t have a good workout anyway because you’ll be severely lacking energy! This can lead to muscle loss, a lackluster workout, or a visit from the paramedics. 

Your best bet is to eat something light before your workout, like a small piece of fruit or some greek yogurt. Personally, I always eat a half of a banana before the workout, and the other half afterwards. 

If fasted workouts are something that you’re going to try, let me know first. I’ll give you a specific plan that you can execute safely to see if it’s something that you can do sustainably. For 99% of people, fuel your workout! You will find that you perform better, run faster, lift more weight, and have more stamina during a tough WOD! And what happens when you lift more weight? You get stronger! What happens when you take fewer breaks during an AMRAP? You burn more calories! All of these things are what actually gets us closer to our goals.

Consistency Over Everything.

By: Ken Dominique

How many of us have planned to start a new diet on Monday, only for it to be completely forgotten about by Tuesday afternoon? Or maybe you’ve done a 30 day cleanse, only to have gone back to where we started on day 31. 

Statistics show that 80% of people that lose weight from a diet end up gaining it back. EIGHTY PERCENT?!?!? If you spend the next 60 days losing weight, then gain it all back in the following 3 months, what was the point of going through all that work to lose the weight in the first place?

There’s something that the 20% of people do that matters most, and that is consistency. Anybody can starve themselves to lose weight, but if the goal is to live a healthy life for the long haul, you need a better plan.

The fact is that MOST diets work. There have been studies that show people losing weight on low-fat diets, high-fat (keto) diets, high carb diets, low carb diets, and everything in between. The problem that people run into is that when you get off of your “quick fix” diet, you go right back to square one. 

That’s why you need to build habits that you can do forever. 

For example, how many times have you backed out of your driveway? After the 1000th time, you don’t think while you’re doing it “Ok I need to push my foot down on the brake and hit the start button on my car, wait 3 seconds for the car to turn on, keep my foot on the brake while I switch the car into reverse gear, then look in my rear view mirror, then slowly take my foot off the brake” and so forth.

You back out of the driveway because you’ve built the habit over a lifetime, you don’t even have to think about it. 

When you can perform your nutrition habits the same way, when you can make your breakfast with your eyes closed or meal prep while having side conversations, that’s when your habits become sustainable. 

That takes time, so start small. Work on one habit at a time, and get it locked in so that you can do it forever without having to spend any mental energy on it. 

Where should you start? Try adding a vegetable to your breakfast every day. Simple, right? It makes a big difference and sets you up for success for the rest of your day. 

For more information on nutrition, send us a DM or email ken@crossfitangola.com to schedule your FREE nutrition intro! I’d love to talk to you about all things nutrition and answer any questions you may have!