Is Fasted Weight Training Crazy?
For some people, fasted weight training or “lifting fasted” is one of the most insane and dangerous ideas they could ever imagine in the fitness world.
But guess what…. They would be wrong and I’ll tell you exactly why I do it, love it and how to get amazing body-changing benefits from it..
To start off, weightlifting causes a dramatic spike in plasma catecholamine levels and as catecholamines are better able to marshal fat when you are in a fasted state, fasted weightlifting is, by all means, a fat burning monster.
I am a firm believer in the science behind lifting while in a fasted state, I guess I read too many medical studies and too much of Martin Berkhan’s Leangains website.
But this goes deeper than simple book knowledge, I actually do this and never have felt anything better. The focus and concentration I have throughout my workouts are intense.
I do all my exercises in a fasted condition – both weightlifting and cardio fasted – I get a more focused and intense workout by far and as I said earlier, when I am dieting for weight loss, the stubborn fat evaporates quicker than when I exercise in a fed state.
A caveat, though: don’t be surprised if you are not clearly stronger workout after workout during your first couple of weeks of switching from fed-state workouts.
You are going to lose some repetitions in your lifts, especially those big compound movements, if not across the board on all your lifts. This is not because you are losing muscle, it is simply because eating a significant amount of carbohydrates before you work out radically enhances your performance when weight training. Take the carbs away and you lose the “boost.” Add them back and it returns. Simple.
As I noted before, nevertheless, your body slowly adapts to training in the fasted state, learning to preserve glycogen stores and thereby maintain performance.
The main benefits of fasted weight lifting for me are…
- My focus and concentration are amazing.
- I burn more fat during the exercise.
- My body utilizes workout supplements better.
- My body partitions the nutrient intake more efficiently after the workout.
Maximize the Effectiveness of Fasted Weight Training
If you’re going to train fasted, you should seriously consider using the following supplements to squeeze out as much fat loss as possible out of your lifting sessions and negate the only big disadvantage of lifting fasted.
The following nutritional supplements are perfect for fasted training, they make the fat loss even easier and quicker with no unwanted side effects and they happen to be what I use when cutting and lifting for fat loss. There’s really no reason not to add them to your routine.
So, let’s go over each supplement I recommend and why.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids or Leucine
There’s a downside to fasted weight training that you simply ought to know about: you can easily lose a bunch of hard-earned muscle if you don’t play your cards right.
This is not good simply because an excessive amount of muscle breakdown hinders superior muscle development over time. Preventing this is not hard though.
All you need to do is take 10 grams of BCAAs, or 3-5 grams of leucine (warning: leucine tastes horrible, lol) 10 – 15 minutes before training. This suppresses muscle loss during your workout with a minimal impact on insulin levels.
When it comes to real products, here’s what I use and enjoy. I like that it is fairly-priced and has no fillers or artificial flavoring to stuff the bottle, I prefer that over the man-made junk found in most BCAAs, while you sacrifice some flavor you get pure quality.
If you choose the leucine that’s not a bad choice, there are also signs that additional leucine in your post-workout meal can further stimulate muscle growth, for the optimal effects take a whopping 5 grams after training. I personally don’t worry about buying leucine, I buy quality whey protein powders that already have healthy doses of leucine in them.
Yohimbine For Burning Stomach Fat
Yohimbine HCL is a material that comes from the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and it blocks the action of alpha 2 fat receptors (the ones that prevent lipolysis). This, subsequently, allows fat cells-and persistent fat cells with considerable amounts of alpha-2 rece
ptors in particular-to be broken down easier.
There’s a catch, though: post-meal elevations in insulin fully negate yohimbine’s effects, so it should just be used in a fasted state. Having carbs in your system shuts down the effectiveness of yohimbine and your pretty much wasting your money.
In terms of how to properly use yohimbine HCL, studies have shown that .2 milligrams per kg of body weight is adequate for weight loss functions.
Many people get jittery when they take yohimbine, I’ve never experienced this personally but hey, I’m strong as an ox (pats self on back, lol).
If that occurs to you, just reduce the dosage or discontinue using it completely. Furthermore, studies have shown that yohimbine can raise blood pressure, so I do not advocate you use it if you’ve got high blood pressure.
Caffeine While Lifting Fasted
As weight loss boils down to energy used up vs. energy expended, caffeine helps you lose fat mainly by raising your body’s energy expenditure and by increasing fat oxidation rates.
Be sure to check with your doctor to see if you are healthy and able to use caffeine in the supplement form.
I’m telling you how these supplements can benefit you, but see your physician before using these products to get the go-ahead.
I’ve always used caffeine because it helps improve strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic function.
I like to get my caffeine in the “anhydrous” (dehydrated and concentrated) form because research shows that his type is actually more powerful for enhancing performance than what’s naturally found in beverages like coffee.
Part of maximizing the fat loss benefits of caffeine is preventing your body from building up too much of a tolerance. The best method to do this is to limit consumption, naturally.
Green Tea Extract For Fasted Weight Training
Green tea extract is an herbal product derived from green tea leaves, and it contains high concentrations of substances known as “catechins.”
Catechins are responsible for many of the health benefits of tea, and they additionally help hasten exercise-induced fat loss by degrading an enzyme that breaks down catecholamines. The longer the catecholamines are in your blood, the more fat cells they are able to mobilize.
Also, studies have shown that it helps reduce stomach fat, in particular, so it’s excellent for when you’re looking to eliminate those last bits of belly fat.
Based on the studies mentioned previously, you should take 600 – 900 milligrams of catechins per day to realize their weight reduction benefits. The average green tea extract product comprises about 150 milligrams of catechins per pill.
My Supplement Regimen When Lifting Fasted For Fat Loss
This is the best way to use these nutritional supplements correctly for me personally. If you want to try my fasted weightlifting regimen then check out what I take before my training sessions that are fasted:
- 10 grams of BCAAs
- 100 milligrams caffeine
- 2 pills green tea extract
- 1 milligram per 10 lbs of yohimbine (that is 24 mg for me at 240 lbs)
(NOTICE: Green tea extract on an empty stomach can make some people nauseous. If this occurs to you, reduce to 200 mg. If this still does irritate you, reduce to 100 mg, and if it is still an issue, cut it out altogether or break up the daily dosage between lunch and dinner, taken with food.)
When I’m dieting for fat loss, I do 25 to 30 minutes of HIIT cardio in a fasted state 3-4 times weekly and lift weights in a fasted state 3-4 days per week. On the days where I am doing weightlifting and cardio, I take the above before both training sessions and have no issues.
Lifting Fasted For Making Gains
I don’t want you to get me confused, lifting fasted isn’t only about losing weight for me. NOT EVEN CLOSE. I do fasted weight training for building lean muscle just as easily. Whether you lose weight or build muscle is a matter of the calories you’re taking in while in your recovery period, it’s that simple.
I have gained lean mass and made great muscle gains while eating all of my calories in an 8-hour time frame during intermittent fasting. I made sure I ate the amount of protein I needed and got my calories in and made all kinds of gains.
For me, lifting weights while fasting is more about the concentration and workout quality I get. I also feel leaner even while bulking because I’m burning more fat during my workouts in a fasted condition. You have to find what works for you, everyone’s body is different. Some folks would pass out just thinking about not eating for a couple hours, never mind doing fasted weight training! So hey, do what works for you, lifting fasted works for me and many others.