Fasted Vs Fed Exercise

What is better for fat loss, Fasted Exercise or Fed Exercise?
That is a question I have been asked a few times.
It is also a question which isn’t too easy to answer. There is some strong research to support both sides.
It is only recently that I have started experimenting with fasting. Up until then I’d always been a breakfast man, wouldn’t do anything without it. If I was exercising in the morning I would get up even earlier to have some breakfast. I thought I couldn’t function without some food down me.

Serge Bertasius Photography FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Serge Bertasius Photography FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But like I said I’ve been trying out some fasting, just 12-18 hours from around 8pm-12pm the next day. I’ve seen some good results and dropped a bit of body fat in the last few weeks which points towards the benefits of fasted exercise for fat loss.
The truth is everyone is different, their metabolisms are different and will respond to things differently.
Some people may find that without eating prior to exercise they haven’t got the energy or mental focus to train well as they are hungry, for some they can do it just fine.
When to exercise in a fed state:
1. If you aren’t too worried about fat loss and focus more on maintaining muscle.
2. If you’re looking to gain muscle
3. If you find you’re too hungry and lack energy to exercise without eating
If you want more advice on what to eat before and after exercise then click here.
Basically you want a well balanced meal 2-3 hours before exercising which won’t sit too heavy on the stomach. Aim for a good mix of healthy carbohydrates and protein which is easily digestible. This will keep your body in an anabolic state which helps to build muscle.
With this meal behind you you will be provided with some easy to burn fuel for added energy which can improve the quality of your workout.
What this will do though is elevate insulin levels. Fat loss is much harder in the presence of insulin.
Which brings me onto Fasted exercise where the rise in insulin is no longer a problem as you haven’t eaten which makes it a perfect environment for FAT LOSS.
Fasted exercise:
– Helps to target stubborn fat and burn it away
– Boosts your hormonal fat burning response to exercise
– Helps prevent gaining extra fat
– Helps to maintain lean physique
Can you do any workout in a fasted state?
If I was you I would stick to shorter more intense exercise sessions. Fasted cardio is good. This will maximise the hormonal effect and prevent you from losing muscle. You may find a long session (60 mins plus) may be tough in a fasted state. But like I said earlier see how your body responds.
Always make sure you are well hydrated through fasted (as well as any) exercise.
You don’t have to fast throughout the night and workout in the morning. If you wanted to exercise in the afternoon/evening but in a semi fasted state you can do it 4-5 hours after a healthy meal.
16-24 hour fasts are linked with the best results for fat loss. I would only do this 2-5 times a week though, not everyday.
Fasted exercise releases growth hormone, adrenaline and free fatty acids along with lowering insulin levels. All of these things set up a perfect fat burning environment.

Stock images FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock images FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tend to vary between fed and fasted exercise. If I’m looking for strength and quality in the session I’ll make sure I eat beforehand. For the short cardio sessions or lower weight resistance sessions I will favour fasted exercise.
So hopefully this gives you a bit more info on the subject to help you decide.
What works for one person may not work for you so try and find out how your body responds and follow that.
I want to point out that I would concentrate first on getting into a routine of regular exercise and a healthy well balanced diet before trying something like this. This is something to try further down the line to maximise your results. Concentrate on the basics first.
The best exercise program is one you can stick to.
Take care,
Jamie ‘Fasted Or Fed’ Stedman
PS Before changing your diet or exercise habits it’s advisable to check with your doctor.

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