When it comes to fat loss, nutrition will always be king. You simply can’t out exercise your diet.
However, if your diet is in check you can work out strategically to aid your fat loss efforts.
When it comes to shedding body fat, working out fasted can have some major benefits.
The problem with taking in calories pre-workout is that you are burning those calories for energy instead of your fat stores.
Also when you eat, your body releases insulin which can interfere with your ability to burn fat.
But what about having energy for your workout?
Your body has got you covered (a pun is very much intended).
Your SNS for Energy while Fasted
SNS is short for your sympathetic nervous system. When fasting, your body’s primal survival mechanism is activated. This fight or flight reaction to fasting augments your body’s ability to produce energy, be mentally alert, and to combat stress and fatigue.
With your SNS engaged, your body is in peal energy generating mode, and that energy comes from burning fat.
It’s logical from an evolutionary perspective. As hunter-gatherers, humans needed to be in top performance mode when hunting to catch prey or gather food.
Eating before Training Messes with your SNS
If you were to eat, you would be missing out on your body’s ability to be in this primal functioning state.
Eating activates the counterpart to the SNS, the PSNS (parasympathetic nervous system). The PSNS leads you to feeling more relaxed and lethargic. You will be less immune to stress and fatigue in addition to not getting that extra fat burning boost from being fasted.
This is why I recommend eating lighter during the day and feasting at night (AKA intermittent fasting). The nightly feast should contain most of your carbohydrates which release serotonin to further assist in the relaxation process.
This approach I think, syncs right in line with our hunter-gatherer instincts and allows for more productivity and is socially friendly. It’s nice to have a big dinner with friends and family.
Intense Fasted Training is Possible
I’d say 99% of my workouts are done in the fasted state. I don’t have to worry about vomiting up food in addition to having more energy than my pre-workout meal eating counterparts.
I have made great gains in muscle and strength and continue to do so, all while being fasted.
This approach worked especially well for me when I played competitive sports in high school.
During the rugby matches I would play in a fasted state, having consumed a lot of carbs the night before so my muscles would have all the fuel they’d need.
During the match I felt energized, awake, and focused.
I still do this when I’ll play recreational sports in the morning.
It works smashingly!