Whether it be a personal preference, or maybe life gets in the way and getting your “proper” meals in at the right times just doesn’t work out, some individuals may find themselves working out without any pre-workout meals.
In the bodybuilding and powerlifting communities, working out fasted is often looked down upon just because of the lack of stored energy and carb intake for fueling your workout, but with more research, what does the science say?
Whether you are here looking to build muscle or lose weight, in this article, we will answer whether working out fast is good or bad.
Is it Bad to Workout Fasted?
Synonymous with current research, working out fasted increases fat loss and increases the state of lipolysis in adipose tissue, while stimulating the process of fat oxidation. For weight loss, it is great, for building muscle, not so much.
Research from Open Acess J Sports Med, done in early 2020 shows that for individuals that are looking to lose weight, working out fast is a great way to reach their goal. Now, this applies to one portion of their testing.
For those who are not working out in high-intensity sessions, this is a great method for losing fat and benefiting even therapeutic elements. If you are an individual who considers their workout as a non-athlete level workout, working out fasted is great!
However, if you are an athlete and perform high-intensity workouts, the study shows that not only does the science show that you will NOT get the same fat oxidating benefits of those who have a less intense workout, but you will reduce your endurance overall.
Bottom line is that you should not workout fast if you are an athlete and have high-intensity workouts, but if you are planning on losing weight and do not work out in an increased intensity setting, working out fast is a great way to lose weight.
Can You Still Lift Heavy When Working Out Fasted?
Technically, yes, if you have the strength built up from years of working out, heavyweight is natural to you. The only issue is that research shows that fasted workouts usually have fat loss benefits and usually are not great for high-intensity workouts.
It is highly recommended to have a pre-workout meal before any heavy lifting gym sessions. A study conducted by Scand J Med Sci Sports in 2018 notes that the individuals that ate a pre-workout meal had a more strength-focused and prolonged workout, while the fasted group had better post-workout circulating benefits that relate to fat loss.
The bottom line is that if you plan to lift heavy, eat a pre-workout meal and you will have more energy and your anabolic window is long after your workout. If you work out fast, keep it light and you will have better post-workout circulation.
Keep a can of energy drink handy, in case you need one!
Benefits of Working Out Fasted
Working out fasted increased your post-workout circulation for increased fat burning, as well as boosted your fat oxidation process. Not only that, but it also has ties to therapeutic benefits in individuals who practice fasted workouts.
Of course, you do need to make sure that you stay hydrated and remain in a controlled workout environment. Fasted workouts work best for lighter intensity workouts and can exponentially help with fat loss.
Cons of Working Out Fasted
Working out fasting, although has benefits, also has cons depending on what you are doing. Fasted workouts are not good for prolonged workout sessions or high-intensity “athlete level” workouts.
Stay away from heavy lifting and try not to workout for longer than an hour, as that seems to be the dropping-off point for fasted workouts. Keep your workout short and rep-focused.
Not only that but fasted workouts are not recommended for those looking to gain weight or build some serious muscle, as the fasted method will severely reduce your ability to gain size.