Posts Tagged 'Workouts'

Should we be doing Gym Workouts fasted?










I am a huge fan of short intense body weight and aerobic work on an empty stomach in the morning prolonging the fast for about an hour after the session is finished. I feel these sessions burn body fat and they are a great start to the day. The sessions I am talking about are either short runs or body weight based met-con circuits like I mentioned in my previous blog post.

As well as this working out first thing in the morning is the best time to get workouts out of the way leaving the day free to live our lives.

What about longer resistance gym based weights sessions?

Maybe I am odd but I have tried to do heavy lifting first thing in the morning fasted on several occasions and have found that I feel very lethargic and weak, my lifts on compounds do not get near to the maximum weight I could lift. As well as this the workouts seem to affect my mood for days to come especially if I push too hard doing a Power Law Based training session.

From reading around I have come to the conclusion most people feel the same and to me it comes down to a few things;

  1. firstly our bodies are in a detox mode in the morning and more geared towards the ridding of toxins and therefore primed for aerobic activity which would include trail running, walking and high rep body weight work.
  2. If you have already fasted from say 6PM the previous evening and had a dinner based on wholefoods (Meat, Vegetables, Good Fat and Fruit) it is likely your muscle glycogen is very low which will stop you performing at your maximum level by the time you get to your workout at 8-9AM.
  3. Resistance work fasted hits your CNS harder potentially effecting your mood for days to come. Especially when done at High Intensity.
Martin Berkhan from has a great insight on workouts when Intermittent Fasting:
Morning workouts and IF      

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to structure meals in combination with morning workouts, without deviating from the plan; being that an 8 hour feeding phase is one of the fundamentals of the diet, morning workouts would have one starting the fast quite early, which for most people may feel a bit harder than fasting throughout the morning/lunch hours. Here’s what I’ve responded to a recent post, adressing my opinion on the subject matter:

Anyway, I am interested in your take on working out in the morning and how to fit that in w/ IF. I have been doing IF and feeling great but can only work out in the morning and, so take my post workout meal at that time. Is this ok, or what do you recommend?

“…for morning workouts, I usually recommend compromising a bit. The way I set this up, is to place a certain % of total calorie intake in an 8 hr feeding window pre-and post WO, and then “taper” calories towards the evening (high protein/low carb) in order to make a transition into the fasted phase (as low carb mimicks the effects from fasting to a certain degree). Thus, the feeding phase will be slightly longer than 8 hrs on workout days, but I consider this a good compromise in order to get proper PWO nutrition. Of course, one could go about this by initiating the fast in the afternoon/evening, but many consider this a bit daunting (and anecdtoally, fasting in the morning/lunch hours seems easier).”

What to do if you don’t feel your best working out with weights fasted?
If you must do your primary heavy resistance training first thing in the morning and yu are someone who does not tolerate fasted workouts well I can offer the following tips:
  • Have a piece of fruit before hand like a banana seems to do an amazing job at keeping our bodies in a negative energy balance whilst allowing you to perform well in the morning and burn fat. I have been experimenting with a banana and a shot of expresso pre workout (30 mins before) and it has been great, I suspect my insulin levels are kept low enough to encourage fat burning during the workout.
  • Try and do more light running/pushups/Pullups and squats first thing in the morning and fit in your gym based work in the evenings.
  • Experiment with Branched Chain Amino acids. I am not a huge fan of supplements like these but they will give you energy to get through workouts whilst keeping your body in a fasted state, 5-10 grams will do.
  • Eat dinner later at night. This is a tricky one as we want to go to bed with a somewhat empty stomach as to maximize growth Hormone release so be careful with this one, the main premise is to make the fast before the workout shorter but still be in a fasted state.
  • I will sometimes do fasted resistance work on mornings after cheat meals/dinners as I have normally eaten loads of high carb foods leaving me with plenty of muscle glycogen allowing me to steam roll through workouts, in spite of having fasted for several hours.
The take out point here is that everyone is different I know some people perform fine first thing in the morning whilst others suffer. If you are someone who does not fare well doing heavy resistance work while fasted then I suggest you experiment with some of the tips above and see what works for you or try and schedule your workouts to times you have some fuel in the system.

My Top Tips for Muscle gain without fat!

I have always struggled to gain mass and always felt that mass came with too much added fat when I ate 5 times a day. Recently though thanks to site’s like Art Devaney and the IF life I have developed simple methods for a gaining mass whilst staying lean. I am going to keep it very simple and will also stick in a sample workout.

Eat when you are hungry. I mean genuine hunger not at the slightest hunger pang, make sure you eat good whole food; Prepare a huge salad with things like avocado, olives and good oils. Have eggs and fruit for breakfast. One of the most important things I have relaised in recent months is tat muscle gain is a hormonal occurrence all you can do is trigger it by working out and feeding your body good wholesome foods.

I normally eat 3 times a day but graze on berries, nuts and vegetables throughout the day. I will make a post on a sample menu soon. The basic premise is good wholesome food, when hungry and eat well.

Optimize your Growth Hormone output. My main tips for achieving this are to go to bed slightly hungry (no food for 2-3 hours before) Also do not eat anything for 1-2 hours after GH releasing activities (Sprints, weights etc)

Supplements. This one is simple take a high quality Cod Liver Oil which gives you roughly 10,00iu of Vitamin A per day (usually 1 tbsp). Also take a good quality Zinc and Magnesium supplement (before bed). Also consider taking kelp and a B complex.

Enjoy Life. Have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, Socialize with good people and practice being zen and calm. If you are not relaxed your body will not be keen to build muscle. Also do not worry about eating bad food once in a while, treat yourself to that slice of cake once a week, or have a pizza. Just add an extra 10 minutes cardio next time you workout if you feel bad about it.

Sample workout– Thsis is a simple plan for working out for muscle gain, it is based on power law training so it is to be done in the 15-8-4 format with little/no rest.

  • 4-5 20 second sprints on a stationary bike with 1 minute slow pace in between each one.
  • Front Squats or Thrusters (Alternate)
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Bent Over Row
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Dips (Weighted if you can)
  • Standing Barbell bicep curls
  • Weighted Ab crunches
  • Nice walk as a cool down

Thats is each excersise 15-8-4 reps shouldnt take longer than 20-30 minutes if your working out ferosiously. Just do this 2-3 times a week. Eat food 1-2 hours later. Also try to increase the weight you are pushing with each week.

200 push-ups

Recently I have been traveling and finding it hard to get workouts in due to time constraints. What I have been doing is a tip I got from Matthew Mcconaughey who recommends doing 200 push-ups a day. I basically will do 200 pushups from when I wake up and they will normally take about 20-25 minutes grips vary as do reps per set but they finally get done. Its a great workout and leaves your whole body pretty sore the next day.

Also as I’m in New York I have been trying to get in as much walking as I can, whilst being energetic whilst opening doors and climbing stairs. This covers the ‘play’ aspect and keeps me moving.

As for nutrition, this has been slipping due to family eating situations, in spite of the cheesecake and cereal I have managed to stay pretty evolutionary with my meals, loads of salmon, chicken prawns and beef even some oysters last night!!

BTW the Matthew Mcconaughey article linked above is great, they guy has a superb insight on life, training and living.

Quick morning jog

This mornings workout was done after a cup of coffee (Black) I went out planning to have fun during a short jog. I ended up doing some downhill sprints, these are very refreshing and energizing and almost feel like a tonic for the body. They are simple just walk up a small hill and sprint down as fast as you can and repeat a few times.

I also threw in some pushups during the run not too many just enough to warm up and gain a slight pump. I threw some sidestepping into the jog as well. The workout took about 25 minutes and left me feeling refreshed. Breakfast was about 1 hour after the workout ended.

I picked up the tip on downhill sprints from Arthur De Vaney’s website while browsing through his archives. They are extremely enjoyable and seem to give the body a rush of excitement and provoke rejuvenation to some extent. Well worth throwing into days when you play.

Breakfast was;

-1 egg

-Some Pastrami

-Berries and an apple

Lean hunt

Recently with the nice weather I have been doing a lot of fasted AM workouts. They feel great and allow me to feel peaceful throughout the day, I try to look at them like they are lean hunts as if I am earning my food for the coming day/days. Its a nice feeling to have, makes stuff taste better and life slow down.

-4 sets of bike sprints lasting 20-30 seconds

-Leg Press

-Leg Extension

-Stiff legged DB deadlift

-DB flat bench press

-Bent over row and some pullups

-Standing shoulder press

-Seated Row (Wide Grip)

-Finished off with some ab work and bicep curls

This workout took around 40 minutes and all the exercises were done using power law principles. I think I pushed myself too far felt pretty tired after. On the way home I picked up some food and had my PW meal about 90 minutes after finishing the workout, tasted amazing;

-Raw Honey, canned pumpkin, raw egg, Natural organic Yoghurt all mixed together

-Platter of melon and pineapple


Lean hunts are great but don’t overdo them, if your doing High intensity training I would do about 2 a week maximum. Other mornings go for a light jog or go play around in the park (running, sprinting, jumping jacks, run backwards, burpees, grab a ball throw it and run after it, just play)


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