Dumb Things People Do (Part I of Infinity)
Fasted State Exercise/Training
Not too long ago I had a client who was adamant that fasted state exercise was the best way to shed fat and get lean. All of this despite the fact that he was 40 lbs overweight (his approach obviously worked wonders) and the person who told him that this was a good idea was his coach back when he was in college….20 years ago.
Before I get into one massive diatribe, let me first be a little more specific. If we’re referring to fasted state cardio, I will be the first to admit there is a time and place for it. Albeit for energy system work performed in the AM, I would still prefer a small meal (hard boiled egg) beforehand. For “stubborn fat” (ie: someone who is already pretty lean and looking to get rid of that last extra bit of fat), fasted state cardio may have some merit. For many trainees that would be an additional caloric deficit of 100 calories per day, which can add up over time. However in the grand scheme of things, fasted state cardio makes about as much sense as wearing your collar up on your shirt. Don’t do it.
In regards to resistance training, fasted state exercise has absolutely NO place and it flat out counterproductive. Simply put, you won’t have enough “juice” to really push yourself and to train with any sort of intensity, and this will only limit the metabolic after-effect. Since the “after burn” is what makes resistance training so advantageous for shedding fat, you would have to be on crack to think that you’re going to lean out significantly by training on an empty stomach.
Side Note: I should say that initially, training on an empty stomach won’t mount to a hill of beans in terms of overall disadvantage (as my good friend MariAnne Anderson has stated on a few occasions). But it is unnecessarily painful, with no net gain, and as one does lean out, it’s more and more catabolic to muscle. Some people can get away with it and experience a little success. However, most will fail miserably (read: you).