Fasted TrainingMy Observation and Personal Experience
Although this page is focusing on mental side of the things, my biggest strength is to see connections between seemingly unrelated things. This is why I am writing this blog post focusing on fitness.
Physical exercise has been playing an important role in my life for the past six months and I changed my training habits multiple times. So whether you exercise, think about exercising in a fasted state or simply enjoy
reading correcting what I write (Thanks Slávka.) I hope you will find it helpful.
DISCLAIMER: In this blog post I am writing my observations and experience with fasting and fasted training and it’s benefits, both physical and mental. Majority of the things I am mentioning in this blog post are based on my personal experience with fasting and fasted training. This is not to be considered a scientific article. However, during last two years that I’ve been using fasting, I read quite a lot of research that support my experience.
If you are looking for a more scientifically written article, go here.
Mental Benefits of Fasted Training
It can be hard
Training fasted can be hard. Two days ago I’ve implemented fasted training into my training regime and the first day was brutal. First ten minutes I had to focus hard to even move myself. After ten minutes it became easier but still, it was a hard work. But there is a benefit to it! You train yourself to take on challenges and push yourself way outside of your comfort zone. If I encounter similar state in my next competitive run I can rely on myself because I know I can still continue through the mental pain.
While I consider my time management skills to be good and I can cook while running outside coming home to finished food, getting up early to do my fasted training left me with a lot of time in the evening. No need to plan eating, digesting, training, eating again and ending up sleepless because I trained way too late in the evening.
When I trained in the evenings, it was after work. I would come home hungry. I had to put nutrients into me to have a good training afterwards. This typically led situations, when I would have no food prepared for after the training. Therefore I had to cook and while I could cook or bake something outside, I ended up finishing my meals at about 11 p.m. Eating late in the night and being energized from the training itself led to sleepless nights. Doesn’t happen when I train in the morning. I have energy when I need it, which is during the day.
This leaves me with more free time during productive hours (when most people are actually awake).
This is applies to fasting in general. My first meal in the day used to be at about 1 p.m., sometimes even later. No need to think about what to eat for breakfast allowed me to have less things to think about and focus on more important things. If it sounds too insignificant, look at people close to you, always thinking what to eat for breakfast…
And besides mental clarity, you will also get more aware of your hunger levels. You will be able to distinguish when you are really hungry and when you are just bored.
If you want to train fasted, the morning is the best time to do it. And when we speak about how are seemingly unrelated things connected, let me mention that starting your day on a high note is conducive to high self-esteem.
Start day by doing things that make you happy about yourself. Exercise or meditation, whatever it is, you will feel great about yourself and more motivated to finish task or do something you were postponing for so long.
Physical Benefits of Fasted Training
There are a lot of scientific articles online that speak about fasted training, muscle building, muscle loss, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), insulin levels etc. that are influenced during fasted training. This is one of the reasons why I am not going to write about it. The second reason being that I am not a scientist. Therefore what I am writing here is personal experience.
But just to mention a few, here are the effects of fasted training on your body:
- Increased HGH (preserve/build muscle) by up to 2000%;
- Increased capacity to store glycogen in muscle;
- Increase in VO2 max (aerobic capacity);
- Increased ability to use fat as a preferred fuel;
- Increase in blood cortisol levels (Steroid hormone that breaks down fat and/or muscle. It is associated with stress. If you have a stressful life, you might consider to avoid fasted training.);
- and more.
The reason why I implemented fasted training into my regime was to get more productive time and to adapt better to running on fat / increase glycogen stores in muscles. My aim was not muscle building nor aesthetics but rather performance.
As I stated above, fasted training can be hard. This can influence the performance output, meaning I will not do hard runs (interval training, tempo runs) in fasted state. However I feel fine when I do easy aerobic activities such as walking or easy pace running, swimming or biking. It is simply much harder for me to run fast after fast 😉
However, I noticed increase in my hunger after fasted training and I feel like my metabolism is increased tenfold during the day (Which is good.)
This is to give you an idea about training in the fasted state and why you might or might not implement it. What might be more interesting for you however is fasting itself. Abstaining from food from 12 to 16 hours at a time can be found beneficial in weight management, longevity, preventing brain illnesses and cell reparation process (Cleansing of body.).
Some good night reading for you here with sources.