Training during fasting

Every January, our church does a corporate fasting for 3 weeks and that generally means I will only eat dinner. I do my training around the dinner time as well. So depending on when I eat, I will either do a workout in a fasted state and eat afterwards or I will eat first, take a short time to digest, and then workout. Does anyone any any suggestions on which of those scenarios would be best or anything else I have not thought of?

Depends on the training you’re doing and how strict the fasting rules are. I’m assuming you’re able to drink water during the day so would be hydrated in all scenarios? If it was Z2 I think you could do it fasted but would still be easier to get through if you could start taking on some calories during the ride e.g. a bit of sports drink, then dinner after to refuel and recover. If it’s sweet spot or higher then I think it would be very hard and likely counterproductive doing it fasted, so you’d need to either start taking on calories before and during the ride to fuel the work, or do it after digesting some dinner. Problem with the latter approach being firstly that indigestion can be a big problem if doing high intensity work shortly after eating solid food, and that you also really need to refuel after a higher intensity ride if you want to recover and benefit from that ride, which means splitting your dinner or having a second dinner afterwards.

If any goal events are a way off then I’d likely just do fasted Z2 riding for the 3 weeks with dinner afterwards, not worry too much about watts, and just use the period to get leaner. Would also consider doing some strength training as well as making sure dinner had plenty of protein, to retain lean muscle mass during a period when you’re likely to be losing weight.

Sounds ideal for a reduced calorie endurance block.

@Jryoung74 the reality of what you can & can’t do is most likely at odds with some of the colloquial advice you are likely to hear/read on the internet. If you want to do fasted VO2max/threshold/sweet spot work in the morning or early afternoon it’s not problem to do an hour workout. I do it all the time…your evening meal can give you enough calories to replenish glycogen overnight. You are made to hunt while hungry so, trust me, you can do it.

And here is another little secret that you’re going to love: lactate in the blood is a GREAT appetite suppressant. I’ve talked about this on the forum before & it’s something I didn’t really understand until I heard George Brooks explain it. TR have said on their podcast that an intense fasted workout leaves them really hungry but this has never been my experience. I used to think VO2max work would make me hungry but it doesn’t…quite the opposite. And you’ll feel great for hours but but but, once you eat and INSULIN INCREASES then your muscles will start to feel tired and maybe sore.

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Is it feasible to take in a sports drink ~10 mins prior to starting any workout? You can pretty rapidly increase uptake and minimize increased RPE by doing so prior to and during the training

Another thing you might consider: allow a couple of days to get to your depleted/fasted state & then do a ramp test. That can help set a more realistic power target for your workouts. After you’re done fasting give it a couple days and then do another ramp test to reset.