What counts as a fasted ride?

If I have lunch at noon, and do a workout at 8pm (no snacks in between), does this count as a fasted ride?
Is this different than if I eat dinner at 7pm, and do a workout the following morning at 5am?

Besides there being an 8 hour difference in the first example and a 10 hour difference in the second example, no.

Provided you didn’t go crazy at lunchtime, 8 hours should be enough to get you into a fasted state.


Yep - on the 8 vs 10 hr difference, i wanted to pose a reasonable scenario for early morning ride, instead of dinner at 9pm, ride at 5am, or dinner at 7pm, ride at 3am :slight_smile:


Is there a benefit of doing a fasted ride? The vast majority of my rides are done without any food for 6-8 hours beforehand.

I don’t have an issue completing them - is it just better for weight loss?

The goal is less to lose weight, and more to train your body to better metabolize fat for fuel when riding.


You’re not going to burn any more calories (power output being equal, which it will be) but the adaptation long term can allow for more of those calories to come from fat as a result of your fat mobilisation efficiency increasing & dependence on glycogen, for the same given intensity, reducing.


It’s all about metabolic efficiency. In other words, training your body to prefer fat for fuel over carbohydrates during workouts. The more you can save your carbs for when you really need them, the better you will perform. Bob Seebohar has written a couple of books on the topic. If you train these systems properly, you can do a century ride on water only.


I’ve historically been a very glycogen dependent athlete. In long races, I’ve found myself getting very tired towards the end, and also not able to eat enough to stay properly fueled.

My goal for next season is to improve my fat metabolism and also slow twitch muscle endurance to perform better in these long races.

While I don’t need to be able to ride a century without food, I do want to maintain more consistent energy over the course of long rides.

This is my rationale for increasing the amount of fasted rides, and long, low intensity rides vs previous years.


If I was focused on weight loss, my priorities would be, in order:

  1. Eat less, especially refined sugars and junk carbs
  2. Do high intensity workouts to benefit from the calorific afterburn
  3. Lift weights, differentially focusing on legs, to increase muscle mass
    I’m not sure fasted rides would be a priority for me, but then again, I’ve no experience to see how effective they might be for weight loss.
    The three above work retry well for me to keep the pounds off.

I wouldn’t view it so much as a binary “fasted or non-fasted” distinction, but more a continuum from “fed” to “fasted” depending on that gap between last eaten (and the carbohydrate composition of that meal) and your next workout.


“After the first few hours mentioned above, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, during which the components of the last meal are still in the circulation. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It typically takes 12 hours after your last meal to fully enter the fasted state.” It would appear from this that 8 hours is OK 10 hrs better and 12 hours better still. From https://www.dietdoctor.com/intermittent-fasting/time-restricted-eating

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I guess it depends on your metabolic rate; the faster it is, the more of a fasted state you’ll be in when you ride (taking the amount of time you’re in a fasted state into consideration). For me, I eat my last meal at 5 PM “the evening prior to the next afternoon when I ride at 4:30 PM”. I only ride for one hour, and that’s pushing it (45 minutes is ideal). That’s almost 24 hours with no food before I ride. I follow up with a good nutritional meal thereafter. Been working for me for a few years and it definitely keeps me at my ideal weight, which has made me a bit faster.

I may well be cynical here, bur only in the well fed West would going eight to twelve hours between meals be considered ‘fasting’. If you are getting regular meals, you’re not fasting. Try 2-5 days without eating. Your body will be in a fasted state then, for sure. This other stuff is just riding before your next meal.

Here’s a TP article from today: