I train early in the morning most days and one of my most frequently asked questions is whether I do this fasted or unfasted. I think that it’s time to share my opinion on this topic.
There is research into both fasted and unfasted training and the effects on both fat loss and performance. The results are often contradictory to each other, making it hard to reach an evidence-based conclusion. I personally feel like the differences between training fasted and unfasted are negligible. I recommend that instead of trying to make a decision based on what someone else says you should do, try making a decision based on how you feel.
I find that often people focus on small details about training and nutrition, thinking that they are the key to success. They assume that training fasted will be the game changer in their fitness routine and make them get results 10 times faster. I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t the case. Rather than worrying about whether you should train fasted, I suggest you focus on training in general. What kind of training are you doing? Do you enjoy it? Are you doing it consistently? How do you feel when you train? Are you making progress? The fact that you’re training consistently and that you’re challenging your body is much more important to your results than whether you’re doing it fasted or not.
Anyways, rant over! The long and short of it is that I suggest that you find what works for you. Try training fasted for a couple of weeks, try training unfasted for a couple of weeks. How do you feel during the sessions? Does the food sit well and energise you or does it make you feel sluggish? Does eating different foods make you feel different in the gym? Note down how you perform during your workout in both fasted and unfasted states. After you have experienced both, reflect and make a decision about what you would like to do into the future.
The reality is, there is no one-fits-all approach to anything in fitness and nutrition. If I said that you have to train fasted or you have to eat exactly 45 minutes before a session… those recommendations might be appropriate for a small fraction of my readers, but for others it may not work. It is all about trial and error and learning about your body and how best you function.
And what do I do? A bit of both, depending on the day and how I feel. I know my body. I know what works for me. I know when I am lacking energy and need a pick me up. I know when I am ready to smash the gym without a pre-workout meal. It’s taken time to get to this point, but I highly recommend that you try to get in tune with your body.
Let me know in the comments below whether you train fasted or fed!