What are your fitness goals? Lose fat, build Muscle? Thought so…Just about everyone who walks into the gym is looking to lose at least a little fat and build at least a little muscle, preferably at the same time. Like most things in life, however, it’s easier said than done.
But is it possible? Absolutely. Despite what you may have heard, you can actually lose a fair amount of fat while maintaining muscle mass (or building), assuming you know what you’re doing.
That’s Where Fasted State Training Comes In
A “fasted state” is one in which you have not consumed any food in several hours and your body’s Insulin levels have returned to baseline.
Insulin, for those who need a quick refresh, is a hormone released in response to food consumption. As food is digested, nutrients are released into the bloodstream and Insulin’s job is to send those nutrients into cells.
Specifically, Insulin sends excess glucose to muscle cells and fat cells. In doing so, Insulin also signals the body to stop burning fat for energy. This is simply because your body’s preferred source of energy is Glucose, so when there’s a lot of it floating around your bloodstream, there is no reason to burn stored fat for energy.
Therein lies the key…
Training Fasted Increases Fat Loss!
When your Insulin levels are at their lowest, your body is in fat-burning mode. If you train during this time, you’ll burn more fat than you normally would if you had eaten prior to training.
You will hear a lot of people, particularly power-lifters and bodybuilders who are primarily focused on building strength, dismiss fasted training as pointless, but the fat-loss benefits cannot be denied.
Multiple studies have noted that fat oxidation is increased during fasted state training verses when carbs are consumed prior.
This makes it worth considering by anyone who is focused on losing fat. Unfortunately, there are some downsides that we need to discuss…
Fasted Training Breaks Down Muscle
Just as the fat-loss benefits of fasted training cannot be denied, it is also true that more muscle breakdown occurs. This is simply because your body is breaking down amino acids into glucose for energy at an accelerated rate to compensate for the lack of carbs that it normally prefers to derive glucose from.
It Also Decreases Muscular Endurance
Another unfortunate fact about training while in a fasted state is that you will almost definitely have less muscular endurance. If you’ve ever tried lifting on a very empty stomach (like 5-6 hours after eating), you may have noticed you just weren’t killing it like you do when you eat a bunch of carbs prior.
This doesn’t mean you’re not getting a good workout. You’re just low on glycogen is all.
How To Minimize The Negatives While Still Burning Fat
Here’s the good news! You can take steps to reduce the drawbacks of fasted training while maintaining the fat-loss benefits through simple, safe supplementation.
Leucine is one of the Branched Chain Amino Acids, along with Isoleucine and Valine, and it is actually the most powerful Amino Acid when it comes to stimulating muscle protein synthesis. It has been used clinically to increase muscle protein synthesisrates when they are otherwise compromised, as is the case when you’re training fasted.
Leucine should be dosed between 3-5g. Most BCAA supplements are extremely under-dosed, so read the label before purchasing!
“But Can’t You Just Eat Protein?”
No! Recall from above that the whole point of training fasted is that your Insulin levels are low. Consuming protein will spike your Insulin levels, in some cases just as much as consuming carbs. Leucine, however, has a minimal impact on Insulin levels, meaning it won’t disrupt the accelerated fat-loss but will still put a stop to muscle loss.
Citrulline is another amino acid that is involved in a wide array of bodily processes, but has been researched quite a bit in the area of exercise performance enhancement. Citrulline has been shown to improve muscular endurance and is consideredquite reliable.
Now, Citrulline Malate is certainly no substitute for glucose in terms of providing energy, but it can absolutely help reverse the decline in muscular endurance that occurs with fasted training.
Furthermore, Citrulline has been shown (in preliminary research) to restore muscle protein synthesis in situations where it is otherwise compromised, but through different mechanisms than Leucine.
Now, you could go purchase a tub of Citrulline Malate and a tub of Leucine and take them prior to your fasted sessions…or you could just save yourself the trouble and check out Amino Beyond. But if you’re serious about burning fat and building muscle, take a look at the Shredded Gains Stack.
THE SHREDDED GAINS STACK
The Shredded Gains Stack consists of Formula 56, Amino Beyond, and Rauwolscine. It is intended for those looking to burn fat while maintaining or building muscle mass. If you’re cutting but you’re not looking to sacrifice any gains, this stack is for you.
The Bottom Line On Fasted State Training
The notion that fasted training is counter-productive is nonsense, but whether or not you should bother with it depends on your goals. If you want to maximize strength and size above all else, and don’t care at all about losing fat, than don’t bother, but if fat-loss is the goal you should absolutely try training fasted. If you supplement smart, either with Amino Beyond or just mixing your own blend, you can burn fat and keep all that muscle you’ve worked so hard for.
This is one of those rare situations where you can actually have your cake and eat it too.
DO YOU FEEL SMARTER?!
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I'm Matt, Founder of Momentum Nutrition and SuppWithThat.com. I've spent the better part of the last decade researching and experimenting in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and supplementation, and this is where I write it all down.