Training before bed and fasting

Anth

Level 4 Valued Member
Hello,

I recently heard something interesting on Dan John's podcast. He said something about bodybuilders doing cardio before bed, then doing a fasted workout in the morning, as a way to burn fat.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking about doing some moderate work before bed: maybe some light airdyne bike sprints or easier loaded carries (maybe double farmers walks with 12-20kg).

I was thinking about doing this three days a week. A little background about what I do:

Timeless simple 2 days a week
deload S&S workout + Dan John's ABC complex once a week (once a month I will just do a simple challenge instead).
Boxing/kickboxing bagwork twice a week.
Daily mobility and stretching
Rest when I need to
All workouts are first thing in the morning in a fasted/semi-fasted state
Intermittent fasting 4-5 days a week (It really works well for me).

I was thinking about adding the carries/airdyne sprints 2-3 days a week before bed. I'm just interested to hear if anyone has experience with any of this.

Thanks!
 

Andrey Zyurin

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Hey Anth,

It all depends on your current goals and your current fitness level, also it depends on how good is your body with fat oxidation.

For instance, I do IF for 3-4 years plus longer 24-48 hours periods of fasting monthly.
At the same time, I mostly do strength training and running/rucking sessions in the morning(fasted). It doesn't affect my performance much.
But again, for you, it might take time to adapt.

As Nathan said, start your fasted low-intensity training first and keep power demanding sessions for the times your glycogen storage is full.
You can start with fasted mobility/stretching and timeless simple, and see how your body reacts. There's a principle in running called "Train Low/Race High", there are plenty of good articles about that, it might help you as well.

Plus one more thing about sprints before bed. It will potentially increase your core temperature radically, which is going to affect your sleep quality and resting HR. If possible, do the most intense work in the afternoon before dinner. In that case, you'll be full of energy, at the same time, your night recovery won't be affected by training.

In general, the more you fast, the better understanding of your body you'll get. Nowadays people are considering fasting as a quick weight loss fix, but it is much deeper than that.

Cheers and good luck with it!
 

Anth

Level 4 Valued Member
Hey Anth,

It all depends on your current goals and your current fitness level, also it depends on how good is your body with fat oxidation.

For instance, I do IF for 3-4 years plus longer 24-48 hours periods of fasting monthly.
At the same time, I mostly do strength training and running/rucking sessions in the morning(fasted). It doesn't affect my performance much.
But again, for you, it might take time to adapt.

As Nathan said, start your fasted low-intensity training first and keep power demanding sessions for the times your glycogen storage is full.
You can start with fasted mobility/stretching and timeless simple, and see how your body reacts. There's a principle in running called "Train Low/Race High", there are plenty of good articles about that, it might help you as well.

Plus one more thing about sprints before bed. It will potentially increase your core temperature radically, which is going to affect your sleep quality and resting HR. If possible, do the most intense work in the afternoon before dinner. In that case, you'll be full of energy, at the same time, your night recovery won't be affected by training.

In general, the more you fast, the better understanding of your body you'll get. Nowadays people are considering fasting as a quick weight loss fix, but it is much deeper than that.

Cheers and good luck with it!
Thank you.

I've been fasting for a while. I find that I perform much better in a fasted state, especially early in the morning (I usually have coffee, so I guess it's not a pure fast). I generally feel better in a fasted state all-around.

I guess sprints is not the best term. More like short bursts of moderate intensity, maybe 5-10 reps of 10 second bursts over a 20 minute bike ride, something like that, though that will definitely raise more temperature as well.

I was also thinking about a ruck in the evening. Again, not very intense, maybe 16kg in a back pack while I walk around my neighborhood with my wife and kids. That's probably what I will try.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
There's a principle in running called "Train Low/Race High", there are plenty of good articles about that, it might help you as well.
Could you explain this a bit, because at first blush it sort of defies the other principle in endurance sports. 'Train High / Sleep Low'
Thanks...
 

Andrey Zyurin

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Could you explain this a bit, because at first blush it sort of defies the other principle in endurance sports. 'Train High / Sleep Low'
Thanks...
It mostly applies to endurance practices, when you train for an event or have a plan for improvement with periodization elements in it.
Many things depend on your program, but in general you:

1. Implement regular fasted sessions to enhance fat utilization and decrease your reliance on carb sources during endurance sessions.
2. Follow a low carb&high fat diet as well for the same reasons as listed.
3. Increase carb intake before a race or at the end of your season at the top of your training curve.
4. Back to step 1. after "peaking".

By myself, I prefer to train fasted in general and low carb and relatively high-fat approach, strategically fueling with more carbs and shortening my fasted periods before prolonged trail and OCR races.
I hope it would be useful!
 

Andrey Zyurin

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Thank you.

I've been fasting for a while. I find that I perform much better in a fasted state, especially early in the morning (I usually have coffee, so I guess it's not a pure fast). I generally feel better in a fasted state all-around.

I guess sprints is not the best term. More like short bursts of moderate intensity, maybe 5-10 reps of 10 second bursts over a 20 minute bike ride, something like that, though that will definitely raise more temperature as well.

I was also thinking about a ruck in the evening. Again, not very intense, maybe 16kg in a back pack while I walk around my neighborhood with my wife and kids. That's probably what I will try.
That's great, man!
If you are okay with fasting sessions, go for it then! Just be mindful about training, some of my students were experiencing brain fog and dizziness, when they were doing S&S fasted the beginning.
Within time body "learns" to stabilize blood sugar levels in a more efficient way.
But at the same time, I'm not a doctor, just a guy who runs, fasts and swings bells. If you feel that something is off, get some food and rest.

I'm keeping an eye on my RHR, HRV and body temperature already for many years(yeah, pretty nerdy), and I've noticed that I'm having the best sleep if I train at least 5 hours before going to bed. Plus cold showers and breathing techniques(Wim Hof or Box breathing as an example) are helping to decrease HR and make me sleep like a baby.
 

Anth

Level 4 Valued Member
That's great, man!
If you are okay with fasting sessions, go for it then! Just be mindful about training, some of my students were experiencing brain fog and dizziness, when they were doing S&S fasted the beginning.
Within time body "learns" to stabilize blood sugar levels in a more efficient way.
But at the same time, I'm not a doctor, just a guy who runs, fasts and swings bells. If you feel that something is off, get some food and rest.

I'm keeping an eye on my RHR, HRV and body temperature already for many years(yeah, pretty nerdy), and I've noticed that I'm having the best sleep if I train at least 5 hours before going to bed. Plus cold showers and breathing techniques(Wim Hof or Box breathing as an example) are helping to decrease HR and make me sleep like a baby.
Thanks! That’s really good to know. I always like working out before bed, and I always fall asleep easily, but I don’t sleep well through the night. I’m going to try some of those breathing techniques and possibly cold showers.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
It mostly applies to endurance practices, when you train for an event or have a plan for improvement with periodization elements in it.
Many things depend on your program, but in general you:

1. Implement regular fasted sessions to enhance fat utilization and decrease your reliance on carb sources during endurance sessions.
2. Follow a low carb&high fat diet as well for the same reasons as listed.
3. Increase carb intake before a race or at the end of your season at the top of your training curve.
4. Back to step 1. after "peaking".

By myself, I prefer to train fasted in general and low carb and relatively high-fat approach, strategically fueling with more carbs and shortening my fasted periods before prolonged trail and OCR races.
I hope it would be useful!
Yes, I get it. I was thinking high / low as in altitude (which is important in my world)
 

Molly5469

Level 1 Valued Member
I workout early in the morning before eating anything. It is quite useful, creates a lot of energy and freshness. Haven't tried workout before bed.
 

royjon

First Post
Is there a Slowtwitch conventional wisdom on fasting or fasted workouts, i.e. working out first thing in the morning without consuming anything (other than water and maybe coffee) first? A little searching didn't turn up much, to my my surprise.

This seems to be a controversial topic, though much of the discussion that a Google search surfaces seems to be in a bodybuilding context, where some use fasted workouts to try to lose a little more fat and get "cut," while others are deeply skeptical because they think it risks muscle catabolysis.

From an endurance athlete perspective, the potential upside is that you're training your muscles to burn more fat and rely less on glucose. But the potential downside is that you're impairing both workout intensity and recovery and potentially catabolizing muscle.

I'd be curious to hear whether others use fasted workouts in their training and/or have any insights to share.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Is there a Slowtwitch conventional wisdom on fasting or fasted workouts, i.e. working out first thing in the morning without consuming anything (other than water and maybe coffee) first? A little searching didn't turn up much, to my my surprise.

This seems to be a controversial topic, though much of the discussion that a Google search surfaces seems to be in a bodybuilding context, where some use fasted workouts to try to lose a little more fat and get "cut," while others are deeply skeptical because they think it risks muscle catabolysis.

From an endurance athlete perspective, the potential upside is that you're training your muscles to burn more fat and rely less on glucose. But the potential downside is that you're impairing both workout intensity and recovery and potentially catabolizing muscle.

I'd be curious to hear whether others use fasted workouts in their training and/or have any insights to share.
As most folks know around here I am sort of an ‘endurance guy’. I train fasted (or on very low caloric intake) a large percentage of the time. Sometimes for some pretty long and / or intense sessions. No issues with performance nor with recovery. (but I will eat for recovery)
However... I don’t race in a fasted state, nor do I climb that way. (unless it’s just a training climb)
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
From an endurance athlete perspective, the potential upside is that you're training your muscles to burn more fat and rely less on glucose. But the potential downside is that you're impairing both workout intensity and recovery and potentially catabolizing muscle.

I'd be curious to hear whether others use fasted workouts in their training and/or have any insights to share.
I think that it can help nudge your body into a more metabolically healthy state, but it's something to consider in context of the rest of the training effort. For example, if you're already moderately aerobically fit and you're trying to improve your performance by working on tempo, lactate threshold, or otherwise improve V02 max, it's not the way to go; you need carbohydrate on board and available for these harder efforts. Likewise on the other end of the spectrum if you have poor aerobic fitness and you're just trying to work on getting moving with a "couch to 5k" running program or something like that, it's another possibly unnecessary stress towards that objective and it's better just to focus on doing what you need to do to progress on the program. But if you're just adding a bit of MAF-level or lower effort activity first thing in the morning, or if you want to move a bit towards your body preferentially burning fat for fuel, sure, do it fasted and it will help the body use fat for fuel and keep the effort aerobic. Just my perspective...
 
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