One of the most common questions that I get asked from people that I coach revolves around whether or not they should be doing fasted workouts. Anywhere you look online you will see people going back and forth on this topic, arguing with who’s right and who’s not. It’s annoying, really. Most people just don’t understand that there are multiple effective ways to work out and still get results. I have done both fasted and non-fasted workouts over the years. Believe it or not, I have gotten great results with both. My goals tend to determine whether or not I do it as well. I’m going to explain that below and talk about what I’m currently doing and how it’s affected my results.
Basically we all have two different types of goals. We either want to lean out or put on size. At least that’s how it is for me. I go through phases where I want to be really big and bulky, but then super lean and ripped. The seasons tend to influence that as well. If it’s the winter time, since I’m covered up all the time and not worried about gaining a little bit of body fat, I tend to focus more on mass gaining. During the spring and summer, like right now, I focus more on leaning out. When I’m trying to bulk, in the past I have always tried to eat a well balanced meal with good carbs and protein about an hour and a half beforehand. In a nutshell, I wanted to make sure that my body is burning consumed carbohydrates and that I have enough protein in my system to prevent muscle breakdown during my workouts. Over time, though, as I’ve gained more knowledge and gotten older, my views on the goal of getting big and bulky has changed. I wanted to be that way in the past, but I’m at the point in my life where I want to remain lean and in excellent cardio condition, all while maintaining the muscle that I have put on over the past year or so. So far I’ve been able to do so.
What exactly am I doing right now? I’m doing fasted workouts. A lot of people who are trying to lean out do fasted workouts. My process goes like this. I wake up, drink a massive glass of water and then shortly after mix 2 scoops of Energize, a pre-workout supplement, into another small glass of water and chug it. The reason for the Energize is just what you would think. I want a boost of energy before I do any type of crazy intense workout, like Max 30 or Insanity Asylum. Energize is the best pre-workout supplement that I’ve used and I’ve tried a lot of them over the years. The reason why it’s so good is because it doesn’t use shit ingredients, works quickly, lasts the entire workout, and there is no crash afterwards. You can learn more about it from my Just Man Up Episode on Pre-Workout supplements.
There is one big mistake that I see a lot of people make when doing fasted workouts, though. They skip out on a crucial intra-workout supplement, BCAA’s. If you’re going to do a fasted workout, meaning you haven’t eaten anything for many hours beforehand, I highly recommend that you sip on a good quality BCAA supplement throughout the workout. Here’s the reasoning. When you work out on an empty stomach, especially if you work out in the morning after not eating anything since the night before, your body has to find an energy source from somewhere to get you through the workout. Since there are no carbs (glycogen) or fat (from healthy fat consumption), the next place is stored fat and/or muscle tissue. Ideally, you want the body to target the stored fat for energy instead of the muscle. Consuming branched chained amino acids (BCAA’s) during the workout assists the body in doing so because it helps prevent muscle breakdown and repairs damaged tissue. In the past when I did intense routines on an empty stomach without consuming BCAA’s during the workout, I leaned out, but I always lost quite a bit of muscle mass. By the end of a 30 day program, I would have a 6 pack, but my strength decreased significantly. Then I learned about BCAA’s and the effect that they had on the body and started using them during my fasted workouts. Currently, I’m doing an insane training routine, shifting between intense lifting and Max 30, Asylum, and Asylum 2, drinking my BCAA’s during the workout, and have not had a decrease in strength yet, which is remarkable. I’ve been doing this routine for about 3 months. The BCAA’s have made a huge difference for me personally.
What BCAA’s am I currently using? Unfortunately, Beachbody hasn’t come out with one yet so I’m using Scivation Extend Raw. Just a warning, it tastes like shit. It’s awful, but I don’t use it for the taste. Rather, I use it because it’s a good quality supplement. The reason for the “Raw,” which means that it has no flavoring added, is because it’s chemical and dye free. If you haven’t read my blog post about the effects of artificial flavoring and dyes on the body yet, I highly suggest that you do so. Here’s the “Toxic Dyes in Your Food and Supplements” post. I’m all about consuming good quality food and supplements. I put one scoop in my shaker cup full of water, shake it, and sip on it throughout my entire workout.
If you’re asking me if you should do fasted workouts or not, I guess it’s up to you. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fasted workouts and will continue doing them from now on. I feel it is the most effective way to lose unwanted body fat. If you do choose to do fasted workouts, I suggest that you get yourself a good quality pre and intra workout supplement. If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Josh@JoshSpencerFitness.com. Don’t forget to LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK and visit my site JoshSpencerFitness.com as well.
My name is Josh Spencer and I'm a husband, father, online fitness Coach (since 2008), soon to be author, and holistic healing advocate. Since 2008 I've helped thousands and thousands of people make a change in their health! I believe that in order to make incredible changes you have to have the right mindset, nutrition, and workout plan.