Health & Wellness
Is fasted training actually good for me?
Dr. Marc Bubbs
Spring is in the air, and as the days get warmer, you’re probably more motivated to hit the road for a run, ride or prepare for a summer 10K, half-marathon or marathon. Once you’ve signed up for your event, you’re committed. It’s time to dust off your training program and running shoes in order to prepare. Most people run for charity and to improve their health. However, many people fail to lose any weight while training for their marathon, cycling event or fun run. Sadly, this also limits the benefit for improving health and longevity.
How can you fuel your training this summer to not only get fitter, but lighter and leaner as well?There are a number of different strategies. One in particular is highly effective (and convenient) for recreational runners during specific training runs. It’s called fasted training, which includes fasted cardio. Fasted training is simple and just as straightforward as it sounds. You wake up in the morning, have a drink of water, coffee or tea and off you go for your run. No pre-workout breakfast, shake or sports drink.
How can it help improve fitness and body composition?When doing aerobic-based endurance sessions, which should make up about 80% of your training when preparing for activities like marathons, you are exercising at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. The primary fuel at this pace is your own body-fat. If you consume a higher carb breakfast, you will burn the carbohydrates for fuel rather than your own ‘fuel reserves’ in body-fat stores. Note: The rules are a little different for elite runners focused strictly on performance. This makes fasting a terrific strategy to ensure you train your body to improve its ability to burn your own adipose tissue for fuel. In addition, you liver glycogen stores will be low since you have just slept all night. This is the carbohydrate stored in your liver that keeps your blood sugar levels stable while you sleep. It can increase your body's ability to burn fat as a fuel source. Here are a few things to remember when performing ‘fasted training’;
- You can drink coffee or tea (black or with cream), or water
- Keep your heart rate in the aerobic heart rate zone, approximately 65-75% of your maximum heart rate
- If you don’t measure your heart rate, simply rate your ‘effort’ on a scale of 1-10 and don’t exceed an estimated measure of ‘7.5’.