Workout while fasting

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy Research' started by nkl, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. nkl

    nkl Member

    Reading the excellent book Exercise Endocrinology got me thinking about what would happen if we would train during the final hours of a fast and delaying the post workout meal as long as possible.

    Some background info:
    Both fasting and exercise are catabolic. Fasting will make insulin levels to drop and GH and cathecolamine levels rises when glucose levels drop, which will promote lipolysis, but gluconeogenesis is also promoted which would lead to loss of muscle protein. A dilemma.

    The real increase in lipolysis doesn't occur until after the the bout, at the same time as GH levels are the highest. This would lead to greater fat burning post workout.

    But, if we eat carbohydrates or protein an insulin rise would inhibit lipolysis and would stimulate storage of glucose and stimulate both glycolysis and oxidation of glucose while sparig muscle protein.

    The questions:
    1) How much loss of protein would we see per time unit? Any studies on this?

    2) How much of a delay before eating a post workout meal is feasible if we want to time the meal to benefit from the increase of PS (insulin will also stimulate PS)?
  2. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    Great questions nkl... a gratuitous bump from me as I do not have a study available, but I recall fasting resulting in little to no muscle loss.
  3. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    Problem being that most studies have used resistive training after an acute fast (overnight) and not a chronic fast.

    In one study, Kim et al, showed that even when fasted (after a period of training, in this case 12 weks) protein kinetics actually increased IE increased synthesis, decreased degradation and a positive NB. Indicating that resistance training alone can and does positively impact protein routing and kinetics.

    In a case of only fasting without resistance exercise it was shown that protein degradation in healthy humans was minimal. I believe I've posted that one before including tables but maybe I'm mistaken.

    Now in either case I'm not saying I recommend a continued fast with very high metabolically taxing RT but if I were fasting I would most definately be lifting at least every other day with substantial loads and minimal volume.
  4. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    That's what I've been doing on the IF protocol, and have done a couple of workouts IN the fast rather than at the end, as per my convo's with Tot.
    What I'm not really clear on yet is the timing of everything outside of PS.
    1.) I assume that NB is not important if you eat post w.o. but what if you don't?
    2.) I assume that catabolism is reversed only if you eat post w.o. - but if PS is elevated from fasting and the w.o., how can it be of use without ingesting proteins? Would breaking the fast partially by using proteins only around the w.o. be of use?
    3.) Like nkl, I would prefer some lipolysis time before feeding, but if a certain amount of protein would be beneficial for PS post w.o. and too much would create an insulin spike, would not a lesser amount be able to do both? Or perhaps the ingestion of BCAA's alone for the w.o.?
  5. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    Quad, partial fast of protein only around the workout sounds like an interesting idea at first, but I am a big proponent of having some carbs before the workout to have some quick energy.
  6. nkl

    nkl Member

    I found something in Exercise Endocrinology (by Borer, Katarina T) that might be of interest (or disproven by another source since initial findings): <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Relative independence of hypertrophic growth from either nutritional support or guidance by systemic hormones of growth is a feature that distinguishes it from incremental and reparative growth. Hypertrophic growth can be supported through reallocation of existing energy supplies and does not depend on abundance of ingested nutrients. Thus, overloaded skeletal muscle will hypertrophy even during complete starvation, although abundance of specific nutrients such as protein or calcium may modulate the magnitude of hypertrophic responce (Goldberg et al. 1975). ... Hypertrophy also can occur in the presence of large catabolic doses of glucocorticoids, which cause athropy in muscles experiencing reduced contractile activity (Goldberg &amp; Goodman 1969). ... Hypertrophy growth is self-limiting in that it depends on the discrepancy between the magnitude of a functional demand and a tissue's ability to meet this demand. It is carried out through canges in transcription of genes for structural proteins, enzymes, and growth factors within the tissue (DeVol et al. 1990; Goldberg et al. 1975).</div>
    From this, and from what you, Dan, provided, I would think that working out while fasting would still have an anabolic effect as long as there is a discrepancy between ability and demand (progressive load). I'm not sure if this in a way answers one of the initial questions. If no protein loss occurs then there are no numbers on that loss. The timing of post-workout meal is another issue. Supplementation with protein will provide amino acids for growth, but not cause a major shift in metabolism from lipids to carbohydrates. Thus we can wait a bit longer to supplement carbs. How long? We should at least do this before doing our next workout so it doesn't matter when.

    Here is another detail that might be a part of our puzzle: <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">De novo fat synthesis ... was induced in normal volunteers only after ingestion of extraordinarily large (500g) carbohydrate meals. The effect of the large carbohydrate meals was enhanced when volunteers ate a high carbohydrate diet during the preceeding week. The effect was less readily elicited in volunteers who ate a mixed diet, and was not present in those who ate a high-fat diet (Acheson et al 1984).</div>
    Thus, if we are glycogen depleted after the workout at the end of a fast, this would be similar to a high-fat diet. Keep in mind that muscle glycogen depletion require a rather taxing workout.

    If lean gains are our goal, eating carbs and proteins in large quantities to keep metabolism up, would add little fat, while the time doing IF will reduce the fat stores already gained.  

    In contrast, if we would eat a high-fat diet instead of a high-carb diet, this would stall the fat loss as we refill our fat stores (if we eat at maintenance calories) or gain more fat (if we eat above maintenance to keep metabolism up). Keeping calories below maintenance will, in time, slow down our metabolism.

    This would mean that carbs will work better to keep our metabolism high while we limit dietary fat to the amounts of essential fats we need.

    I might have gone off on a tangent here, but I think this is the essence of our quest to lean gains.
  7. nkl

    nkl Member

    Colby, I'm not sure everyone experience the same as I experienced doing workouts during fasting, but I felt equally strong and energetic as in the fed state. I actually added 165 pounds to my 45° leg press doing 5s during a week of IF (only fasted workouts) from 275 lbs to 440. This, I think, was because I was more focused (I seldom uses the 45° leg press but the power rack was occupied and I had scheduled to do squats). Besides this I upped my PR on a number of excerices.
    In the book I've mentioned previously, the author points out that supplementing carbohydrates while working out will inhibit catecholamine hormones (adrenaline and noradrenalin). This will make us more sluggish. I now know why Ori Hofmekler named his IF diet the Warrior Diet. It will keep your mental edge keen. Oh no! I've become a proponent! Oh well, it's something different at least...  [​IMG]
    As far as I know, you were (are?) also on the IF. Have you tried working out while fasting? If so, what was your experience?
    Quad, I know you made new PRs while on IF. Did you feel more energetic in the gym while doing fasted workouts?
  8. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Not really. But once I got started I felt better.
  9. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    Last summer I cycled fasting (24-48 hours) while training. My exact protocol was.......

    Evening meal about 6-7pm
    Fast throughout 48 hour mark(black coffee, unsweetened drinks only), train MS style about 85% 1rm, eat what ever I wanted.

    Next meal was 36 hours later (breakfast or brunch), skip lunch, train again, eat.

    Fast 24 hours, eat.

    Eat breakfast, Lunch, train, eat dinner

    Start all over (fast again 48 hours)

    I never counted calories or cared about what I ate. Strength increased throughout 6 weeks of this, lost considerable fat mass.

    I'm planning on trying it again in the next month or so.

    Training was very minimalistic, Bench, Row, Pullups, Deads an occasional curl here and there.
  10. TunnelRat

    TunnelRat Active Member

    (Dan Moore @ May 01 2008,9:15)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Evening meal about 6-7pm
    Fast throughout 48 hour mark(black coffee, unsweetened drinks only), train MS style about 85% 1rm,</div>
    Does &quot;throughout 48 hour mark&quot; mean you trained after 6-7pm two nights after beginning your fast...?
  11. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    (TunnelRat @ May 01 2008,10:47)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"><div>
    (Dan Moore @ May 01 2008,9:15)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Evening meal about 6-7pm
    Fast throughout 48 hour mark(black coffee, unsweetened drinks only), train MS style about 85% 1rm,</div>
    Does &quot;throughout 48 hour mark&quot; mean you trained after 6-7pm two nights after beginning your fast...?</div>
    yes, after eating my last evening meal I then fasted for about 46-47 hours, did som training then ate.
  12. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    To follow an IF protocal how long do you need to go without eating to consider it fasting?

    Does it matter when the workout and fast take place?  Meaning is it better to start the fast right before you go to sleep at night and then workout the next day in the late afternoon/evening right and then eat until you sleep and start another fast?  Or can you break the fast after a morning workout and eat your food in the mornings/early afternoon then fast again?

    Sorry if all this has been covered in the various threads on IF but I can't seem to keep up with them all lately.
  13. pete69

    pete69 New Member

    Dan, did you include preworkout protein from whey or did you go into the workouts fasted. The reason I ask is that I felt great during a 10 day fast, where I worked out every other day and just drank an EAA drink. But remember reading some research brought up by Alan Aragon that markers of muscle catabolism (3-methylhistidine?) were elevated during a fasted workout. And Tiptons study of preworkout protein showed better muscle uptake and growth over postworkout.

    Did you notice any loss of LBM with your extended fasts? Whenever I did the warrior diet (on and off for the last 7 yrs), I never noticed a difference with one or several meals.

    Do you see any benefit with staying on a ketogenic state during an IF diet. I suspect it might be beneficial as most of the catabolism occurs during the transition into ketosis. Wouldn't it make sense to adapt to a ketogenic diet, then eat ketogenic meals postworkout ever 24-48 hours, in terms of sparing muscle tissue? Also, a ketogenic state might enhance some of the other benefits of fasting, such as BDNF.
  14. stingblood

    stingblood New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I have also tried the IF protocol with 16/8 or 24/24 for a year strength increased a little in every exercice but my muscle gains were limited, now I got back to the Anabolic diet and yes I am gaining a bit fat but much more muscle and I have even more strenght but anyway i think it's a very good was of loosing fat and for me it's easier than just decreasing calories linearly.

    Anywas I also wanted to ask you why the max-stimulation forum is no more working?[​IMG]

    I can't access it for noe 3 months and I sent an email to Dan but no answer received?

  15. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member


    stingblood: the max-stim forum is working again now for me but I couldn't get it to load for a month or so. Maybe it's a DNS issue or something?
  16. stingblood

    stingblood New Member

    the problem is that I can't see any post posted from march to's very if no post had been posted since begining of march....have I been banned?

  17. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Dan: Pete asked some very good questions I'd like to hear your thoughts on. I would like to see a chart/graph on the body from the beginning of a fast to a replenishment meal and the effects and timing of NB markers, insulin, ketones and so forth pertaining to bodybuilding. Someone should attempt to create a timeline so we can argue it until Hell freezes over, but I think it would be a very interesting thing to see, and useful.
    I mean, if I'm on a 16/8 - how close am I to a ketogenic state? If I knew that, I might alter my regimen to include such or not waste time with it. If my main concern was retaining mass, I would like to know my NB marker points, and so forth. You're the only guy I know who could probably pull this straight out of your hat.
  18. TunnelRat

    TunnelRat Active Member

    (quadancer @ May 02 2008,7:50)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">You're the only guy I know who could probably pull this straight out of your hat.</div>
    Or wherever... [​IMG]
  19. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    1. Max-Stim forum went nuts when they changed servers on me and I've decided not to bother with it. At some point in time (soon) it will disapear completely but the site itself will remain.

    2. Adressing Pete, no preworkout shake.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">3-methylhistidine</div>
    Interstitial 3MH is one marker of contractile protein degradation but unfortunately the 3MH elevation seen post resistance training is negligable so to rely on it as a measure of proteolysis following training is probably not the best measure.

    Most other papers have used urinary excretion of 3MH which is not a reliable measure so I'm not sure which paper Alan is referring too but he should use the studies looking at interstitial not urinary 3MH levels.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Did you notice any loss of LBM with your extended fasts? </div>
    Yes, of course there were lean mass changes but I believe the fat mass change far surpassed any LBM change. (unproven)

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Do you see any benefit with staying on a ketogenic state during an IF diet</div>Not at this time but I am still researching some things concerning what occurs post fast and what is possibly the best way to return to normal feeding patterns. This is one of the reasons the book is still not finished, I want to be sure there isn't any long term effects post fasting. Also I have to wonder what the difference truly is IOW when fasting for upwards of 48 hours we know when ketosis sets in (within reason) when that fast is broken briefly and then returning to a fasted state I have yet to see where it is difficult to return to ketogenic state. So would staying in ketogenic be anymore advantageous?


    Problem being there are none specifically looking at BBs. So at best we can only use the ones that exist for lean subjects which of course are under different stresses compared to a training BB.
  20. pete69

    pete69 New Member

    Thanx for the feedback Dan. The reason I ask is because as you know keto diets are mimicking fasting in many ways.

    Everything I've seen on fasting suggests the most catabolic effects of fasting/ketogenic diets occur during the initial phase. I believe this is mostly due to the fact that the body is not producing ketones and not adapted to using them, therefore glucose needs are still elevated especially for the brain. And the source of glucose, after hepatic stores become depleted are amino acids, specifially the BCAA's, glutamine and alanine.

    Direct measures show loss of aminos from forearm muscle during brief fasting, and some aminos come from the splanchnic bed, but haven't seen any hard numbers quantifying how much protein comes from muscle vs. other sources.

    But once adapted to ketosis (which as you know mimics starvation metabolism), glucose needs are down so fatty acids and ketones provide the majority of fuel, lowering need of gluconeogenic precursors from protein. Even though there is always a small need for glucose, it goes down as fasting/ketosis sets in.

    My concern is kicking yourself out of ketosis with carbs, switching the brain back to glucose and replacing some of the liver glycogen, while perhaps more anabolic, makes the transition back into ketosis during the next fasting bout more catabolic.

    Staying ketogenic, or perhaps doing some moderate level cardio to get back into ketosis, would keep the brain happy during fasting and feeding, as its getting a steady supply of ketones. And perhaps replace some dietary fat with MCT oil.

    Probably more sucky and less fun for the dieter, but perhaps better for the brain, mussels, and hunger control overall when intermittent fasting.

    Oh, and when eating keto meals, you can eat a surplus of calories and lose weight because calories don't matter when in ketosis, it's insulin and carbs, and those are an evil, deadly duo. [​IMG]

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