Fasted Workouts: Are They Beneficial for Everyone?

sport nutrition Aug 01, 2023

Fasted workouts are a popular topic these days. While there is some evidence showing they may be beneficial for athletes, there are also scenarios where they can hold you back. 

Research has shown that more fat is burned when you are exercising in a fasted state because you don’t have glucose abundantly available as an energy source. Utilizing fat can help with metabolic flexibility and the transition between fuel sources when you are working out. This is also beneficial for general blood sugar control because it boosts our insulin sensitivity. If you are an endurance athlete, both of these benefits could make a significant impact on your sport.

While these benefits might sound great, they are best used with low to moderate-intensity exercise. Walking or a light jog would be appropriate when in a fasted state. After a light cardio warm-up, it would be suggested to eat something before starting a weights or high-intensity session. If we try to complete a high-intensity workout or a strength training workout when fasted, it is going to significantly impair our ability to maintain a high work output and will in effect negatively impact the entire workout. 

When would fasted workouts be beneficial? 

  • During periods of your off-season training when you are working to improve metabolic efficiency. 

  • For promoting weight loss in the short term, but not a strategy to be used for more than a few weeks. 

  • Used with low to moderate-intensity cardio activities. 

When are fasted workouts not advised? 

  • If you have diabetes or other medical conditions, you should consult a physician before attempting to exercise in a fasted state. 

  • If you are trying to improve explosive capacity and reaching peak performance fasted workouts will hold you back. 

  • Studies show men receive a greater benefit than women. This doesn’t mean women can’t do fasted workouts, the benefits just might not be as significant. 

Reach out to the eNRG Performance Sport Dietitians HERE if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation to get your nutrition on the right path for your individual health and performance goals!


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