[0:00:58] About the Podcast
[0:02:11] Podcast Sponsors
[0:04:48] Fasting Challenge on January
[0:12:21] Busting the Myth of Snacking and Pre/Post-Workout Meals
[0:17:29] What Fasted Exercise Actually Is
[0:23:42] Podcast Sponsors
[0:27:06] The 10 Benefits of Fasted Exercise
[0:43:20] Practical Ways to Do Fasted Workouts
[0:49:11] A Few Cautions
[0:53:03] Difference Between Men and Women
[0:54:35] It Takes Time
[1:00:12] End of Podcast
Ben: I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Hey, what’s up? The episode that you’re about to hear is actually taken from a private event that I spoke at on stage in Las Vegas, Nevada recently called, “Live It To Lead It.” It was an event for chiropractic docs, physicians, physical therapists, nutritionists, et cetera, who wanted to build their business or learn more about some cutting-edge health concepts. And a big focus of this particular conference was fasting, the benefits of fasting, and the practical ins and outs of fasting.
I spoke on something I really haven’t spoken on much in the past but that I have studied up on quite a bit, and that would be how to combine fasting with an active lifestyle, how to combine fasting with exercise. So, in today’s podcast, you are getting full access to that talk in which I cover how to actually fast and do exercise, how to fast post-workout, how to fast pre-workout, when not to fast, things that help to support a fast, and the benefits of fasting even when you’re active. So, hopefully, you get a little bit out of today’s show.
Now, this show is actually brought to you by one of the best ways to support fasting and to enhance the benefits of fasting, and that would be the top weight loss and fat burning supplement that I have over at Kion, K-I-O-N. It’s called Kion Lean, Kion Lean. It’s 10% off right now and it is a support for the liver and also a support for converting white adipose to brown fat, metabolically active brown fat, and then also controlling your blood sugar levels. It just hits a whole host of parameters that support blood sugar management, weight loss. And again, it’s called Kion Lean.
So, you can grab that over at getkion.com. That’s getK-I-O-N.com. Very powerful fat loss supplement. I used that a lot before, in particular, something I’d talk about on today’s show called thermogenesis because when you do that and then you do cryotherapy or you do that and you eat carbs, those would be the two times to use Kion Lean to the best efficacy, you actually get a vastly improved response to carbohydrates and a better conversion of white fat into brown fat. So, very cool, kind of unique supplement, Kion Lean., getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com.
This podcast is also brought to you by Organifi. If you like to put strange things in powder form into blenders or cups or smoothies and drink those strange things to make your friends jealous of you that you can drink your salad rather than eating your salad like a cow, you’re not a freaking cow, you’re not a ruminant, so drink your salad. No, I’m just kidding. Eat your salad but also drink all your superfoods in one fell swoop with the best tasting green juice that I think exists. It got moringa and spirulina and coconut powder, all sorts of minerals, and it’s very, very good stuff and it tastes–well, it doesn’t taste like ass basically as you would expect a bunch of greens, the equivalent of like five salads in a can to taste. Actually, it tastes pretty dang good.
They do a red juice. They do a gold juice. They’re probably going to do a purple and a black juice, eventually. Maybe a bunch of juices fashioned after the color teams of popular NFL or NBA professional sports organizations. I don’t know. But right now, they got green, they got gold, they got red. All three are in my pantry. Check them out. It’s Organifi, spelled with an I, organifi.com, and the discount code that you can use is GREENFIELD. That’ll get you 20% off of any of their fine, fine fare. Organifi.com. Organifi with an I.
BTW, that means by the way, by the way. LOL means laughing out loud, BTW. Anyways though, I am actually leading a fasting challenge, a really nifty fasty challenge. Fasty challenge, nifty fasty. A nifty fasting challenge. It’s going to take place January 7th through January 11th. And what I’ve compiled is this free How to Fasting Guide. I’m going to be leading everybody on a five-day fast and it’s kind of like a version where I’ve put together different options for people who are familiar with fasting and who want to do this as a water day fast or a liquid fast or a very strict fast, I am including those options.
I also have written out options for people who want to do like a modified fast, more of like a fasting mimicking diet similar to Dr. Valter Longo’s protocol. But basically, we are getting as many people together as possible to fast who’ve never fasted before and you want a community, accountability, help, direction, et cetera, from me and the team at Kion, then that’s an option. And if you just freaking have never fasted before and you need to wrap your head around this and you’re scared of fasting and everything that’s involved with it, it’s perfect for you too.
So, if you go to the URL for the shownotes of this podcast over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastedexercise, that’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastedexercise, I’ll put a link to exactly where you can click to go download the free fasting guide that I’ve created. It’s actually a really good fasting guide. Even if you don’t want to do the fast with everybody from January 7th through 11th, it’s a good guide for you. But anyways, you can go download the guide for free and join the challenge if you want to join the challenge. So, again, it’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastedexercise is where you can get all the shownotes and also sign up for the free fasting challenge with Kion.
[0:06:50] Concept of Pre And Post-Workout Fasting
I’ve been thrown to the lions I feel like having to talk to a bunch of hungry people about how to exercise when you’re hungry. So, how many of you in here are fasting this morning, by the way? Of course, anyone who doesn’t have their hand raised now feels incredibly guilty that they put that stick of butter in their coffee this morning. But ultimately, what Dan has outlined to you was fantastic as far as the actual science of fasting. And I want to get into some of the practical nitty-gritty ways that you can benefit from the combination of exercise and fasting.
I went a little walk today out in the golf course. I like to take off my shoes and go outside in the sunshine and just get in touch with the planet when I’m traveling. And as I was walking, I thought, “Geez, we’re so blessed for me to be able to even get up and talk about this with as many people as are starving around the world who don’t have access to food and who are trying to conserve as much energy as possible by not exercising.” We’re actually talking about something completely different. We’re on a different level and we live in this blessed society where we’re affluent enough to, A, not eat when calories are present and deny that ancestral survival mechanism, and then B, not only do that but then go burn a bunch of calories that normally we’d want to conserve if we were trying to survive for as long as possible.
So, in a way, this is not a super ancestral tactic, exercise while fasting. But in a way, it actually is if you look at some of the historical examples and current examples of things like persistence hunting or going for long periods of time without food. When I personally go out on hunts, I forego the granola bars and the sodium chloride laden prepackaged meals. I try to plant forage or just go hungry and it’s amazing your sensory perception increases once you cross over into that ketogenic threshold you’re able to go for a longer period of time. You get far more desperate to actually get what you’re going after and it tastes a lot better to cook a backstrap over the fire when you haven’t eaten for two days. But ultimately, a lot of this stuff really does spark a little bit of that ancestral mechanism, and that’s why I think there are so many benefits to what I’m going to share with you today.
So, I actually got into all of this when I was a bodybuilder, got into this concept of pre and post-workout nutrition and how to time it. And of course, the prevailing thought pattern in the industry at that point was twofold; A, as soon as you drop the bar, you go stuff face so that you can recover, so that you can hit the magic post-workout window, the magic post-workout window where you have the Jamba Juice vendor right outside the health club and you got to stop in there and grab your shake. And if you don’t miss that magic post-workout window, you probably should have exercised at all because you’re not going to see any benefits.
And then, of course, the other thing was snack and graze. So, I’d show up to my office each day, because at that time I was a personal trainer and I’d have my yogurt and my broccoli and chicken and my energy bar and my other energy bar and my protein shake and my handful of seeds and nuts and raisins and I would just graze and snack all day long. And really, it wasn’t until I got into Ironman triathlon and endurance sports that I began to explore other options. And primarily for me, that was because I was testing my own blood and biomarkers at that point. I was noting issues such as pre-type 2 diabetes, rampant insulin levels, rampant glucose levels. My CRP was through the roof. I was healthy on the outside but I was unhealthy on the inside.
And so, I remember it was 2013 when I first began to look into this thing called ketosis. And not a lot of people were really talking about ketosis at that point. There weren’t all these fancy keto supplements and keto summits and keto bars and keto oatmeal and keto cookies that taste like cardboard, by the way. But I wanted to figure out if there is a way that I could do something like an Ironman triathlon and not eat the 400-ish calories of carbohydrates that most of my peers were consuming at the time. So, I began to look into, although things like ketone salts and ketone esters weren’t really a thing at that point or commercially available, I began to look into things like MCT oils or different forms of caprylic acid. I began to look into amino acids. I began to look into electrolytes, a lot of these things that could help to sustain the body during exercise without many carbohydrates on-board.
And I started to tap into the minds of some of these people who were in the industry at that point. I remember when I bonked during Ironman Canada with my first foray into ketosis, I called Dr. Peter Attia and he exposed me to the society of taking amino acid so that while you’re exercising, you can stave off a blood glucose response but still not bonk because the amino acids compete for tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier and keep you from getting sleepy during exercise. A lot of people think they run out of carbohydrate during exercise, they actually run out of amino acids.
There was this other guy, this shy little researcher in the corner of–I think it was the Ancestral Health Symposium and nobody knew him and his name was Dominic D’Agostino and he had this little poster presentation of these ketones he was studying up on in rats. And now of course, he’s the forefront of the keto movement, but he turned me on to this idea of using some of these caprylic acids and MCTS and some of these things that were available before the advent of ketones.
So, that was how I started to get into this idea of some of the things I’m going to talk about in the presentation today, like the myth of pre and post-workout nutrition and some of the alternatives to stuffing our face with carbohydrates to support exercise, even long periods of exercise. And when I began to experiment with a lot of these things, a lot of my blood and biomarkers began to normalize. No more high blood glucose levels. No more high insulin levels. My testosterone went up. My CRP went down. I witnessed a lot of things happen that showed me that these are things that you can do, and as a matter of fact, you can actually gain muscle or maintain muscle if that’s your goal when exercising in a fasted state due to some of the growth hormone responses that I’m going to tell you about today.
Now, just a little bit about me. I live at home in Washington State with my wife and twin boys. My wife does a lot of cooking demos and ancestral food preparation. I like to tell people I spend my life with one foot in the realm of ancestral science and one foot in the realm of modern biohacking. I’m not close to the idea of a lot of these supplements like ketone salts and ketone esters, a lot these biohacks out there like photobiomodulation, but I really like to look to what our ancestors would have done as well. I try to combine both of those things in my practice, in the supplements that I formulate for my company Kion and the work that I do.
I like to encourage people to forgo all these crazy supplements and biohacks and everything until they are earthing and grounding, getting a lot of mineral-rich water that’s pure and getting out in the sunlight. If you can start with those three things, then just about every other concept is just the icing on the cake. So, it’s earthing, grounding, getting outside, mineral-rich water and sunlight, start there. If there’s anywhere that you can start to start to optimize your health, that’s the key.
So, Kion, I mentioned it’s just a company that I run where I formulate supplements. And if you want to learn more about that, you can go to getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com. Also as I alluded to on the opening for this slide, if you go to Live At One Eight, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/liveatoneeight for those of you propeller hat wearing nerds in the audience who want to take a deeper dive into the research, et cetera, I’ve got all the research studies and places where you can take a deeper dive there on that page.
So, let’s begin here. Before I jump into 10 of the benefits of fasting, the myth that you need to snack throughout the day and eat a pre and post-workout meal. Now, this of course was the prevailing opinion for a very long period of time. But when you look at a lot of these studies that are telling you that you need to drop everything to go have your maltodextrin, fructose, weight protein shake within 20 minutes after you finished your workout, there are specific things that play in a lot of these studies that people aren’t aware of.
For example, the studies that show this to be beneficial show it only to be beneficial for maintaining anabolism after an 8 to 12-hour overnight fast. Meaning that the only reason that you would benefit from eating after workout would be if you, say, wake up after an overnight fast and you haven’t eaten for 8 to 12 hours you’ve worked out, that would be the time where eating could be beneficial from hormonal, from a post-workout protein synthesis standpoint. But it’s very seldom that a lot of people, especially in the fitness industry, are getting up fasted in the morning, working out, and then moving onto their meal.
Usually, there’s a pre-workout supplement. Usually, there’s a breakfast. Usually, there are fats in the coffee. All of those things would blunt a lot of the benefits that I’m going to show you later on. But that’s one thing is that a lot of these studies that showed the benefit of post-workout nutrition, they were done in people who were working out after an 8 to 12-hour overnight fast and then eating. So, lesson number one is that that post-workout nutrition importance vastly decreases if you haven’t been fasting leading into the workout, meaning if you’re working out at 4:00 p.m. and you had lunch at noon or you’re working out at 10:00 a.m. and you had breakfast at 8:00 a.m.
The other thing that these studies show is that the only benefit that you get from a performance standpoint to eating after workout would be if you are going to work out again within eight hours. How many of you have children who compete in sports or maybe weekend volleyball tournaments or tennis tournaments, water polo matches, any of this kind of events where like a child, for example, and in many cases, a professional athlete has two days, three days, multiple competitions during a tournament, et cetera? In those situations, post-workout nutrition and eating become paramount. Hitting that post-workout window and preferably getting it as close to 20 minutes becomes paramount because if you are exercising again within eight hours after the workout or the exercise or the competition that you’ve just done, then that becomes necessary to actually eat that much to refill those stores and get the hormonal response and the recovery response to eating post-exercise.
Now, if you simply eat ad libitum according to appetite following a basic meal plan or even following this one a day meal plan doesn’t matter, what happens is after 24 hours, the body naturally restores all of its glycogen levels and it’s just fine for the next day’s work out. So, again, the only two scenarios in which eating after a workout has been shown to be beneficial would be, A, if you’ve been fasting for 8 to 12 hours and then you work out, eating a post-workout meal at that point will be beneficial and it appears based on literature and women’s hormones especially that that’s even more paramount for women. And then, the second scenario in which you would want to prioritize eating after workout would be if you are going to work out again within 8 hours or you’re a professional athlete in a tournament or doing like a two a day or something like that.
Those are really the only two scenarios. Everything else when it comes to this pre and post-workout nutrition, there’s no reason to do it. And especially when it comes to pre-workout nutrition, if you’ve eaten prior to a workout, like let’s say you’ve had breakfast at 7:00 and you’re working out at 9:00 or you’ve had lunch at 1:00 and you’re working out at 4:00, your blood levels of amino acids, your glycogen availability and all the substrates necessary for exercise are still in your bloodstream. I mean, there is no reason to go eat the post-workout nutrition bar when you’re still burping up your pre-workout nutrition bar. And I wish more people in the fitness industry knew this.
The only caveat to this is I’ve worked with a lot of, for example, like high school football players, some athletes who need to put on mass, who need to put on weight. I break all the rules in that scenario, all the rules. Yes, you can maintain muscle mass and you can build muscle if you’re fasting due to the growth hormone response that we’ll talk about, but when your number one pure goal is muscle mass, which admittedly flies in the face of longevity but there are certain people who need to put on muscle for making the varsity squad, for example. In those individuals, I have them eating six to eight times per day, and often it’s 6,000 to 8,000 calories per day. I mean, it’s a lot of food but that’s a very unique scenario and most people–well, I don’t know. How many of you in here would prioritize health and longevity over muscle mass and pure performance?
Yeah. I used to be someone who wouldn’t have had my hand raised. I was just, “Yeah. I want to get out there and crush it and perform and build as much muscle as possible.” I no longer feel that way. I mean, you just feel so much better when you live in this more natural way rather than just basically operating based on performance and vanity.
So, what we’re going to go over today before we get into the 10 benefits of fasted exercise is what fasted exercise actually is. I mean, when you look at a lot of these studies, you already know what fasted exercise is. So, first of all, it would be exercising in a state of glycogen depletion. So, after about an 8 to 12-hour overnight fast, your liver is emptied primarily of its glycogen stores. The liver can store about 300 to 400 calories or so of glycogen. So, after you fasted overnight, you’re going to begin tapping into muscle glycogen. And when that happens, some of these protein repair mechanisms, growth hormone responses and testosterone responses, begin to kick in.
Now, you still see some of those benefits even if you fasted for four to five hours. So, this would be a scenario in which you’ve had lunch and you’re going to go work out before dinner. And this is often my case. This is exactly what I do. So, my scenario, my exercise scenario is I begin an intermittent fast of 12 to 16 hours each day. So, if I finished dinner, let’s say around 8:00 p.m., then I won’t eat again until at least 8:00 a.m. and I’m typically eating closer to about 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
At some point during that window of time, I’m doing something easy like the barefoot walk out in the golf course that I did this morning, a swim, a sauna session, something like that, like easy fasted exercise in the morning, primarily because you have a natural cortisol release in the morning. It’s not necessarily beneficial to activate your sympathetic nervous system and go to a CrossFit WOD or a very difficult workout versus something a little bit easier. You run into things that we’ll talk about later like post-workout, caloric hyper-compensation and a little bit more of a temptation to be sedentary, and a lot of these issues we see when you work out hard in the morning.
Whereas when you work out easy in the morning and save your hard work out for the afternoon or the early evening, when body temperature peaks and grip strength peaks and post-workout protein synthesis peaks, all these things happen to make a hard workout later on in the afternoon better. It’s a very beautiful scenario. Easy something in the morning, hard something in the evening, and this doesn’t count as a scenario that would fit into that like two a day scenario where you’d want to prioritize eating right after that morning fasted exercise because you’re going to be working out hard again within eight hours. I don’t count that morning fasted easy exercise session as a formal exercise per session, session per se as much as just moving.
So, the idea is that this means if you’re going to exercise hard in the afternoon or the early evening, you would not eat prior to that exercise session. So, you would be fasted from lunch all the way up to a hard workout session in the afternoon or the early evening. And in an ideal scenario, you would also be fasted overnight and then you would do something easy in the morning. Now, there are a lot of different ways that you can kind of work around that scenario if you’re somebody who can only work out in the morning then you just fast overnight and then work out in the morning. But the idea is you’re fasted for about 8 to 12 hours, and then you do eat after the actual workout, but it doesn’t need to be immediately after the workout.
And there are some benefits especially if you are–if you’ve eaten within the past several hours and it’s not that overnight fast, there are some benefits to actually waiting for one to two hours until insulin has subsided from that workout that you’ve done for you to eat again. And I’ll get into some of that in a second. But ultimately, that’s my scenario, is an 8 to 12-hour overnight fast and then usually something done in the later afternoon to the early evening when the body is very primed for heart exercise. And in that scenario, I’ve still fasted since lunch, with lunch usually being about 1:00 or 2:00 p.m.
Well, hello. I want to interrupt today’s show to talk to you about manscaping–now shaving. I have a lot of friends who manscape and it’s not something–so I manscape but not as often as some of these cats. I mean, they keep things really, really clean, well-shaving down there. But let’s say you’re normal and you just want to shave your face and you want the hair on your face to come off as though you have put masking tape or duct tape on your cheeks and then rip that duct tape off and your cheeks are just clean as a whistle but maybe bleeding and you’re full of pain and you’re screaming. You don’t have to do that. You can instead shave with the best razor that I own. You don’t have to use my razor. You kind of get your own. This is a five-blade razor with a lubricating strip and a trimmer blade. I mean, hair–it’s like magic.
Get a little warm water on your face and you run this blade down your face. You don’t even feel like shaving and it works. It has a weighted ergonomic handle so you don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome from shaving. They have a rich lathering shave gel that’s not full of like parabens and phthalates and nasty chemicals for your face. They have a travel blade cover. They’re called Harry’s, H-A-R-R-Y-S. What they do is they make super high-end shaving gear but at about 50% the price of all the other leading brands because they cut out the middleman and they send these bad boys straight to you. You’re not going to find these things at a drugstore. Now you’re going to find them in your mailbox. When you go to harrys.com/greenfield, H-A-R-R-Y-S.com/greenfield, they’ve got a very cool trial offer. You get a $13 value trial set and you can redeem that over at harrys.com, H-A-R-R-Y-S.com.
So, that trial offer includes their weighted ergonomic handle, their five-blade razor, their rich lathering shave gel and their travel blade cover. Boom. There you have it. I should have read the commercials from Micro Machines. Remember Micro Machines? No, you don’t, probably. I don’t know. You might, but if you’re old like me. Anyways, harrys.com/greenfield.
This podcast is also brought to you by the best way–speaking of manscaping, the best bedroom bio hack for men who are hunting down a one sexual performance. Whatever the one sexual performance is for you, whether it’s a longer orgasm or a harder erection or more blood flow to your penis or anything else that you want when it comes to biohacking the ultimate sexual experience, it’s very simple. It takes 20 minutes out of your life once a month. You venture into one of the 80 plus clinics that these folks have all over the U.S.
They blast your crotch with painless acoustic sound waves again for about 20 minutes. You walk out. Within a few hours, holy hell, you are getting it up like a 16-year-old boy boing. Done. It works. It’s called GAINSwave, GAINSwave. And they’re going to give you a free treatment. So, you get six treatments, they’ll throw in one on the house. You 12 treatments, you get the 13th for free. How you do that is you go to gainswave.com/ben. That’s gainswave.com/ben that’ll automatically help you find a provider near you.
Let’s go ahead and go over these 10 benefits of fasted exercise. So, the first is burning more fat, and a lot of these are going to be pretty intuitive for you based on Dan’s presentation. What they found is that for 24 hours, for 24 hours following a fasted morning exercise session, and in this case it was a fasted aerobic morning exercise session, meaning we’re only talking like 30 to 45 minutes of hiking or walking or swimming or yoga or even sauna to the cold pool, anything like that that gets the blood flowing, we see increased fat oxidation rates for 24 hours following that type of fasted workout. And in this case, this was fasted in the morning before breakfast.
There’s actually a great book called Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life. It’s kind of like an Ayurvedic medicine book and it goes into this idea of some of the most important things that you can do would be to do some type of movement, beef in the morning before breakfast and then to have your biggest meal of the day, be lunch, and then the final one was to just basically be outdoors as much as possible and get exposure to sunlight during the day. But ultimately, this idea of increased beta-oxidation, increased fat-oxidation for 24 hours post-exercise is one of the benefits that we see if the exercise is done in the morning before breakfast. And again, it can be easy. This does not have to be like a soul-crushing hard work out.
The next benefit is an anti-aging effect. Now, one of the reasons for this is because two of the things that are responsible for shutting down some of the oxidation pathways related to aging or glutathione and superoxide dismutase, we see an increase in both of these antioxidants when exercise is done in a fasted state. Again, this is that scenario where there’s an overnight fast of 8 to 12 hours then an exercise session. And after that, you can still eat, but the important thing is that the exercise session be done in a fasted state after 8 to 12 hours to get that up-regulation of some of these antioxidant pathways that have a direct anti-aging effect.
Now, Dan alluded to some of the stem cell benefits of fasting as well, and of course, that’s also a key benefit is the up-regulation of this stem cell production or stem cell proliferation. So, the anti-aging effect is another one. Better brain function, there are two different proteins, one that you’re probably familiar with; BDNF, Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor. This one goes way up when you do a fasted exercise session. I mean, it’s amplified with aerobic training more than strength training, simply because when you strength train a little bit more, the BDNF stays at the muscular level, less travels and gets to the brain for the brain effects.
But ultimately, both aerobic exercise and to a lesser extent weight training will increase BDNF, but doing it in a fasted state amplifies the effect even more. This is why if I have a cognitively demanding day or I have to go talk to a bunch of hungry people at a conference about fasting, I’ll go out and do some kind of like easy walk or easy session or easy something in the morning because you get that amplification of BDNF.
There are other ways that we could increase BDNF, right? Like examples would be the sauna. We know heat exposure increases BDNF. Lion’s mane extract is another one. There’s a lot of research that’s hot on the presses right now about psilocybin and psychedelics for increasing BDNF. A lot of different ways to do it but aerobic exercise in a fasted state really amplifies BDNF. So, that’s another one that we see in literature.
Increased growth hormone levels, this one I get a lot of questions about. I didn’t even really look into this or realize it. I always thought this was still just like leftover relics from my bodybuilding days that you had to eat after workout to get that anabolic growth hormone, testosterone response. But it turns out that one of the key mechanisms for preserving proteins and for enhancing muscle fiber and repair via better protein synthesis is growth hormone. And our bodies have this natural ancestral built-in mechanism that when we don’t have enough calories on-board but yet we still need to maintain muscle, one of the best ways to do that is to increase growth hormone production; and to a lesser extent, when the fasted exercise is done in moderation and not overdone, an increase in testosterone as well.
Now, this would be the case where for example, you’ve had lunch, you go out and you do a late afternoon or an early evening exercise session and then you wait about one to two hours to eat dinner, and this is my practice most days. Now, the reasoning behind waiting about one to two hours to get that growth hormone or testosterone response is because the lower the insulin levels are, the better that that’s going to happen. And when you work out, you get a natural rise in insulin. It takes about one to two hours for that natural rise in insulin to diminish.
So, when people say, “Well, how long should I wait after a fasted workout to eat?” If you’ve eaten in the past four to five hours like you’ve had lunch and it’s an afternoon, early evening session, you’d wait about one to two hours. If you’ve already fasted overnight, you’ve done an 8 to 12-hour overnight fast and you’ve done that morning exercise session, you can actually still see a growth hormone response if you have a breakfast right after or in the hour after that morning exercise session.
So, it depends how long you’ve been fasting going into the exercise session. But ultimately, the growth hormone and the testosterone response are there to actually maintain and preserve muscle. And very similar to how you see an up-regulation, I’ll talk about this when I talk about the performance effects, very similar to how you can see an up-regulation in endurance performance because the body gets better at sparing glucose, at sparing glycogen, it up-regulates this enzyme called glycogen synthase when you exercise. The same thing happens with growth hormone and testosterone, you up-regulate the sensitivity of the receptors that interact with growth hormone and testosterone.
And this is why many of my friends who have done like these three and five day-fasts or FMD, similar to Valter Longo’s protocol, once they’ve start lifting and exercising and eating a little bit more after they’ve done that three to five day-fast, they note a remarkable increase in muscle mass and muscle gain from doing that. So, this is also something that you can put at several points throughout the year, these three to five-day fast, which when you finish them and you start lifting again, you get an increased growth hormone and testosterone sensitivity, better muscle mass, better muscle maintenance. So, it’s a very cool trick for growth hormone and testosterone.
Improved insulin sensitivity, this one really is kind of a no-brainer. The key though, especially with that afternoon/evening exercise, would be to wait until insulin has dropped off a little bit after the workout. So, yet again, it’s not just fasted exercise, it’s waiting after the exercise for one to two hours if you’ve eaten about four to five hours prior to the workout. For the morning exercise, we still see increased insulin sensitivity even when breakfast is eaten right after the workout, meaning sitting down to a smoothie 20 minutes after your workout, provided that that workout’s done after fasting for 8 to 12 hours. So, increase in insulin sensitivity is another big one and that doesn’t take a lot of people by surprise.
Increased testosterone, I talked about this but the one thing that you need to be careful with, and this is more so especially in lean active women who require testosterone quite significantly as do men of course, the issue is that when you overdo fasted exercise or you do extremely glycogen depleting exercise sessions in a completely fasted especially an overnight state, you can tend to see a drop in hormone production. Basically, it’s another one of those ancestral mechanisms where nature doesn’t want starved people who are hungry and running from lions to make babies. That’s not a very sustainable scenario in which to bring new people into the world to get eaten by the lions and chased and not have food. So, we down-regulate a lot of these hormones responsible for fertility.
So, the trick is if you’re going to do harder workout sessions and you’re going to do those in a fasted state, then ideally, you would save them for the afternoon or the early evening. So, you haven’t been fasting for 8 to 12 hours. Or you do them in the morning but you do make sure to prioritize a post-workout meal. I see over and over again in the people who will do like a hard morning workout but then not eat a drop in those hormones, or in the people who just basically are working out too much and not eating enough. You see the same thing.
But ultimately, the scenario here is if you get up in the morning, and this is especially important to tell your female clients or patients or you yourself, if you get up in the morning and your only time to do a hard exercise session is in the morning and you’ve been fasting for 8 to 12 hours, if you are male, you would actually be able to get through that pretty well but you’d want to prioritize your post-workout nutrition. And in women, I’ll even have them do something like a smaller workout snack after they’ve been fasting, but this would be something that’s non-insulinogenic like you take 20 grams of amino acids or you take a little bit of MCT oil or something like that.
That’s only if it’s going to be a really hard workout though like an hour-long strength training workout, a CrossFit WOD, something like that, not the easy morning movement that I was talking about. But you do see an increase in testosterone when fasted workouts are done in moderation, and it’s not like a crazy soul-crushing workout in which you’re starved before and you’re starving yourself after.
Enhanced fat loss, that’s another one that of course is related to the beta-oxidation that we see. You see an up-regulation in adiponectin, a lot of these enzymes responsible for mobilizing fatty acids from fat tissue. Again, that one is kind of a no-brainer but it’s another thing that we see right off the bat is better fat loss due to directly an increased ability to be able to mobilize fatty acids from adipose tissue. What I like about this is you can amplify this response even more. And this is a little trick. If you combine fasted exercise with cold, because when you already have these enzymes in your system, you can also up-regulate the conversion of white fat into metabolically active brown fat.
And so, a perfect scenario for this would be you wake up overnight in a fasted state, you’ve been fasting for eight to 12 hours, you do that easy morning exercise session like a walk and then you finish with a five-minute cold shower or a quick dip into a cold plunge or a cryotherapy session or jumping into an icy river or lake or sea, that up-regulates that fat enzyme conversion even more.
So, I really like the scenario of waking up fasted, doing something easy, and then finishing with the cold. That’s how I help a lot of people lose a lot of weight in a sustainable way without feeling like they have to roll out of bed and do something hard every morning. Typically, it’s sustainable for most people to ease themselves into a cold shower after an easy 30-minute walk in the sunshine and they haven’t eaten for 8 to 12 hours. It’s a very simple, sustainable scenario for a lot of people and it works really well.
Better endurance. I alluded to this and that glycogen synthase enzyme but there are some really fascinating studies that they’ve done in athletes called a Train Low Race High or Train Low Compete High. And what they found is that when you take endurance athletes and have them train in a carbohydrate-depleted state, you actually up-regulate some of these enzymes such as glycogen synthase, for example, which is responsible for taking glucose and converting it into storage glycogen, like muscle glycogen in the body.
You also see better glucose-sparing, better use of fatty acids during exercise, and a lower throughput of glucose or a less steep exhaustion of glycogen stores during exercise. So, what this means is that for example, for an endurance athlete, someone who’s going to do a triathlon or a marathon or a swimming race or anything like that, by going through a carbohydrate depletion state or carbohydrate depleted training over and over again–and in some of the studies, these were actually studies where they would fast them overnight. They’d go out do a hard endurance session, come back and then they’d have their breakfast. Basically, that kind of training in a depleted state, in some studies, they would train at night, not eat carbs, sleep overnight then train again. Some of these studies are pretty rigorous.
What they found was that once these people got carbohydrates before exercise or during exercise, they use them far more efficiently. So, this is something that can be used as almost like a hack to increase endurance as well. The key is that for someone like an Ironman triathlete, and this is what I’ll have my athletes do, is they’ll follow a relatively ketotic low carbohydrate diet as long as they don’t have familial hypercholesterolemia or some PPAR gene issue or an inflammatory response to a ketogenic diet, a very small number of people do. But ultimately, if they don’t fall into that category, I’ll keep them relatively ketotic for all the way going into the race until just a few days before the race and then we’ll start to get more sweet potatoes and yams and white rice and some of these safe starches and healthy carbs. The body soaks that up and the performance goes through the roof but it requires a carbohydrate depletion phase beforehand.
It’s very similar to this idea especially for active people of doing like a weekly refeed or in very active people sometimes a nightly refeed where you actually eat carbohydrates ad libitum but only at specific portions during the week or at specific stages during the week. And that will depend on your level of physical activity, like a lot of folks who just live a normal non-athletic sane life, they’ll do like a weekly refeed. A lot of the people I work with who are bodybuilders or pro-athletes, they’ll literally do like a nightly refeed on carbohydrates where you have 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrate at night, then you do an intermittent fast, you don’t eat carbohydrates all day long and then you rinse, wash and repeat at the end of the day, again with good healthy carbohydrates. So, that’s another very, very cool effect that actually was only elucidated in the past several years.
More stable gut during exercise. Again, like BDNF, there’s a lot of ways to stabilize the gut during exercise. I’m a huge fan of, for example, colostrum. I like L-glutamine. I like bone broth. There are a lot of things that you can do to coat the lining of the stomach and keep the gut less permeable especially during exercise. Anytime you exercise, and especially when you exercise in the heat, what happens is you get increased gut permeability. That cannot only lead to passage of undigested food matter and larger proteins from the digestive tract into the bloodstream but it can also lead to gastric distress.
So, the idea here is that you can minimize a lot of that by simply not eating before exercise or consuming things that don’t need to be digested or pre-digested. This is why I’m a fan of amino acids. This is why I’m a fan of MCT oils which can largely bypass a lot of the digestive process to be converted directly into triglycerides. This is why I’m a fan of electrolytes, which I’ll talk about momentarily. But a lot of things that don’t need to be digested could be taken prior to a harder or a longer fasted workout, but anything that requires digestion; protein, carbohydrates, traditional fats, et cetera, you just get a more stable gut during exercise and you’ll find a lot of people simply exercise better when they exercise in a fasted state.
Hunger management. You definitely see when you have people who are hungry, who have appetite cravings, carbohydrate cravings, et cetera, one of the best ways to actually get rid of those cravings is to go for a walk or go exercise. You actually see a blunting of the hormone ghrelin. You see an increase in the hormone leptin. So, the two hormones responsible for stabilizing appetite become more regulated as soon as you start exercising. And this is something I’ll tell a lot of people that get a lot of cravings. I’ll tell them, A, are you hydrating? Drink water. See if you’re still hungry. And B, go for a walk and see if you’re still hungry. These are two very potent ways to stabilize the appetite.
Again, these are all very simple and straightforward and understandable, but the idea is that it’s a very, very potent way to manage hunger as well. Now, of course, the only caveat I would put in there is you need to be careful with the post-workout, caloric hyper-compensation, like doing the fasted morning workout, slapping yourself on the back that you did it, and then heading to Denny’s for the stack of pancakes or making your smoothie twice as big because you exercise in a fasted state. Those are the kind of things that you do need to be careful with.
Okay. So, how do we actually do it? What are some of the practical ways to do this? The first–and these are going to go pretty quickly because I explained a lot of this to you already. One is to exercise before breakfast. And I will allow time for questions too when I finish. So, if you guys have questions and you want to explore some of this a little bit more, that’s fine. But exercising before breakfast; one question I do get is, if you exercise before breakfast, does this mean that you need to include carbohydrates with breakfast?
This would only be the case where again, you’re one of those like pro-athletes or the two-a-day people who are going to exercise again within eight hours. In that case, you would include carbohydrates with breakfast. But in most cases, you can wait all the way until the end of the day because that end of the day carbohydrate refeed will restore the glycogen levels, restore the carbohydrate levels so that you can get up the next day and workout hard just fine without necessarily eating carbohydrates after breakfast.
But one way to do it, the easiest way to do it, I think this is the best way to get people started is exercise before breakfast, easy walk in the sunshine, finish with a little bit of cold and then go have your breakfast. It’s a very simple entry-level way for people to get into this. I already talked about this, wait after afternoon or early evening exercise. What this means is that you have lunch, whenever you’re going to have lunch, then you do preferably your harder workout session in the afternoon or the early evening, then you wait one to two hours to eat.
So, in my personal scenario, we actually wait in our households slightly longer than what I think is healthy to eat dinner. The reason for that is because I’m a big fan of family dinners and our entire family being able to gather at the end of the day and chat about our day and share our gratitude journals and talk about, well how the kids enjoy the day at school. We take out games and cards and Table Topics cards and we have an amazing family dinner. But the only way that that happens is we have to wait until the kids are done with jiu-jitsu and tennis and mom and I are done with all of our tasks and she’s done being the show for and I’ve gotten everything out of the way. So, we often eat dinner at 8:00 or 8:30 p.m.
Ideally, from a metabolic standpoint and a circadian rhythmicity standpoint, you can read about these concepts. For example, Dr. Satchin Panda’s new book, “The Circadian Code.” You should have most of your hard exercise and you should have most of your eating done by about three hours prior to bedtime, okay? But I break those rules in our house regarding the dinner simply because for me, the pros of having the family all eat together outweigh any metabolic cons of me going to bed an hour after dinner.
But anyways, the idea is you would wait until the afternoon or the early evening to exercise. So, I’ll have lunch around 1:30. I’ll work out around 5:00 or 6:00. And then, I’ll get some work done, play with the kids, et cetera, and we’re usually eating dinner around 8:00 or 8:30. So, that’s typically the way that we do it in our house, but there are a few different ways you can skin that cat but ultimately, you wait one to two hours after your afternoon or early evening exercise to eat dinner.
The next one is to use supplements. I talked about amino acids already. That’s a really good one. Another one are these ketone salts or ketone esters. Yes, they are almost like a–I mean, if you look at macronutrients, we talked about carbohydrates, protein and fat but really there’s five. There are carbohydrates, protein, fat, alcohol and ketones. They’re all burnt in very different ways so I would classify this as having five different macronutrients. Now, ketones do contain some amount of calories but they can actually amplify some of the anti-inflammatory and longevity benefits of fasted exercise.
So, I’m not opposed to, especially for very active people who aren’t necessarily trying to restrict calories as much as get a lot of the benefits of fasting, I’m not opposed to those people actually doing something like ketone salts or ketone esters prior to exercise. I’ll do this quite often. The two I’m holding there, essential amino acids and some form of the ketone ester ketone salt. I find that I can exercise in a fasted state and even do a harder exercise session in a fasted state, and it’s like rocket fuel.
Another one; and this is especially important because as the body dumps glycogen, as the body loses storage carbohydrate, you tend to lose minerals along with that. And anyone in the ketotic state also needs higher levels of potassium. And so, the use of electrolytes I think is very important as well, and that could be anything from–there’s a lot of options out there, like I have the trace liquid minerals made by AquaTru, I’ve got a Quicksilver Scientific’s hypertonic solution called Quinton, which is almost like seawater. I use a lot of Celtic sea salt. I’ll use like the Nuun effervescent electrolyte tablets.
But for me for a lot of those fasted sessions, and just on a daily basis because I stay in a relatively ketogenic state, I find that electrolytes tend to work really well also. And then, there are some things that can amplify the benefits of being in a fasted state, like an increased fatty acid utilization when you exercise while fasted. We’re talking about things like coffee. Green tea is another fantastic one. I get some questions about these so-called exercise mimetics like berberine or bitter melon extract or Metformin-like derivatives.
I’m not a fan of those. A lot of people have asked me about combining those with exercise. Usually, the hypoglycemic response to those is so profound you get dizzy and tired during exercise. So, I’m not a fan of those but some of these other supplements that are relatively low in calories but don’t have an insulinogenic response like amino acids, like ketones, like electrolytes, those are all very useful to have in your pocket especially for harder fasted workouts. Like if you started to do this afternoon or early evening hard workout scenario and you find yourself dizzy or low on energy, you’re just too hungry afterwards, sometimes just having lunch and let’s say you’re going work out at 5:00 and just doing a little bit of ketones, a little bit of amino acids before that afternoon or early evening workout, especially if it’s going to be harder, that can help out. I find especially for leaner people, that works.
Okay. So, a few cautions here. One would be bonking, and I already alluded to this. Of course you can, if you’re working out for a long period of time, completely run out of liver glycogen and muscle glycogen. And very few people, for example, in this crowd that I’m speaking to now are like professional Ironman triathletes or professional athletes, sometimes a lecture in front of pro-teams and stuff, and I have to warn guys, “Don’t overdo this or you’re going to run out of glycogen.” But what I find in many cases in the general population who’s well-fed and not overly active, a drop in blood levels of amino acids and the subsequent central nervous system fatigue that occurs when that happens is the number one reason that a bonk happens.
And so, if you find yourself super hungry during a workout and you’re like, “Man, I ate carbs last night. I’m not too calorically depleted. I’m in this fasted workout and I’m super-duper lightheaded and sluggish,” you may want to look into whether or not that’s just tryptophan crossing the blood-brain barrier and making you excessively sleepy, in which case you can use amino acids to actually stave that off. So, that’s one thing that you can do. But then if you’re very active, you want to be aware that your carbohydrate needs and the importance of that carbohydrate refeed in the evening if you’re doing a lot of these fasted sessions becomes very important.
Next is decreased intensity. So, here’s the deal. They’ve found that folks who exercise in a fasted state who are doing low-level aerobic endurance or who are doing powerlifting in very quick like 10 to 30-second efforts, they do just fine. And in a ketotic state or a fasted state, there’s not that much of a loss of performance because the aerobic exercise uses mostly fatty acids as a fuel. And those short 10 to 30-second hardcore efforts, those primarily use creatine phosphate as a fuel. But then once you start to get into like CrossFit workouts longer, like two-minute row sessions, a lot of these metabolic interval training sessions, spin classes, things that require you to be at an elevated level of intensity for two minutes or longer, that’s where you start to see a decreased intensity.
So, if I’m working with like a powerlifter or someone who’s just creating very short bursts of energy that are under 30 seconds, I’m not worried about that person losing intensity in a fasted state, neither am I worried about an endurance athlete not being able to train aerobically in a fasted state. But people who are doing like two, three, four-minute intervals, things that cause the body to actually burn areas where we create a lot of lactic acid, that’s where the loss of glycogen and the decreased glycogen availability from working out in a fasted state can decrease intensity and decrease performance. So, that’s a population or workout scenario in which you’d want to be a little bit more careful. So, decreased intensity with a caveat depends on the actual scenario.
Post-workout caloric hyper-compensation or face stuffing. Those are the two things I see like people who do a hard workout in the morning because I fall into the same category. You’re tempted to eat more for breakfast if you don’t actually just be mindful and realize that you’re going to be hungry. I mean, for me that’s part of it because I just tell myself when I finish anything that’s hard including that afternoon or early evening hard work out, “Hey, you’re going to be hungry and that’s okay. You’re going to have a little bit of a growth hormone and a testosterone response, the pros outweigh the cons. But that’s one thing. It’s post-workout caloric hyper-compensation then also just sedentary. You worked out hard in the morning so you justify sitting for two or three hours during the day at work because your legs are sore from the squats or whatever. But those are two things to be cautious with. And post-workout caloric hyper-compensation is just something to keep an eye on and people who are doing fasted workouts because I tend to see that pop up over and over again. By the end of the day, they’ve eaten more calories and they normally would have.
And granted, Dan made a good point. Part of the magic of fasting is not the caloric depletion. It is the compressed feeding window. You could make an argument that, “Yeah. Well, if you are going to post-workout calorically hyper-compensate, it’s going to be breakfast.” Well, maybe you’re going to have breakfast, you’re not going to eat again until dinner if you just decide you’re going to have this big-ass meal after a morning workout. So, it really depends. But ultimately, you need to be aware of post-workout caloric hyper-compensation.
And then, men versus women, there is a little bit of a difference there. It’s really interesting. I didn’t want to neglect pointing this out to you but in the studies that have been done on men versus women and fasted exercise, what they found is that women who eat before exercise but then don’t eat after exercise tend to burn more fat for a longer period of time compared to the opposite scenario. And men are completely the opposite. Men who fast before exercise then don’t eat after exercise tend to burn more fat.
And it’s related to how women versus men–women tend to be more efficient at burning fat as a fuel. And so, when they’re given a little bit of carbohydrates before a workout, they eat a little bit of carbohydrate before the workout and then they go out and they do the workout and then they’d fast after the workout, they actually burn more fat. And men are the opposite. Men, they don’t eat before the workout and then they eat following the workout.
We tend to see a little bit of a difference in the sex response to this. Now, you need to realize this was done in lean trained individuals. So, I would say, again, a caveat for like a really lean trained female would be that you may actually want to again eat something small before a workout if you fall into that category of a lean active female because I have seen some hormonal issues arise. And the cool thing is if you do that but then you fast after the workout, you still see a really good increase in fat oxidation. Some of the studies that have been done on men versus women are really fascinating.
And then, finally, it takes time. I’ve talked about this on my podcast before and Mark Sisson refers to this as being a fat-burning machine. There are others who refer to it as becoming fat-adapted or keto-adapted. But the fact is that for you to feel really good doing fasted exercise sessions and for me to do things like go and do an Ironman triathlon on ketosis takes about one and a half to two years to actually build adequate mitochondrial density, fat-burning efficiency, beta-oxidation, et cetera, to really start to feel like a champ and be able to perform at the drop of a hat in any scenario in a fasted state during exercise.
I think people could do it more quickly if we weren’t ripped off the ketogenic state of breastfeeding when we were young and then shifted into Cheerios and Gerber baby food and fruit roll-ups and all these carbohydrates that we tend to rely upon. And then, at age 30, we realize, “Oh hey, I should be in ketosis.” And we expect it takes two weeks to get into ketosis when we spent the past 29 years teaching ourselves how to become glucose-adapted. So, it does take some time. But ultimately, plan on it being a good one and a half to two years before you really feel like you can crush it with fast and workouts. You’ll still get all the benefits right away but to feel really good, it does take a little bit of time. So, there’s a time investment for this.
I had hoped to leave a little bit of time for questions. I’m actually going to skip the summary because it’s not a whole lot to summarize. A lot of this is pretty straightforward. But since we have about three minutes or so, I believe, I’ll take a couple of questions if you guys would like, and I also have URL again with lots of studies, lots of resources, references, podcasts, all my favorite books on fasting, all those I put up on that website for you. So, let’s take a couple of burning questions.
Female 1: When you said that for women, they should maybe eat a little bit before they work out and then fast after, are you talking about like have lunch a few hours before the workout or like minutes before have a tiny bit of food?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. In the study, it was right before the workout, like a pre-workout snack type of scenario. And again, that’s only if you’re a lean very active female.
Female 1: And then, would it be best if it was mostly fat or some carbs and protein as well?
Ben: Well, that was carbs in that study. It was carbs.
Female 1: Okay.
Ben: Yeah. I think you could probably see a pretty good response though by using some of the alternate fuels I was talking about like amino acids or ketones, for example, or MCT oil.
Female 2: So, the only time that I am able to work out is in the morning, and it would be early like 6:00-ish a.m. Normally though, I’m fasting starting at like 8:30 p.m. and then I don’t need to get until lunch.
Female 2: Or like a late lunch really. So, I guess for me, I’m a little confused as far as like what would be best for me. I didn’t really want to break my fast by eating prior to the workout but are you saying that I should? I don’t know.
Ben: Yeah. It kind of depends on your workout but one thing–
Female 2: Not doing anything crazy. It’s a light workout.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. If it’s a light workout, you could get by with just doing a light workout, but I would consider having breakfast about one to two hours after. The other scenario that I’ll use with some of my athletes or like hardcore athletes but they did–and also some CEOs I work with who they have the hour and a half in the morning, that’s their gym time, I tell them, “Well, go there. Go to the gym and do 30 minutes of fasted aerobic exercise. And then, slip into the locker room and grab some amino acids and ketones and then go crush the weights so you get the best of both worlds. You get the aerobic exercise in a fasted state then you replenish a little bit then you go do the hard thing.” So, that’s a scenario too that you can do. You can actually fuel a little bit during the workout.
Female 2: Thank you.
Ben: Yeah. Let’s go ahead. We got one minute left. So, we’ve got time for one or two more questions.
Female 3: Do you vary dietary changes for insulin-dependent diabetics who are doing endurance training?
Ben: Insulin-dependent diabetics.
Female 3: Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, you certainly have to pay a lot better attention to blood glucose levels to hypoglycemia, the timing of the insulin. Yeah. I have a podcast that I did on type 1 diabetes and endurance athletes with a guy who runs a triathlon squad for–I think it’s called a Team Type 1, something like that.
Female 3: Team Type 1?
Ben: That would be a good resource for you. Yeah. If you go to my website and do a search for Team Type 1, I have a whole interview on that.
Female 3: Alright, thank you.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: One more? Yeah.
Male: I read a bunch of your articles and listened to some of your podcasts where you discussed alternate day fasting to get more in an anabolic state. Can you comment a little bit about that, with the training and how you would vary that?
Ben: Yeah. It’s pretty simple. What I do is I actually alter my macronutrient ratios and go higher protein, more carbohydrates with those carbohydrate refeeds and dial down the fat on the more active, more difficult days. And then, on the other days, it’s less carbohydrate, slightly less protein, more fat. I mean, it’s that simple. And of course, slightly fewer calories. So, when I’m working on a meal plan for somebody, it’s not 2,000 calories. Like some days, they’re at 1,700, some days they’re at 3,000. So, we’re pressing and pulsing depending on the day’s activities because like for my clients, I’m writing out their exercise program and their nutrition program so I can pair both and partner the nutrition to the actual exercise days.
Male: Awesome. Thank you.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, I’ve got resources for you up on the website. I also do a lot of mentoring and coaching on my own with a lot of health professionals at KionU. You can learn more about that. We open up enrollment for that again next January. I’ll be around most of the day today and tomorrow. If you guys have questions for me about any of these things, I’m happy to answer them or point you to resources. Thank you so much. I appreciate your support.
Want more? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can subscribe to my information-packed and entertaining newsletter and click the link up on the right-hand side of that web page that says, “Ben recommends,” where you’ll see a full list of everything I’ve ever recommended to enhance your body and your brain. Finally, to get your hands on all of the unique supplement formulations that I personally develop, you can visit the website of my company, Kion, at getK-I-O-N.com. That’s getK-I-O-N.com.
This podcast is the official recording of a talk on “fasted exercise” I gave at Dr. Dan Pompa’s recent “Live It To Lead It” conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
Millions of people around the world don’t know what or even when their next meal will be. Because of this uncertainty, they move as little as possible so as to conserve as much energy as they can.
Meanwhile, you and I have the luxury of actually choosing not to eat while food is in abundance. And then actually burningcalories while we are in a fasted state.
First-world problem? Perhaps. But if you do have the luxury of choosing to not eat when your primal instincts are screaming at you to eat then you must do so with intention and a proper understanding of how not eating will affect your body in relation to your exercise and daily work regimen.
But before jumping into this episode…
…It’s officially the New Year, a time where most of us are joining new gyms, trying out fad diets, and making plans to “finally get abs”.
Most people love the idea of going into a new year with goals to transform themselves into healthier, happier, and overall better human beings. Sticking to those goals, however, is another story. Joining a group challenge can be a great way to jump into the New Year, stick to your goals, and get support from others doing the same thing.
That’s why my team at Kion and I have put together a 5-day Fasting Challenge from January 7th to January 11th to kick off the New Year.
Here’s what you need to know:
-Anyone can join, no matter your experience with fasting. We’ve got recommendations from beginner to advanced, and everywhere in between.
-Fasting can be confusing, so we’ve broken down all the research for you into an in-depth, comprehensive guide detailing the different types of fasting, what they’re good for, how to do them, and tips and tricks for making your fast easier.
-Best of all, this challenge is completely free. No special supplements, pre-packaged meals, or nasty drink mixes required. It can even *save* you money that you typically spend on your normal groceries.
-If you want to start the new year on the right foot and harness the powerful benefits of fasting, go to getkion.com/fast to join our challenge and get the *free* comprehensive guide, Fasting Decoded
I will also be leading a live Facebook Q&A during the challenge, so be sure to join the Kion Facebook community to get all your fasting questions answered. Team Kion and I will be doing the challenge too, so we hope you’ll join us. You can click here to join for free!
In this episode, you’ll learn…
-How I got introduced to the concept of pre and post-workout fasting during my years as a body builder…7:05
- Conventional thought at the time:
- Eat a lot right after workout, to get into the “recovery window”
- Snack and graze
- Explored other options when I got into endurance training
- Discovered “ketosis” in 2013
- Amino acids
- Dominic D’Agostino
-Busting the myth of snacking and pre/post-workout meals…12:45
- Importance of the post-workout meal is vastly decreased if you haven’t been fasting prior to the workout.
- Only benefit from a performance standpoint is if you workout again within 8 hours.
- After 24 hours, the body naturally replenishes its glycogen levels.
- If you’ve eaten prior to a workout, you don’t need to replenish aminos, glycogen, etc.
- I bend the rules if I’m working with someone who needs to build body mass.
-What fasted exercise actually is…18:05
- Exercising in a state of glycogen depletion
- A light workout in a fasted state is preferable (in the morning)
- For evening workouts, you’ll have not eaten since lunch, then you can eat after working out, but it’s not essential to do so immediately.
-The 10 benefits of fasted exercise…25:10
- Burning more fat
- Anti-aging effect
- Better brain function
- Increased growth hormone levels
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Increased testosterone
- Enhanced fat loss
- Better endurance
- More stable gut during exercise
- Hunger management
-Practical ways to do fasted workouts…41:15
- Exercise before breakfast
- Need to include carbs in breakfast? Only if you’re going to work out again within 8 hours.
- Don’t eat dinner for an hour or two after late-afternoon or early-evening workout.
- Use supplements
-A few cautions…47:10
- Decreased intensity (depending on the scenario)
- Post-workout hypercaloric compensation (stuffing your face)
And much more!
Resources from this episode:
Myth: You Need To Snack Throughout The Day & Eat A Pre- Or Post-workout Meal
- Study: Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet
- Study: Thermogenesis in humans after varying meal time frequency
- Study: The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss
- Ben’s meal schedule:
- if breakfast, then between 9:30 and 10:30
- lunch between 1:30 and 2:30
- dinner between 7:30 and 8:30
- Additional meal when training: whey protein, Cocochia, coconut milk
What Is Fasted Exercise?
10 Benefits Of Fasted Exercise
Burn More Fat
- Article: All Hits, No Misses: How Intermittent Fasting and HIIT Workouts Can Help You with Your Fitness Goals
Better Brain Function
- Article: The Exercise Mistake Which Makes You Age Faster
- Article: This Interval Training Infographic Helps You Pick the Right Workout
Increased Growth Hormone Levels
- Study: The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes
- Study: Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man
- Article: Everything You Need to Know About Human Growth Hormone
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
- Article: WTF Is Insulin and How Does It Affect Our Health and Fat Loss?
- Article: The Muscle-Building Messenger: Your Complete Guide To Insulin
- Article: 5 Ways to Improve Insulin Sensitivity
- Article: Why Fast? Part One – Weight Loss
- Article: Routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart, study suggests
- Article: Phys Ed: The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast
- Article: John Romaniello on the Benefits of Saturated Fat, Testosterone for Women, and More (The Greatist Podcast)
- Article: How to Get In Cardio When You Can’t Run
- Article: Fasted Training for Superior Insulin Sensitivity and Nutrient Partitioning
Enhanced Fat Loss
- Article: Breakfast Before or After a Workout?
- Article: Why Fast? Part Five – Exercise
- Article: Fasted training: should you eat before exercise?
- Article: Fasted Training Boosts Endurance and Muscle Glycogen
Stable Gut During Exercise
- Choose low-calorie drinks to keep appetite satiated, including Pellegrinoor Gerolsteiner in glass bottles (I highly recommend adding Omica Organic Butterscotch Toffee Stevia)
- Zevia Soda(click here to listen to my fascinating podcast with the CEO)
- Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks(*AMAZING* digestifs, but choose versions with no sugar, like Ginger Spice)
- Kevita Coconut Water Kefir(also choose versions with low residual sugar/calories, like Lemon Cayenne)
- Any tea of choice including green tea, black tea, specialty teas or (if organic) decaf coffee.
How To Do It
Exercise Before Breakfast
- Article: Burn Away Fat Cells With Intermittent Fasting
- Article: Top Breakfast Myths Debunked
- Article: Why Exercising at This Time of Day is FAR Better than Any Other Time
- Article: Insulin Resistance Speeds Up Cognitive Decline
Wait After Afternoon/Early Evening Exercise
- Book: The Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight
- Article: Early Morning Fasted Training
- Kion Lean
- Kion Coffee
- Kion Aminos
- Article: The Lean Gains Guide
- Article: Is Eat Stop Eat A Water Fast?
- Ketone Salts
- KetoneAid, HVMN
Post-Workout Caloric Hypercompensation
Men vs. Women
- Article: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise
- Article: Peak Fitness: Reap the Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
It Takes Time
–Kion Lean Support for normal blood sugar levels and healthy energy metabolism, even after large, carb-rich meals.
–Organifi The the best green juice out there, in my opinion, and it tastes pretty dang good too! Use code: GREENFIELD to get 20% off your order.
–Harry’s Razors Try the shaving company that’s fixing shaving. We make it easy to switch, with a trial offer.
–Gainswave The best bedroom biohack for men who are hunting down A-1 sexual performance. Use my link and get a free treatment with the purchase of 6 treatments!