Training on Empty

breakfastTraining on a empty stomach or in fasted state is a hot topic these days and for most athletes can lead to excellent results.  Nutritional Therapist Maev Creaven discusses the benefits of cycling training on empty.

What is training on empty?

The more technical terms for it are Fasted Training or Intermittent Fasting, basically means eating no foods for a set number of hours before a exercise!

Best time to train in empty? Naturally we are fasting whilst asleep, therefore the easiest time to do this is first thing in the morning after a good nights sleep.

The benefits?

The benefits of training on empty force the body to burn fat in the absence of carbs which makes it use energy more efficiently over time. There have been many good studies on the benefits; for a group of cyclists, overnight-fasted workouts increased their post-workout recovery, lowered their body fat, whilst maintaining lean muscle mass and performance. The key here is to train the body to be ‘fat adapted’ and metabolically flexible, meaning that you will be able to handle some carbs along with some fat.

Types of Fasting?

There are many versions of Intermittent Fasting and the most popular seem to be the 16:8, where you are fasting for 16 hours  and feed over an 8 hours period [2-3 meals]. Example: overnight fast for 16 hours, from 8pm in the evening to noon the following day, than an 8 hour window to eat good quality foods.

How it works?

Our body uses two fuel sources for energy; the fast burning glycogen from carbohydrates / glucose; and fat, which is a longer-lasting fuel source. With the right foods your body can adapt to burn fat more efficiently once your main source of fuel is good quality fats. The most


In my opinion there are some people that do not need to fast i.e. those prone to adrenal fatigue, present with hormonal imbalances, suffer with food addictions, have already very lean body mass.

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