A recent question sent in to me:
I have been doing IF on and off for about 5 months now but I still struggle with balancing that with workouts. I do 16/8 and generally don’t eat from 7pm to 11am the next day, but sometimes it can go later in the day. In another post, you said we should eating before and even during lifting,otherwise you won’t build muscle. But not eating until 1pm or 3pm when you can only lift around 11am or 12pm can be difficult. Not to mention it doesn’t always *feel* great. What do you recommend for fasting when it comes to lifting/working out?
Okay, so this is really good question that covers multiple subjects,
First things-WHEN do you actually need to eat to build muscle?
Now, this is context question. If you go by the scientific evidence, it tells you it doesn’t matter, so long as you get enough protein/calories over the course of 24 hours.
But the thing about that is that its completely non helpful. No kidding you need to eat food each day, but is there an “optimal” way to set that up?
There needs to be some kind of pattern.
From a training perspective, people train with more energy, and recover better, when they have some protein/calories in them.
This is really hard to argue against. Its not NECESSARY, sure. But in regards to “optimizing” results, yeah, it definitely works
So SURE, you COULD eat one massive 2,000 calorie meal at 11pm night, with 200 grams of protein, but that is highly impractical for most people, as well as uncomfortable.
Additionally it doesn’t take into account insulin sensitivity which is ALWAYS the ultimate determinant relevant to body composition.
And from an energy standpoint, it isn’t really conducive to energy levels to only eat one huge meal a day.
Yes, some people might take to doing a “Warrior Diet” intermittent fast, but for most, this cuts into their whole day and productivity.
Further, if you train in the early morning, or mid day, and you dont eat until the evening, now you are dealing with being tired and hungry for hours.
Understand that there are no hard and fast rules with when you eat, but there are practical suggestions based upon lifestyle and activity levels.
So what do you do if you train fasted? And what if you are not in a position to eat before training? And you are not eating until after you’ve trained?
Answer=BCAAs or EAAs
Now, I am well aware Ive said these things are a waste of money, BUT, in context of fasting, and training while fasted, they are actually useful.
BCAAs and EAAs are useful because the body uses them entirely for muscle synthesis and post training recovery.
And the amount you need to take to “fuel” your training is very low, about 10 grams.
Taking 10 grams of BCAAs or EAAs has been proven to both improve energy levels (your brain actually uses amino acids for various biochemical functions in the brain) and it helps keep you from going “catabolic”, meaning it stops your body from eating up muscle as fuel, provided you do EAT after you train.
So if you are in a situation where you train fasted, dont eat until after, and are concerned with your workouts, use EAAs or BCAAs,
A question is likely of
“Which is better”.
Based on the evidence, EAAs seem to be the more effective of the two. But they both do work, so it may just come down to whatever you’ve got available to you.
Per Labdoor, Bulk Supplements are your best option for BCAAs.
Be aware that they are HIGHLY bitter, and will need to flavored if you buy them like this
For EAAs, Use True Nutrition.
I just ordered a bunch of EAAs from them (Im going to experiment with some fasting protocols the next few months) and their products are always lab tested constantly.
Use code AJAC235 for a 5% discount
More to come on Fasting,