Friday, December 11, 2009

Fasted Training Boosts Muscle Growth?

A recent study shows fasted training affects the post-workout anabolic response to weight training more favorably than fed-state training.

This study is very interesting to say the least, since it lends scientific support to explain the beneficial effects from both fasted-training and Leangains-style intermittent fasting. Let me give you the lowdown on this study in layman's terms.

Weight training activates enzymes and switches on genes that up regulates protein synthesis in muscles. Out of these signalling mechanisms, the phosphorylation, "activity" plainly speaking, of p70s6 kinase may serve as an indicator of muscle growth, along with other myogenic transcription factors. Myogenic meaning from within the muscle. Nutrition no doubt affects the myogenic signaling mechanisms, but it's still not fully understood to what degree.

In this study, subjects were split into two groups that were trained on two occasions separated by three weeks. The three-week rest period between sessions served as a "washout" period, in order to make sure that the prior session didn't interfere with the results obtained during the second test.

The workouts were fairly basic whole-body sessions: 3 x 8 in seven movements such as bench press, overhead press, curls and leg press.

One of the sessions (F) were performed on an empty stomach after an overnight fast.

The other session (B) was performed in the fed state. Subjects were given a breakfast of 722 kcal composed of 85% carbs, 11% protein and 4% fat, and training was initiated 90 minutes after the meal.

After the weight training session, both groups rested for 4 hours. At the one- and four-hour marks, muscle biopsies and blood tests were obtained . Participants were also also given a recovery drink to sip each hour during the rest period.

Results revealed that the F session had twice as high levels of p70s6k in comparison to the B when measured at the one-hour mark post-workout. Other myogenic transcription factors were also higher at this point, though not quite as pronounced as p70s6k. At the four-hour mark, the differences between the two groups had evened out.

Why may fasted training be beneficial for the post-workout anabolic response?

The researchers concluded that "Our results indicate that prior fasting may stimulate the intramyocellular anabolic response to ingestion of a carbohydrate/protein/leucine mixture following a heavy resistance training session. "

Among other things, increased levels of p70s6k may lead to a faster transport of amino acids into the muscle cell membranes, which should lead to a more rapid and potent anabolic response to post-workout nutrient ingestion. The effects seen on the other myogenic signaling mechanisms could also affect muscle growth through other pathways.

It seems that the increased anabolic activity seen post-workout is a compensatory response to the increased catabolism that occurs during fasted state training. Very interesting. The big question is if there would be a net difference in muscle growth at the end of the day. Training on an empty stomach will cause greater catabolism in the short run, but will it yield greater gains in the long run? Do we make a small sacrifice in order to receive a greater reward?

Well, I think we can leverage the results of this study to our benefit and sidestep the negatives if we ask ourselves why, relative to the fasted group, p70s6k and the other myogenic transcription factors were inhibited after a pre-workout meal. Or rather the highly insulinogenic pre-workout meal served in the study -- a whopping 153 g high glycemic index carbs.

There's no clear answer here, but other studies have suggested that carb intake during an endurance training can blunt the expression of several metabolic genes post-exercise. Insulin may play a role here, for sure.

Another way to think of it is that by providing nutrients to the body, exercise is experienced by the body as less of a stressor compared to fasted-state training. No need to adapt or compensate when all is provided for you. A similar phenomenon can be seen with antioxidant intake, where recent studies show that ingesting antioxidants from supplements weakens the body's own response to deal with free radicals created by training. We are making it easy for the body and that may be a suboptimal way to train.

So do I suggest everyone start training fasted from now on? Of course not. Remember, it is still not known if the net effect of fasted state training will lead to more favorable results in the long run.

However, I do suggest the following:

* Make sure that the great majority of your daily allotment of calories and carbs are ingested in the post-workout period, and not before.

* The immediate pre-workout meal should contain no more than a moderate amount of low glycemic index carbs. The exact amount would depend on many factors, total workout volume being the biggest one to consider, but a good guideline for a moderate volume weight training session is approximately 0.6 - 0.8 g carb per kilogram body weight or 0.3 - 0.4 g per pound of body weight. Have this meal 1.5 - 2.5 hours before your training session.

* For fasted sessions, ingest 10 g branched chain amino acids (BCAA) shortly prior (5-15 mins) to your training session. This does not count towards the 8-hour feeding window that I advocate post-workout; that starts with your post-workout meal. By ingesting BCAA pre-workout, we can sidestep the increased protein breakdown of fasted training while still reaping the benefits of the increased anabolic response as seen in this study. Not only that, BCAAs actually increase phosphorylation of p70s6k when ingested in the fasted state prior to training. So by training fasted, with BCAA intake prior to sessions, we get a double whammy of increased p70s6k phosphorylation that should create a very favorable environment for muscle growth in the post-workout period.


Unknown said...

Today was my first day training like your first HIT-inspired program (3 workouts with two full days of rest between each workout, very low volume, very high intensity). I like it alot!

Very interesting article.

I will start the IF concept next week, and wonder if you still recommend a pre-workout meal at about 20% of my daily energy intake (you did recommend this way in some swedish forums, but the post was from ~2007). Or do you prefer to train fasted with only a intake of ~10g EEA/BCAA. If you prefer fasted, what do you think about mix theese amino acids with some really fast carbs like maltodextrin(?)?

I wanted to keep this post as short as possible, but i would like to ask for one more question;

For how long did/do you rest between sets of, lets say, deadlifts singles or rounds of your bench press(fail)+push ups(fail)-combo? is awesome, and I'm looking forward to start the 8/16 IF concept.

Med vänliga hälsningar

Tom said...

great post, very interesting

i have been doing fasted state workouts per your suggestions (10 g EAA pre-wo)ever since i read it on and must say my gains have been better than ever. my training is high intensity low volume tweaked a bit from the template oyu posted on lyles forum.

thanks for the post and please keep on putting out great content. cant wait to get my hands on your book.

Neal W. said...

Aren't there studies which contradict this study? What does the balance of the evidence suggest?

Unknown said...

Nvm my question about resting between sets, found your answer in your articles about Reverse Pyramid Revisited,

Anonymous said...

When you refer to ingesting 10 g branched chain amino acids (BCAA) before training, is this in the form of a whey protein powder?

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, this study confirms the incredible adaptability of the human body. Dogmatic, highly-specific training and nutrition protocols are unnecessary and can negatively effect motivation.

Keep up the great work, Martin.

Laura said...

Fascinating...Thanks for posting this!

Unknown said...


'what do you think about mix theese amino acids with some really fast carbs like maltodextrin(?)?'

Don't. The BCAAs is a slight compromise to fasted training. By definition, it won't be completely fasted. We're already streching the definitions a bit. But add carbs to that and you take away everything that's beneficial with the fasted BCAA-protocol. I mean hell, that was almost the whole point of the article I just posted.

And I don't think maltodextrin has a place in any typical weight trainer's diet.


No, but I think I know what studies you are referring to. Those studies basically showed that pre-workout and post-workout nutrition stimulates protein synthesis better than fasted training, but a) they compared fed to fasted sans post-workout nutrition and b) they didn't look at the same markers. Different study designs, different conclusions.


BCAA/EAA can be found in whey protein (approx 25% of the amino acids in whey are BCAAs), but also bought as a supplement.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

very interesting!
I have one question because i don't know for sure if i understood you right.
You wrote:
For fasted sessions, ingest 10 g branched chain amino acids (BCAA) shortly prior (5-15 mins) to your training session. This does not count towards the 8 hour feeding window that I advocate post-workout; that starts with your post-workout meal.
My question:
At which time do you take you're Post workout meal(whereof starts the 8 hours eatingtime and breaks the faststate) when you train in fasted state?
Is this directly after you finished
the training in fasted state when you come home from the gym?

Exampel: Normally i break my fast at 14:00 hour >and eat 8 hours till 22:00. When i want to train in fasted state i must train from 12:30/13:00 hours till 13:30/14:00 hours. Then come home and i can eat till 22:00 hours. Is this right?


Anonymous said...

Nice post, Martin.

One big problem though - your recommendation is completely opposite of the ANACONDA protocol. If you don't vomit half your preworkout shake in the middle of your workout, aren't you gonna go catabolic?


-The Bro

Mike T Nelson said...

I saw that study, very interesting and glad you posted it.

I think this is similar to what you are saying, but if we can make the training session more catabolic, does the more anabolic phase post training get magnified?

I think of this as tissue turnover. The more tissue we can turnover, the faster we can remodel our bodies. I have more thoughts here at

Keep up the great work!
rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

Unknown said...

"* Make sure that the great majority of your daily allotment of calories and carbs are ingested in the post-workout period, and not before.

* The immediate pre-workout meal should contain no more than a moderate amount of low glycemic index carbs. The exact amount would depend on many factors, total workout volume being the biggest one to consider, but a good guideline for a moderate volume weight training session is approximately 0,6-0,8 g carb per kg body weight or 0,3-0,4 g per pound of body weight. Have this meal 1.5-2.5 hrs before your training session."


It looks like a lot of folks out there would do well to read your recommendations above before they go dropping a serious chunk of change for a certain supplement companies latest "magic protocol".

Sounds like spending more to get less (in terms of results) would be a bitter pill (no pun intended) to swallow.

Unknown said...


'Is this directly after you finished
the training in fasted state when you come home from the gym? '



'but if we can make the training session more catabolic, does the more anabolic phase post training get magnified? '

I think you're asking if the anabolic phase, where protein synthesis is up regulated among with other myogenic growth factors, increases in scope relative to the catabolism induced during the training session?

To some degree yes, but the main goal shouldn't be to induce as much catabolism/muscle fiber damage as possible during a session. Such training protocols tend to unproductive and lead to overtraining if not applied very with modest frequency.

Example: multiple sets to concentric failure, followed by eccentric failure, followed up with HIIT post-exercise. That would be a good example of a fairly catabolic training session. But hardly productive for the average trainee unless infrequently applied. And there's certainly no linear dose-response to speak of.

Like we've seen with the single vs multiple set studies, it's a case of diminshing returns once enough stress is applied to the muscle.

Sarah said...

Awesome post, Martin! I LOVE fasted training.

Jon Fernandes said...

Ok, this is VERY interesting.

After the new year's i planned on bulking while still doing IF.

I'm really curious to try this now.

I really need to do some consulting with you Martin, lol.

Anonymous said...

I've been "lean bulking" with this method since summer and have added about 5 lbs to my frame and it looks like lean mass afaik. I actually seem to have leaned out a bit. I take 30 g whey pre-workout and start my 8 hour feeding window post-workout just like Martin says.


C said...

Hi Martin!

Great post, as always! A while ago I got your consulting and I still follow it and my results have been more than I actually hoped for. I now wonder about you, how often do you work out? And do you do upper/lower body splits?


Unknown said...


Glad to hear it. Feel free to shoot me some before/afters if you have.

I touched on my new routine here:

And it can be described as an upper/lower split, yes.

Tim said...


I have whey protein but no BCAA supplement and don't really want to spend money on another supplement. Will taking one serving of whey protein pre-workout have the same effect as taking the 10 g of BCAA?
(25 g protein per serving X 25% BCAA content = 6.25 g BCAA)

Unknown said...

No, it won't have the exact same effect, but it's unlikely that it will make a whole world of difference.

Anonymous said...

Great Stuff, man. REally dig your blog.

Yash said...

Hey Martin,

About your BCAA suggestion: Would a couple scoops of whey protein be serviceable option, or does that pretty much negate the point of a "fasted" workout? I'm guessing that's the case since it would be couple hundred calories of whey to get that much BCAA.

Also, I've held off on BCAA because it's not as effective for non-fasted training, the argument being that supplementary BCAA is useless if you have adequate peri-workout protein. Where do you stand on it? Useful for fasted training but not fed, or useful regardless?

cubby said...

Do you recommend BCAAs before fasted training over EAAS? Or are they pretty much equal in your mind?

Unknown said...


With BCAA you get the aminos needed for protein synthesis without the insulin and caloric load brought on by whey protein. Low insulin = the fasted state. You pretty much answered your own question in that you would have to consume 40 g of whey to get the same amount of BCAA I recommend (a recommendation based on a study where 10 g elicited the maximal effect). Then again, one could question what the real world implications would be in comparing whey and BCAA in this context. I hardly doubt this is a deal breaker in any way. Then again, if you wan't to optimize everything, BCAA is the way to go.

I would argue that it's doubtful that supplementary BCAA does that much in the fed state, when there is already an ample amount of aminos available for protein synthesis and when a high quality protein diet is in place. I did a roundtable on this a while back (should be under interviews) and my stance hasn't changed much since then.

Unknown said...


they're pretty much the same thing, but EAA = the BCAAs + then some. There are no studies comparing BCAA and EAA, so it's hard to say what and if the extra aminos in EAA does anything on top of what the BCAAs do (it's primarily the three branched-chain aminos that drive protein synthesis).

Raidho said...

Hi Martin!
I love fasted training but have always been a little worried that I were spinning my wheels because of it, but thanks to this, no more cortisol-inducing anxiety he he!

A question though, "The workouts were fairly basic whole-body sessions: 3 x 8 in seven movements such as bench press, overhead press, curls and leg press".
This sounds like the protocol you prescribe, but if one would like to use a higher volume/low rest protocol for more metabolic work and hypertrophy, like EDT for instance, do you think that would work aswell?
Take care and Merry Christmas!
//Johannes (now using coconut-oil in conjunction with couscous he he)

Unknown said...

I'm sure it would "work", but whether it would be as effective is another question. I'm not a big fan of metabolic work to induce hypertrophy. There are reasons related to myogenic signalling mechanisms which shows endurance type training inhibiting hypertrophy, for example. Mixing it all together might not be the best idea. Though I'm not sure if that would apply to EDT rightfully, or whatever you had planned on doing.

Unknown said...

Then again, way back in the days I had some spectular gains myself doing something extremely metabolically taxing, which was supersetting bench press and pushups (for about 3 sets each) to failure. I covered this in "The Minimalist" post (see Training). 20-rep squats could also be thought of as metabolic work in some regard, yet they are brutally effective in the right context. I've yet to try something like that in the fasted state however.

So go on ahead and try whatever you had in mind, Johannes. Let us know how it goes.

radek said...

Good post. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

fasted training ftw

feel much better training fasted + my performance is at least as good as after meals...better even

Unknown said...

Hi Martin!

So which of theese two ways would you recommend today:

PWO meal 50/50 carbs/protein about 500 kcal 1,5-2,5 hours before the training session


fasted training with a 10g BCAA intake just before the training session?


Unknown said...

Depends on

1. Personal preference: some feel great with fasted training, some don't.

2. Type of training: volume, intensity and duration of the session. A session which is draining on glycogen stores, such as weight training followed by cardio, or higher volume weight training, might warrant a solid pre-workout meal.

3. Your daily routine: which setup is most conducive to your daily routine and dietary habits? Etc.

HybridHacker said...


Is a whey drink before working out just as effective/optimal as whey + carbs for muscle growth?

wazzup said...

Ho much will this "increased p70s6k phosphorylation" have any effect whatsoever on my muscles? Is it as (non-)effective as testosterone or growth hormone around workout (which means like shit when you look at the big overall picture).

PS: BCAA's DO raise insulin ! (go ask Lyle :-))

Unknown said...


Carbs do not further enhance protein synthesis vs whey only if that's what you're asking. OTOH if the addition of carbs to your pre-workout whey shake helps you get a better/more productive training session, the combo will be the superior choice in the long run.

Unknown said...


Hard to say, but I doubt the effect would be dramatic.

Yes, BCAA raise insulin which I've noted in several posts on this blog. What's your point?

Unknown said...

It's still way up in the air if there'd actually be any significant differences whatsoever on a fed vs fasted training regimen. They need to get two groups together, put them on the same routine for 12-16 weeks and have A doing it fed, B doing it fasted + give both groups a proper post-workout meal. That'd be interesting to see.

Jon Fernandes said...


Next week when i get back in the gym from my break i am going to be doing the BCAA/fasted-state protocol. I know stimulants like caffeine will be okay to take pre-workout. but what about amino acids such as tyrosine and ALCAR.

i'm noticed when i tried to take tyrosine in the a.m., but i feel as if i'm kicked out of the "Fasting state". so i now save it for the 8 hour window.

By taking in tyrosine and ALCAR pre-workout with the caffeine, then the BCAAs right before the workout. would that be pretty much altering the fasted state of the body?

I know it might not matter in the long-scheme of things, but i'm just curious lol. thanks

- Jon

Unknown said...

Jesus, why is it so damn hard for people to understand. Dose-response, go look it up. Hint: the fasted state is not an on/off-switch.

Jon Fernandes said...

ok i understand now. sorry for not wording myself properly. thanks.

Jon Fernandes said...

Giving you an update Martin:

Did the fasted training protocol yesterday with the extra ALCAR and tyrosine added. i felt awesome. i had a really good workout. thanks for the wake-up call on "dose-response".

- Jon

Unknown said...

Glad to hear it, Jon.

Anonymous said...

Hi what is the difference between metabolic work out and HIT thanks?

Unknown said...

HIT = High Intensity Training i.e one set to failure.

Metabolic workouts have a conditioning aspect to them i.e circuit training, body weight training etc. Usually higher reps and shorter rest periods.

Marco Gulin said...

I know that you said the body is not an ON/OFF button regarding the fasted mode - but if i consumde low glyc (slow) carbs that doesn't raise my insuline, would it anyways destroy my "fasted session"?

IS this GOOD?

Sleep: 11.00
Wake up: 09.00 (no breakfast, eaa shake or nothing)
Gym: 11.00 (EAA before)
Gym ending: 12.00 (eaa after + carbs in forms of banana, white bread, fruits etc)
13:00 (EAA shake)
14:00 (my first meal)

I am soo confused about the carbs.
Can i take them before my gym pass, and after? It seems like you prefer to take them 2h after the heavy training at the gym, with your first meal?

Unknown said...

Read the Leangains Guide.

Alex said...

So is lean gains suited for bulking?

I mean after mechanical load has been induced, the anabolic state is kept up for up to 2 days, but we don't have a constant supply of protein during fasting periods.

If you'd have 5g of BCAA's every two hours spent awake/fasting (20grams if you sleep for 8 hours), would this solve the problem?

Unknown said...

1. Yes

2. You'd have circulating aminos in the blood plasma even during 16 hours of fasting, in variable amounts depending on your last meal.

RenaissanceMan said...

Hi Martin,

You mentioned that you (like Brad Pilon and others following IF) think cardio is a low return-on-investment when it comes to fat loss.

Could you elaborate on this?

There are several peer reviewed studies out there and study/interpretation errors aside, it seems there is consensus that a moderate volume and frequency of fairly high intensity cardio (70-85% HR) increases mitochondria and signals hormonal adaptations which lead to better muscular insulin sensitivity, fat metabolism, metabolic rate, etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


SteelWeaver said...

Great post as always!

I was adhering to guidelines similar to yours concerning pre-workout nutrition myself but I was listening to a superhumanradio episode where David Barr was advocating very fast carbs and proteins in similar quantities (1:1 dextrose + whey hydrolysate about 30-40g preworkout) closer to the workout. I figure the metabolic environment would be similar at the time of the workout with both approaches so results should be comparable. I was wondering if you had experimented with and approach similar to Barr's.


The immediate pre-workout meal should contain no more than a moderate amount of low glycemic index carbs. The exact amount would depend on many factors, total workout volume being the biggest one to consider, but a good guideline for a moderate volume weight training session is approximately 0.6 - 0.8 g carb per kilogram body weight or 0.3 - 0.4 g per pound of body weight. Have this meal 1.5 - 2.5 hours before your training session.

Unknown said...


I will elaborate on that in my next article.


No, I have not.

Unknown said...

Hi Martin, I got turned on to this site because two of my fellow Crossfitters referenced your article on Alcohol in conversation with me. I am totally intrigued and just spent about 4 hours scouring your site; I'm convinced it helps you get "shredded" and want to give LeanGains a whirl. From what I've gathered, you don't do much - if any - cardio. But as a Crossfitter, one of my main goals is to improve my metabolic conditioning and muscle endurance, in addition to building raw strength. First question: Will the LeanGains help me in my CONDITIONING as well? Though not mutually exclusive, at this point my primary goal is PERFORMANCE (especially in my met-con) over body composition. Three days a week, I do strength alone, Westside Barbell Conjugate System style, complete with accessory exercises (this is similar to the training protocol you use from what I've gathered). However, another three days a week I do some sort of met-con; one long (20 minutes plus), one medium (11-20 minutes), and one short high-power one (less than 10 minutes). I'm 5'8", 32, currently 150 lbs, about 10% body fat. My goal is just to be a better Cross-fitter, both stronger AND faster (this may not be possible, but if guys like Chris Spealler and Mikko Sallo and Graham Holmberg can do it, I'd sure like to try...hence, the split between "weights" and "met-con"). I can handle training fasted for weight stuff, but for the met-cons, I feel dizzy, light-headed and lethargic. I typically train at noon. Second question: Is there any kind of nutritional protocol/article I can reference that you can recommend for me during the days I do met-cons? Or should I just "suck it up" and push through during met-con days? THANKS SO MUCH in advance!!! Humbly, Daron.

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin, fasted training for skinnys, is it a good or bad ideia?

alex said...

Hi Martin, great info on fasted training! I had a question: if one follows Lyle's guidelines for targeted keto diet (while doing IF), where he recommends ingesting a piece of fruit and something like half a scoop of whey pre workout.
Would something like that be detrimental to fasted training or just not optimal? Would that effectively break the fast? Would you just recommend one ingest a scoop of protein instead?

Ben said...

Hey Martin, love the site, thank you so much for the time and info.

I work out in the evenings, but time constraints make it difficult to get everything done. I wake at 4, and would like to move my heavy ab work to the morning after some BCAAs. Would doing that be detrimental since I'm not breaking the fast for another 9 hours?

Julius Fortes said...

Hello Martin, good morning.
I wonder if you can help me:
I returned to training has basically one month, workouts
whole body. In the last session I did two days later
I felt a great weariness. Do not have time to go
the supermarket and had no food to run
diet. Maybe I'm not eating the right amount
food and I've been having a huge difficulty for
achieve the desired amount of calories because it is much
food, hehehe.
Let me read a review yours.


Unknown said...

Martin....Strength training days I eat a 50% total caloric intake immediately following post-workout at 10 a.m.

Two days out of the week I box. I finish training at 7 a.m. I can't eat until 10 a.m.

Should I ingest a Barley carb with a whey isolate post-workout. Or wait until 10 a.m.

I tried drinking the Bcaa's after wards,just felt like it wasn't enough. I'm 6'2" 210 pounds.

Unknown said...

Martin....I strength train 3 days out of the week. No pre-workout meal(just Bcaa's). Immediately after I train I consume 50% of my caloric intake post-workout at 10 a.m.

Two days out of the week I Box. No pre-workout meal(just Bcaa's).I finish training at 7 a.m. I can't eat until 10 a.m.

Should I ingest a Barley carb with a whey isolate, post-workout ? Or wait until 10 a.m. to eat my first meal ?

I took more Bcaa's post-workout. Needed more. I'm 6'2" 210.

Should I do both. Post-workout shake & Meal at 10 a.m ?

Thanx Michael

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin.

My eating period is between 15.00 and 23.00, and i normally eat a small pre-workout meal at 15.00 then off to the gym at 16.30. Now it's easter and two of my training days I will be going to the gym at 10.00. Therefore i take my BCAA before, but what do I do afterwards, if my eating period starts at 15.00?

I've been doing leangains for 1½ a week now and i can allready see some transformations in my body. :)


Charlie Ayling said...

Hi Martin, I'm looking into starting IF/training fasted. The only issue being that I normally have to my resistance training first thing in the morning & eat in the evening. Is it okay to train, have a moderate PWO meal, then fast until the evening and have a later feeding window?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what brand of BCAAs youre using?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous, he covers supplements in his supplements guide section. He also says which brands he uses all over the place. L2read.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys think about protein pulse feeding?

Maweric said...

What if you compare fasted morning training with fed-state training in the afternoon? The hormon levels would be a bit higher in the afternoon. Would that have any impact on the results?

david lawlor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm really glad I found this article. I have been eating this way ( 10|10|80 ) for over 60 years, now that I have started lifting It's exactly what I have been doing. All my life i have been told " You need to eat breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day". My response has always been " bite me". It's good to know I was right. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm really interested in starting IF for the first time. Being a late night trainer my fasted hours would be from 1am-4pm, 1 20% meal at 5pm to break the fast, another 20% meal at 8 (pre workout) and then my final meal 60% at 12am. I was just wondering if

1. it would be ok to consume a zero calorie BCAA drink 1-2 times throughout the fasted period?

2. I tend to have an insensitivity to carbs as I was overweight most of my childhood and tend to gain quickly when eating too many carbs.. Ive noticed that I do function better on fats too. My question is,m what would be an ideal macronutrient breakdown for me? In the past I've gotten to 7%ish bf levels on 50/15/35 P/C/F

What i dig:) said...

very good info! just would like to know if your recommendations are basically the same for vegans...with the change from whey to plant based (hemp, rice, pea) protein instead and flax oils instead as well along with same aa's recommended.
thank you very much for your time!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to share my experience with if:
Two months ago I started casually to skip some meals during the day becouse of angriness (i usually use to vent my rage by training with some push ups). I noticed to be more energic, and happier. I don't use to read very much stuff on the internet but I was intrigued by this state of mind and I ended on this blog. I gradually started to follow some of the advices you give and to eat less and less (compared to this summer for example) what I've noticed is: an increase of angriness to vent(useful for training), more feelings and emotions, increased performance (playing piano in my case), with and I passed my plateau ( I ve increased in a month of not regoular routine of 2kg/4lbs of pure muscle, it's visible ) I advice to anyone my lifestyle:
I eat almost everitying at dinner and not when angry..mainly protein from 3 eggs or some fish or meat

It's worth it..

Anonymous said...

@jonny hinds or vegans....

Martin may have something different to say in regards to veggie vs animal proteins, but from what I understand and in my experience veggie sources are not complete by themselves, though you can still get the same AA content. In other words, you have to mix veggie foods to get complete proteins. In my experience, it takes more thought and research to know how to compensate and make sure you get the amounts suggested given that most veg sources are lower in protein g/volume. Also, veggie sources tend to be higher in carb content and lower in fat. Blue green algaes are an exception. Still, you have to eat a lot of that to get the amounts....1g/lb (or more) of lean mass or total BW (if lean). Google has more answers.

Anonymous said...

I saw your website, jonny. It seems you probably already know about what I'd posted. Ha...oh well. My wife is vegetarian and there are some veg heads on bodybuilding dot com doing IF. So, to answer your question in lieu of Martin replying, the consensus seems to be following IF/Leangains in the same manner only with a veggie base. Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

@ Jonny and vegans, again...

Found this link on Martin's blog by accident, so thought I'd post it....

Read the dialogue below the article for pertinent info.


Anonymous said...

Hey Martin, great site and articles! I'm going to try LG after I drop off a few more pounds!
Anyways, my question is: How soon should I get my post workout meal after I finish? Is it ok to wait 30-40 minutes after the workout before having the meal (taking a shower etc) or is it better I play it safe and eat something right away to prevent catabolism?

Matt Anstiss said...

Just started your programme, was aching like hell after the first session (Big 3 + a little cardio).

Just done second session and saw some improvements already!
My question is:

I workout between 0800 - 0900 but i don't start eating until 1pm? I am taking some BCAA in that time. But am i ok to have whey aswell in that time? 40g scoop Mixed with 200ml water. OR do i have to wait until 1pm to have any food/whey?

Many thanks


Zewski said...

What if you have only fat pre-workout, such as cocnut oil in your coffee?

Wouldn't this avoid being completely "fasted" and therefore stop the increased catabolism it causes while still maintaining low enough insulin levels to reap the benefits of exercising on an empty stomach?

Chesh said...

Reading half of these comments makes me want to blow my brains out. I mean seriously? How much of his articles have you actually read? Was it simply this brief primer? He puts in links to even help supplement, your own knowledge base, with articles he has previously written covering half of the erroneous babble you are all asking. Go and read it! Add in a dabble of your own common sense, odds are you'll figure it out. If not, just give up and go crawl into a hole. Humanities existence might be better off.

rosa wood said...

i love eggs, can i have my egg for the pre-workout nutrition?

Judah said...

An example of the importance of p70S6K. I love


quick question
will intermittent fasting go good with keto?
also if i wanted to gain size n weight due to fact i pretty lean already ?


Anonymous said...

I have been following your advice to good results, so far. But the BCAA study is pretty weak; it had a sample size of 7, which is far too few for my liking. Have there been any more recent BCAA studies to your knowledge? I searched google scholar, but it was swamped with liver function and other non-strength training studies.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your advice to good results, so far. But the BCAA study is pretty weak; it had a sample size of 7, which is far too few for my liking. Have there been any more recent BCAA studies to your knowledge? I searched google scholar, but it was swamped with liver function and other non-strength training studies.

phiroc said...

I always thought that there was no way in hell that I could train in a fasting mode but I was wrong. It's amazing how the body can adapt to just about anything. I have been experimenting with IF now for few weeks and I have dropped weight without any diet modification and my strength still went up.

John Acevedo said...

I am a bit confused. How are you training "fasted" if you're eating a pre-workout meal? That sounds like the exact opposite of fasting.

Charlie Durrant said...

I'm traveling. Whole foods are my only option. I have always loved traing fasted, but I'm scared that excess catabolism through fasted training without BCAAs would lead to muscle loss. My questions are 1. To train fasted or not to, if bcaas and whey are not options?

2.Is the dtrimental effect of traing without bcaa's only delayed recovery or is it muscle loss or less muscle gain?

3. Would eating to hardboilded egg whites be just as good?

Thank you. Charlie Durrant

Bob Tragert said...


I have anecdotal support for fasted state training that I came by without ever knowing about your work.

For the past two years I've been working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. (I'm a 50 yr old male.) The meals are all provided at the base and I put on a lot of pounds at first. I decided to get into shape and futzted around with different schedules of working out and eating until I settled in on a regime that worked for me.

What I did was to stop eating around 4PM, hit the gym at 5AM with only water to drink. Lift weights 1 or 2 sets hi intensity low reps, then run a few miles at an easy pace. At 7AM have a big breakfast mostly protein, medium lunch balanced carbs & protein and a small snack around 4PM.

I know this was not as well thought out as your program but I saw immediate gains, dropped 40 lbs, and it was an easy program to stay with. The other key was getting enough sleep. I never felt like I was lacking energy for the morning workouts. I didn't know anything about muscle bio-chemistry or insulin or any of that stuff, I just went with what worked. It's good to real science behind what I was doing. Keep up the good work.

TomaCabron said...

should i take bcaas on my off days of workout?

Zach said...

Hello Martin, I am a college student and am strapped on cash to get BCAA supplements. Without the preworkout BCAA,would light jogging in a completely fasted state lead to muscle catabolism? If so, how else can I reduce body fat without losing muscles?

josh said...

ok here is my question.... its been plaguing me for a while now. we fast to increase hgh levels during a work out. insulin blunts hgh release. bcaa are very insulinogenic. i am so confused as to why we fast fro 16 hours in order to lift fasted to obtain the huh increase but blunt it by taking bcaa just prior. please advise. i have been doing if for about 6 weeks and have seen no real results with muscle mass/ strength increase or fat loss. i recently stopped taking bcaa prior to the lift to see if this helps. please advise

Block said...

Is it ok to use a whey protein shake and a multivitamin prior to the workout rather than then BCAA? Or.. what would you think about taking the BCAA prior to the workout and the protein shake as first meal after since I am usually not hungry for at least an hour or so after a workout. Not that I can't eat, my appetite just isn't there.

My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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