Monday, July 23, 2007

Update and fasted state workouts

Been very busy lately doing personal consultations, thus the lack of any updates since 12/7. There really is a limit to how much you can spend talking, writing and thinking about nutrition. Lately, I've felt a bit burnt out on that part.

However, The Leangains FAQ should be up this week if I get my ass in gear, so keep checking in for that one. In this FAQ I'll answer the most common questions I get about Intermittent Fasting. For example "will I burn muscle during the fast", "will I go into starvation mode if I don't eat every 3rd hour" and so forth. Sometimes I just wan't to smack people so bad. You guys have no idea.

Anyway, here goes a little something from the gym.

I guess all I needed was chalk. Even had one or two more reps in me.

590 lbs (265 kg) x 3 deadlift

3x bw would be a breeze right now, so new goal is 300 kg (665 lbs) or at least 3xbw for 3 reps. We'll see.

Now for something else.

Fasted State Workouts

Lately I have been doing my workouts in the fasted state, compared to before where I was usually having a pre-workout meal. I have noticed no adverse effects whatsoever. For example, one might assume energy would be affected for the worse, but this has proven not to be the case with me. Granted, my workouts are low volume and high intensity: 2 or 3 sets for compound movements, with a rep range of 3-5 reps, being less demanding in terms of enery expenditure and glycogen depletion than a typical bodybuilding routine (multiple sets of 8-10 reps for example). I find this interesting and I may have to change (or provide alternatives/guidelines for the fasted workout and post workout feeding window) my stance on the default rec pre-workout meal in the Leangains protocol.

I wan't people to send me their experience with fasted state workouts to (only if you currently are doing some form of Intermittent Fasting). I only wan't feedback on this topic if your fasting period is at least 14 hours.

Please give information within the right context, i.e

1) how long is your fast (I take it you would have your first meal post-workout)?

2) how does your workout look in terms of volume (total workload in terms of sets and reps)?

3) overall, do you perform better or worse on an empty stomach vs having a pre-workout meal?


Anonymous said...

fucking Crazy strength bro,,,how much do you weigh ?? and how big is your chest, u seem to have a good pecs,,,any pics??

johan said...

very good lifting=)

wazzup said...

1 - Nice lift !

2 - Highly motivational background music in your gym :-)

3 - Is it possible to get this blog in English ? I mean, the content is in English, so why isn't the rest ? I figure out what "Skicka en kommentar" means, but ....

Anonymous said...


could you post a routine that you feel works best with IF or perhaps the one you're using now ?


Martin Berkhan said...

Thanks for letting me know, Wazzup. I thought the comments button would be in english for international viewers, but apparently not.

LiftOn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LiftOn said...


I stumbled upon your website when I was researching to decide if I want to add a pre-workout meal.

I started doing a lazy-man's version of Intermittent Fasting 10 days ago. I'm eating in the evenings immediately after I workout (nothing before). The eating time frame is around 6-9pm. I've mainly just been eating one large meal at once but sometimes I'll have two meals in the window. I first have a post-workout shake immediately after training.

My typical workout in a fasted state would start off great. It was almost like I was really excited and focused. I was basically attacking the weights. I had to go hard. But, about 15-20 minutes in to each workout I would get really drained. I thought this was due to the training while in a fasted state. I really think my body was adapting to eating this way as well though. Because now I feel great the whole time.

2 days ago I started feeling really good throughout the whole workout. I'm in a frantic state where I don't want to take breaks. I feel a lot more energized!

I plan on experimenting with a pre-workout meal (probably just a shake) in a week or so.

I've been doing a Poliquin type training split that looked like:
day 1: Arms/Shoulders
day 2: Legs
day 3: Off
day 4: Back/Chest
day 5: Off
day 6: Repeat

Training volume example (I haven't set up a plan at all. I've just been doing what ever looked good):

front squat: 4x10
SLDL: 4x10
Barbell Lunges: 2x10
Leg Press supersetted w/ Leg Curls: 3x10.

But sometimes I've been doing something like this:
(Back/Chest example)
BB rows: 5x5
Bench: 5x5
Chins: 5x5

I've decided to go back to doing full body workouts because it fits my schedule better. I don't always know if I'm going to be able to workout. Full body workouts allow a little more leeway. I can miss a day and just workout the next day.

My last two workouts have been full body workouts and I've felt great.
BB rows
Hang Cleans
Front Squat
Bench Press
Pull ups
Light rotator cuff work.
Most exercises had two (or three) work sets of 5-12. I've did most of the workout in antagonistic pairs; i.e. I would do a set of bench, wait 30 seconds, then do a set of pullups, then repeat.

Sorry for the long post!

quick conclusion:
The first week of training while in a fasted state sucked. I would fizzle out really early in the workouts. I think this is mainly due to me being new to this type of diet. My last two workouts have been great though. I've felt full of energy and really focused.

My only complaint with this eating schedule is that I can't seem to fall asleep at a normal time. I'm writing this at 12:15 am and I've gotten up at 6:30 everyday this week.

I'll give you an update when I try "breaking the fast" before I workout.

Good luck with your training and diet ventures!

Chris said...


Did you see this recent research on this topic?

it was abotu endurance exercise but interesting nevertheless

Dorian said...

Hi Martin!
Wow, this is the first time I post a comment on your blog even after reading your articles for almost two weeks now.
I've been IFing since the first time I read your blog and went through my first fasted-state workout today. And I must say it was great! Better than any workout I've had in the last couple of months. I was full of energy (perhaps my green tea in the morning helped) and hadn't had the focus as today since long time!

My workout looked as the following:
3 sets deadlifts : 15-20reps
3 sets chins: 6-8reps
3 sets bench press: 8-12reps
1 set military press: 6-8reps
2 sets inverted rows: 10reps
2 sets hanging leg raises: 10reps
2 sets of crunches: 15reps

I had been in fasting state for 16hours when I started working out.

Well, as you can probably see I performed much better overall. I'll be going through fasted-state workouts every time from now on.


Karthik said...

Hi Martin

This is Karthik from India. I am an IART certified HIT trainer and found your website and view on IF, great information. I started my leangains IF yesterday. My feeding time is between 9.00 and 17.00 and then fasting for the next 16 hours. I primarily train Compound movements once or twice a week. this is my second day on IF and I do not feel drained in anyway. I have a workout coming tomorrow morning in fasted state and will update U, if I feel stronger, weaker or the same.


Karthik said...

1) how long is your fast (I take it you would have your first meal post-workout)?

My fast is from 17.00 to 9.00. I worked out today morning at 7.00

2) how does your workout look in terms of volume (total workload in terms of sets and reps)?

I do a full body HIT. 1 set to failure. Slow Controlled movements.
Workout A
1. Hip belt Squats(20 Rep or failure)
2. Standing Overhead Barbell Press
3. Barbell Rowing.

Workout B
1. 20 Rep Deadlift
2. Weighted Dips
3. Weighted Chins

Calf, Grip, Ab & neck Work is split between the 2 workouts that are spaced 3 days apart.

3) overall, do you perform better or worse on an empty stomach vs having a pre-workout meal?

I have always worked out first thing in the morning, empty stomach. But after the long fast last evening, I did not notice any shortage of strength. The usual poundage increases were made and the workout was definitely good.


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

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