Monday, September 20, 2010

Fasted Training For Superior Insulin Sensitivity And Nutrient Partitioning

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I had intended to write about something different today, had it not been for this new and exciting study that came out a few days ago. The study, named "Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet", adds to the scientific evidence that shows that fasted training may have unique benefits* that are not obtained with fed state training.

* Previous studies had showed that fasted training improves endurance and increases muscle glycogen stores. There has also been work done that suggests an "anabolic rebound" effect from fasted weight training. Theoretically speaking, fasted training should also aid with "stubborn fat loss", such as lower abs in men and hips and thighs in women.


The new study

Let me briefly summarize the study methodology before I'll talk about the results, which are very interesting indeed.

The main objective here was to find out whether fasted training had the potential to induce superior and favorable adaptations to fat metabolism, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity when compared to fed-state training. The researchers thought this was a hypothesis worth exploring, based on previous studies that showed superior effects of fasted training on fat metabolism and metabolic gene expression. For example, De Bock, et al (2005) and Cluberton, et al (2005).

To test this, they recruited healthy, young males who were reasonably lean and active. The participants averaged 3.5 hours of "physical activity" per week, which I reckon is close to, or less, than what most of my readers engage in. I actually think this is a very strong point of the study. These were not obese couch-potatoes and the results obtained with these subjects should be very applicable to us.

Two weeks before the start of the study, various tests were perform to determine baseline body composition, fitness, diet and health marker values. Then they were randomized into three groups, two of which followed the same diet and training regimen. Only nutrient timing was different.

Training: Two 60-min and two 90-min supervised training sessions per week, always between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. Training sessions consisted of a combination of cycling and running exercise. Intensity was adjusted to each individual and set to 70-75% VO2Max for cycling and 85% VO2Max for running.

The C-group: Fed training. C received a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (675 kcal, 70% carbohydrates, 15% fat, 15% protein) ~90 min before each training session. In addition to that, they drank a beverage containing 1g maltodextrin per kg body weight during exercise.

The F-group: Fasted training. F received the same "breakfast" as C, and the maltodextrin enriched beverage, but in the mid-afternoon.

The CON-group: Control group (no training but the same diet as F and CHO).

Diet: 50% fat, 40% carbs and 10% protein. In essence, a diet closely resembling the Standard American Diet (slightly higher fat intake in place of carbs). The diet was also hypercaloric, providing 30% more calories than the subjects required to remain weight stable (range: 3000-4500 kcal). Subjects received supervised lunches, whereas all other meals, snacks and drinks were provided by the investigators as individual take home food packages.

The duration of the study was six weeks. After the study, new tests were perform to study investigate changes in body composition, fitness, diet and health markers.



Studies show pictures of hot women increase the likelihood of reading blog posts by 1123%. Irrespective of the subject matter. So if you're all out of ideas for pictures, that's a pro tip. I mean it was either this or another lame picture of me running around in the mountains for some sports catalogue. Click the picture to see these women in all their splendor. Then I insist you read on as I report on the (highly interesting) results.


Results

To save some space here, I will not cover the results in the control group. Needless to say, sitting on your ass and overfeeding for six weeks will not result in any favorable changes to any of the parameters covered below (as confirmed by the study). I will only cover the results in the fed (C) and fasted (F) training group and how they compared against each other.

Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity: These are basically two sides of the same coin. Glucose tolerance is correlated with insulin sensitivity and vice versa. Both are important health markers when it comes to determining metabolic health and predisposition, or lack thereof, to metabolic syndrome. In summary, F clearly improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. C did too - but to a much lesser degree than F.

GLUT4: Glucose transporter type 4 is a protein responsible for insulin-regulated glucose transport into the muscle cell. It increased by a whopping 28% in F but only 2-3% in C (not mentioned in the paper but this is my estimate based on the graphs). This partly explains why F saw superior results in regards to glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.

Since GLUT4 is triggered by AMPK, which is increased when glucose availability is low, i.e. during fasted training, one would assume the GLUT4 increase could then be explained by an increase in AMPK. This was found to be true: AMPK increased by 25% in F, which correlated closely with the increase in GLUT4 content.

Muscle glycogen and intramuscular lipid stores (IMCL): Much like your muscle mass stores carbs as glycogen, it also acts as a reservoir for fatty acids. From memory, an average adult has approximately 1800 calories (reference forthcoming if I can find it) worth of fatty acids stored in muscle. In contrast to muscle glycogen, which is preferentially used during high intensity activities, IMCL is used during lower intensity activities.

Similar to the study I covered in this article, muscle glycogen stores increased more in F than in C. However, no significant difference was found in IMCL storage.

Metabolic enzymes: Very fittingly, the same group of enzymes that were investigated in the study I covered in "Fasted Training Boosts Endurance and Muscle Glycogen" were looked at here.

Interestingly, changes in citrate synthase and HAD, two markers for fuel-utilization efficiency, were not different between F and C. However, two other important markers for glucose and fat metabolism, FAT/CD36 and CPT1, were increased by ~30% in F. C saw no increase at all.

Body composition: Now this is very interesting. Despite overfeeding the subjects with 1000 calories or more, F only gained 0.7 kg. From a scientific standpoint, this is deemed insignificant. That is, the gain could likely be attributed to chance or, very likely, fluctuations in body weight due to increased muscle glycogen. This lack of weight gain in F could not be explained by the training regimen. They were still overfed by 15-20% when accounting for the extra activity. This left the subjects with a theoretical surplus of 650 calories per day, on average, which should have resulted in weight gain equivalent to ~3.5 kg after six weeks.

What about C? They gained 1.4 kg, twice as much as F, despite doing the same amount of exercise and consuming the same amount of calories and macronutrients.

Exercise capacity: Time to exhaustion increased to a similar magnitude in both groups (+15%). However, C saw a greater increase in VO2Max. On the other hand, "FATmax," maximal rate of fat oxidation, increased to a much greater degree in F, with no increase in C.

These results are most likely explained both explained by the absence of carbs pre-workout. The greater increase in VO2Max in C is very likely due to the ability to exercise at a greater relative intensity. Maintaining a high intensity is after all dependent on glucose availability, which was abundant in the breakfast-fed and maltodextrin-supplemented group C.

Recall that the fasted group increased VO2Max and peak power output more in the study I covered in "Fasted Training Boosts Endurance and Muscle Glycogen." What might be the reason for these contrasting results? In the older study, exercise intensity was lower, 65% of VO2Max, an intensity where fat oxidation is maximized. Here subjects were much less dependent on glucose availability to fuel the activity.

In this study, exercise was performed at 75-85% of VO2Max, which greatly increased glucose utilization. When exercising at higher intensities than 65% VO2Max, fat oxidation is progressively reduced and becomes almost non-existent at 82-87% VO2Max.

Simply put, C improved VO2Max more as they could train harder due to providing the proper substrates for fueling the activity. On the other hand, F became progressively more efficient at oxidizing fat at higher levels of intensity as evidenced by the increase in FATmax. This is, in turn, could be explained by the substantial increase in the fat burning enzymes FAT/CD36 and CPT1.


My thoughts

As you can see, the fasted training group beat the fed training group on almost all relevant parameters. More importantly for some perhaps, the fasted training group saw significant improvements in all parameters relevant to improving body composition and health, where as the fed training group saw comparatively lackluster results here.

This study strengthens the theories I outlined here, which is that fasted training may provide some unique benefits to those training in the fasted state, whether it be endurance training, conditioning or bodybuilding. However, this study may be somewhat more relevant considering the higher exercise intensity used, which is closer to, albeit not exactly similar, to CrossFit, kettlebell training and weight training. That is, activities which rely on glucose utilization to a greater degree than fat oxidation.

In addition, I found the lack of weight gain during overfeeding in the fasted group very interesting. Given the improvements in glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, metabolic enzymes and maximal fat oxidation rate, it suggests a nutrient partitioning effect that favorably affects how and where nutrients gets stored and burned off.

Carbs may be more likely to be stored as glycogen instead of contributing to fat gain via de novo lipogenesis. Fat that was accumulated in adipose tissue on the day prior may then be more easily released and burnt off during the fasted training session. And so forth.

In summary, a very interesting study, absent any flaws in study methodology, which adds to the mounting scientific evidence speaking in favor of fasted training. It was also fitting to cover it today, as I will be touching on some issues related to the concepts discussed here in my next article.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martin, you rock. I want to have your babies.

STeve said...

Awesome overview, lots of great information.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post Martin, I am curious what proportion of the weight gain in both groups was muscle and fat.

p.s. Been following your leangains (1 meal pre-workout) for the past few months, seeing absolutely amazing, unprecedented results. I really wish I took some progress pictures, endless thanks for the free wealth of knowledge Martin.

Coach Ross said...

The F-Group also did not eat anything for hours post-training?

Mr X said...

So do you still advise pre workout protein?

Daniel said...

Martin, would you consider a workout consisting of 18 sets and ~125 reps total excessive for fasted training.

Reps are mainly 2-8 range, with a few backdown sets in the 10-12 range.

Thanks.

Kimbo said...

Nice post Martin. I'm curious, do you think the results would be similar if one were to use periworkout BCAAs?

Karl said...

Hey Martin,

That was interesting, thanks for the post! Previously you never really issued a recommendation either for or against fasted training, simply stating that they both have unique benefits.

Would you now say that the benefits are stacked in the favor of fasted training and recommend it over fed training?

Thanks,

K Karlshammar

Anonymous said...

LOL @ the picture caption. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Would have been good to see weight training used and measure increases in strength.

In any case, I gotta grab some bcaas and try this or would 1 scoop of whey be fine? I never really understood that fully...(whey v bcaa)

Anonymous said...

cool indepth article here. are you still going to post an article about cardio after strength training?

Matt said...

Martin, you said in this post that AMPK "is increased when glucose availability is low, i.e. during fasted training." I think you have also said that AMPK inhibits muscle protein synthesis, which would seem to be a drawback to fasted training. Is this correct, or am I missing something?

Thanks, really appreciate your blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

The difference between BCAA and whey is that whey possesses a significant calorie content and BCAA do not.

Anonymous said...

The fasted group gained less weight which could mean they gained less lean body mass as well...

Hugo said...

Martin, thank you again for another solid post. Also good job on the pic, I liked it a lot.

Hvatberinn said...

A befitting article, as I've recently started training in this way. I can say without a doubt that there is a positive difference.

I'm an idiot and bought capsule BCAA, but live and learn I guess.

Great summary as well.

Cheers from Iceland, semi neighbor.

Kindke said...

I recently found this study which suggests that Nitric Oxide and AMPK help upregulate mitochondria biogensis.

It does fit together because training fasted no doubt will force your body to adapt itself to using fat alot more, and fat oxidation requires mitochondria.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20643772

indigo said...

One question concerning supplements before training: I've previously seen you recommend 10 g of BCAA or some whey before workout. At this moment I only have peaprotein (M-factor from MyRevolution) that contain about 110 kcal per serving (30g). I break my fast 14:00.

Should I:
1. Take some peaprotein at 12, work out and then eat a bigger meal around 14?
2. Take some peaprotein 14:00, then work out and eat a big meal when I get home?

Anonymous said...

kickass as always

Jeremy said...

Martin, once again you deliver spectacular information.

Thank you

Lukas said...

Another enlightening post. You've inspired me to revisit the idea of fasted training. I'm still wary of applying your fasted training protocol to higher volume weight sessions. I guess there's no way to find out unless I give 'er a try. I noticed that in studies they do not give the fasted group any BCAAs, is your recommendation to ingest BCAAs your way of placating the people who scream 'catabolism'?

joakim said...

Great article as always,

simple question here:

Apart from being completely fasted (e.g. morning after sleep), how many hours have to pass (from let's say a 600 calorie meal) to consider the body is in the fasted state and can reap all the advantages stated in the paper/study above?

questsin said...

1)Does that mean training in the morning before breakfast is a good strategy for non-fasting days? For example following "IF" once per week rather than ADF?

2)How many hours would constitute "Fasting" for non fasting days?

Magnus said...

One thing that strikes me is that the CHO-group ingested carbohydrates DURING the training session. Wouldn't it have been interesting if they just consumed carbs before the training session. I think most people don't consume carbs during a session.
And it doesn't benefit anything anyway in the times that they exercised (at least according to most studies)
It could be a very different result with the different markers then, since the intensive training (75-85% of VO2-max) in itself is very glycogen depleting.
Still it is very interesting that at the same caloric intake we get so very different results in the different markers.
But would love to see it with just weight training (with less probable glycogene depletion, especially with heavier loads) and without the carbs during the exercise.

Anonymous said...

"fasted training may provide some unique benefits to those training in the fasted state, "

i assume the last fasted is a typo and you mean "fed state"?

geert said...

I always thought that maltodextrin enriched beverages were absolute crap.

Thoughts,anyone?

Congrats on your blog,Martin,simply the best out there.

Keep debunking those myths!

Blahblah said...

Hey Martin - Awesome study. I do have a question though. You said...

"Despite overfeeding the subjects with 1000 calories or more, F only gained 0.7 kg."

"They were still overfed by 15-20% when accounting for the extra activity. This left the subjects with a theoretical surplus of 650 calories per day, on average, which should have resulted in weight gain equivalent to ~3.5 kg after six weeks."

"What about C? They gained 1.4 kg, twice as much as F, despite doing the same amount of exercise and consuming the same amount of calories and macro-nutrients."

Since "C" did not do anything different i.e. they didn't IF, the energy balance equation should hold true and they should have gained ~ 3.5 kgs in 6 weeks right?

I understand that the 0.7 kgs is negligible and very low compared to the expected 3.5 kgs weight gain. But the 1.4 kgs gained by "C" is also much lesser than the expected 3.5 kg weight gain. How can this be explained?

Anonymous said...

that's exactly what I was going to ask

indigo said...

Geert:
Scroll down to "Maltodexshit" in this post:
http://www.leangains.com/2009/07/questions-answers.html

Anonymous said...

@Blahblah:

Overfeeding never results in perfectly accurate weight gain. The body does protect against weight gain also, but to a much lesser extent than it does against weight loss.
You'll find, with lots of individual variance, that NEAT will increase to partially attenuate the weight gain.

I believe martin has mentioned this on his site, or it might have been lyle @ bodyrecomposition.com

LayzieBone085 said...

Since I have utilized fasted training, I have had my beset results in the gym period. The best gains (while during a bulk), and I maintained my strength almost the whole way through a 23 week contest prep to the stage. I have to say this suits my lifestyle, and it clicks for me (using 10g of BCAA Pre/Intra Workout)

For those who have not tried it, give it a shot. Rock a pre-workout beverge of your choice and kill the gym, and the best part is hitting a PWO meal that is over 50-60% of your calories for the day!

Great article Martin, keep the good stuff rolling.


Also -- We need a cheesecake update...

geert said...

Indigo,

Thanks for the (fast) reply.

Joe said...

Word, cheesecake or die.

Plus a lot of the people posting questions here should review the relevant blog posts Martin has made before on the subject in question. On top of that they shouldn't sweat it too much. Questions such as "which is better whey or BCAA?", "purely fasted or BCAA?", "how many hours have to pass to be considered a fasted state?", and "when should I take my protein/how important is it to eat right after working out", have all been addressed. While I could answer them, A) it's not my place and B) you get a lot more excellent information from reading(or more thoroughly reading) the relevant blog posts.

Blue said...

Martin do you have clients that have trained fasted without BCAA's, and seen a significant lack of progress? I'm wondering if the BCAA recommendation is theory or something you have seen first hand.

Nice pic on the post, a nice break from my retarded day today.

Tuplad said...

Interesting.

Martin, I've got a question for you though...

In the morning, I drink a cup of tea with a heaped tea spoon of honey. Is it still considered “fasted” state if I exercise after that ?

malpaz said...

hmmm maybe the lower end protein left for nutrient partioning in favor for fat/cho when the fast group did eat. fasting plus only meeting essential protein(.8-1g ?) coupled with mod fat/cho may be a good diet plan afterall.

Mountain Dew said...

I'm a little confused. The study was for fasted training with a fat-rich diet but the diet of the study groups were carb-rich. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Martin, thanks for bringing up this interesting study.

However, if I understand the setup correctly, I do not see that from the results it can be concluded that fasted training is superior to training in the fed state.

It looks like the C-group did not do any fasting at all. They had their breakfast in the early morning, and nothing else is said about intermittent fasting.

The F-group did an intermittent fasting protocol similar to leangains, and their training time happened to coincide with their fasting window.

Therefore, it is not clear whether the superior results of the F-group are due to training in the fasted state, or just due to following an IF protocol.

I think the study should have included yet another group following the same IF window as the F-group, but training in the late afternoon/evening. Only by comparing this imaginary third group with the F-group, it would be clear that training in the fasted state, and not fasting itself, is the cause of the observed benefits.

In any case, the study adds to the growing pile of evidence that IF is a worthwhile body recomposition strategy.

Ryan @ Fat Loss Informant said...

Awesome Post!

Thanks for writing up the study results.

I have been training in a fasted state for a while, and have noticed significantly better results, as well as more energy during my workouts. (ie they are more intense)

Thanks for this awesome Post,
Keep up the good work.
Ryan "The Fat Loss Informant"

Ben said...

Hey Martin,

Do you implement off-weeks and/or deload weeks in your training regimen. I know that you workout 3x every 8-10 days, so I was wondering whether or not you find off weeks necessary.

-Ben

JMT said...

Seems like Colpo is wading in to the IF discussion with his own debunking theory:

http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=551

Thoughts Martin?

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Very interesting post Martin, I am curious what proportion of the weight gain in both groups was muscle and fat. "

Here are the results from skinfold measurements (sum from 12 sites in cm) in C vs F.

C, before: 121.2 ± 11.0
C, after: 127.8 ± 11.2

F, before: 139.7 ± 11.7
F, after: 141.3 ± 11.5

As you can see, the carb-group gained 6.6 cm on skinfolds while the fasted group only gained 1.6 cm.

From this it can be concluded that most, if not all, of the extra weight gained in C was in the form of fat mass and not muscle. The skinfolds in the fasted group barely moved.

Martin Berkhan said...

Coach Ross,

"The F-Group also did not eat anything for hours post-training?"

Nope. They ate their first meal in the afternoon but the paper does not specify when exactly.

MrX,

"So do you still advise pre workout protein?"

Yes

Daniel,

"Martin, would you consider a workout consisting of 18 sets and ~125 reps total excessive for fasted training."

Yes and I'd consider that excessive irrespective of the fasted state.

Martin Berkhan said...

Kimbo,

"Nice post Martin. I'm curious, do you think the results would be similar if one were to use periworkout BCAAs?"

Yes

Matt,

"Martin, you said in this post that AMPK "is increased when glucose availability is low, i.e. during fasted training." I think you have also said that AMPK inhibits muscle protein synthesis, which would seem to be a drawback to fasted training. Is this correct, or am I missing something?"

No, that's correct. I will cover that in the next article on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Man, this recent info along with all of Martin's other discoveries is nothing short of amazing.He's turning the bodybuilding world with all of its so called experts on it head! thanks man, when is the book coming out. I cant wait to support you financially.

Martin Berkhan said...

Joakim,

"Apart from being completely fasted (e.g. morning after sleep), how many hours have to pass (from let's say a 600 calorie meal) to consider the body is in the fasted state and can reap all the advantages stated in the paper/study above?"

It's hard to say due to the numerous variables playing into this (i.e. calorie/macrocomposition of your last meal, etc) but I touched on this issue here:

http://www.leangains.com/2010/06/intermittent-fasting-and-stubborn-body.html

'...In short-term fasting there's a significant increase in subcutaneous FFA oxidation. That's just a fancy way of saying that you're mainly burning body fat and nothing else. For up to 14-20 hours* after a 600-calorie meal in normal-weight subjects, fat is only mobilized from body fat stores in resting individuals.'

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

" 'fasted training may provide some unique benefits to those training in the fasted state, '

i assume the last fasted is a typo and you mean "fed state"?

No. Those training in the fasted state may see unique benefits from their training. Not sure how you're reading it to get that completely backwards.

Blahblah,

"I understand that the 0.7 kgs is negligible and very low compared to the expected 3.5 kgs weight gain. But the 1.4 kgs gained by "C" is also much lesser than the expected 3.5 kg weight gain. How can this be explained?"

By

1. Average calorie intake was lower than I calculated. The range given was 3-4500 calories, so I mean intake was in the middle of that at 3750 kcal/day. This is a potshot since no details are given re: individual intakes, e.g. it might be that most participants were overfeeding on 3-3500 kcal and only a few doing 4-4500 kcal. This would lower the average intake and my estimation of the surplus.

2. Metabolic rate increases slightly (5-10%) during overfeeding which explains some of the less-than-predicted weight gain.

Martin Berkhan said...

Blue,

"Martin do you have clients that have trained fasted without BCAA's, and seen a significant lack of progress? I'm wondering if the BCAA recommendation is theory or something you have seen first hand."

No.

You don't need to visit the moon to verify that it's not a giant golf ball floating around up there.

The research on pre-workout BCAAs and muscle protein synthesis is rock solid.

Martin Berkhan said...

Mountain Dew,

"I'm a little confused. The study was for fasted training with a fat-rich diet but the diet of the study groups were carb-rich. Am I missing something?"

Well, maybe the title is somewhat misleading since the diet was high in both fat and carbs. Basically the shittiest diet setup imagineable.

JMT,

I will address that soon but I'm baffled by Colpo's sloppiness and dishonesty.

1. He does not mention that DEHYDRATION is a major fucking issue and negatively affects performance during Ramadan when he cites those studies.

2. The rest of the studies are cherry-picked to show only negative effects. For example, he does not mention those numerous studies that show no decrease in REE after ADF/IF or fasting. Nah, he picks the ONE AND ONLY study that shows a decrease.

He even refers to Alan's review at the end. Alan changed his stance long ago:

http://www.leangains.com/2010/03/alan-aragon-on-intermittent-fasting.html

I find his behavior really bizarre and out of character. His articles are usually good and well researched and I suspect he's just after some extra traffic because he knows IF is a hot topic.

Nothing wrong with a little link baiting but it does not excuse his sloppy and misleading article.

How convenient that he's turned off comments on his blog.

Anonymous said...

Why cannot they ever do a study on a real high fat (65% +), low carb (under 5%) diet with fasting and resistance training? I bet the results would shock the researchers. A high fat diet combined with training and fasting is fantastic for energy and body composition. They keep messing the studies up by using carbs, especially pure sugar.

Katelyn

Neander said...

@ Martin B.:

You should watch this extremely biased and negative article on IF:

http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=551

Fredrik Gyllensten said...

Very interesting indeed.

One question; Doesn't AMPk suppress mTOR activity? Which could be bad as far as muscle increases go..?

Alex said...

We need either the book or a post about IF for LEAN GAINS!

It seems like you've shifted towards fat loss and strength gains.

What do you think of maintenance + 50% during training days and maintenance on rest days for bulking?

How did you do your 20lbs gain bulk?

Cole said...

Martin, im sure you have covered this before, but when on the I.F diet (say trying to cut weight or maitenance) are you muscles' glycogen stores more full than if trying to cut on a regular low carb or carb cycling diet? thus eliminating the "flat" look we get when we usually cut?
-thanks for all the time you put in to this

Martin Berkhan said...

Cole,

If you're doing it like you're supposed to AKA per the Leangains guide guidelines then yes.

Martin Berkhan said...

Neander,

Read

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/9b9ea115a41168c26cdf6dfc015726d1

Martin Berkhan said...

Fredrik,

Yes, and I will cover that topic soon. Stay tuned.

Fredrik Gyllensten said...

Ok, I will :-)

Anonymous said...

This was regardin training in the morning, but what about training in the afternoon/evening, how long before training can you eat and still call it fasting?

Martin Berkhan said...

That would be impossible to say since it's dependent on so many factors. I.e. what you ate, when, macrocomposition of the meal, metabolic rate, etc.

Anonymous said...

you are saying that one group gained 0.7kg and the other 1.4kg, what about change in the precipitants body fat %?

Anonymous said...

Martin, interesting study. Does the fact that the workouts were more cardio-based versus heavy resistance training impact the outcome of the study?

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

I wrote above

"Here are the results from skinfold measurements (sum from 12 sites in cm) in C vs F.

C, before: 121.2 ± 11.0
C, after: 127.8 ± 11.2

F, before: 139.7 ± 11.7
F, after: 141.3 ± 11.5

As you can see, the carb-group gained 6.6 cm on skinfolds while the fasted group only gained 1.6 cm.

From this it can be concluded that most, if not all, of the extra weight gained in C was in the form of fat mass and not muscle. The skinfolds in the fasted group barely moved."

Don't know what it amounted to in terms of body fat % increase but you can find out based on those readings.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

Yes, no doubt.

Too bad there's no similar study on fasted state strength training. This is the closest comparable study on resistance training:

http://www.leangains.com/2009/12/fasted-training-boosts-muscle-growth.html

Steve said...

Hey Martin,

what would you advise if you get a cold (I know you don't)?

Should you continue with intermittent fasting? Or take a break?

Scott said...

One of your conclusions makes no sense. You said: "Intensity was adjusted to each individual and set to 70-75% VO2Max for cycling and 85% VO2Max for running."

So C _did not_ train any harder than F, at least according to the methodology you listed.

But you concluded:
"The greater increase in VO2Max in C is very likely due to the ability to exercise at a greater relative intensity."

...and...

"Simply put, C improved VO2Max more as they could train harder due to providing the proper substrates for fueling the activity."

But _neither_ group trained at a higher intensity. Unless you're suggesting that VO2max was tested daily or weekly (and improved enough in 6 weeks to affect training intensity), or that one can increase their VO2max simply by carb loading.

I'm confused, could you explain how you arrived at your conclusion?

Martin Berkhan said...

Scott, I don't see how I can explain it any clearer than

carbs = "ability to exercise at a greater relative intensity."

Alternatively, glucose supplementation = beneficial to adaptations at higher % V02max.

Studies on lower % V02max fasted = no benefit of glucose supplementation.

Silje Mariela - BodyWork said...

Awesome post Martin.
I`m a big fan of IF, and I now get results that I could only dream of. Despite of a pretty huge kcalintake, I stay lean, and I have som much more energy than before. Gotta love it !:)

Roland said...

Hello Martin

I have been reading your articles non-stop ever since I discovered your blog and have begun the IF protocol.

Currently this is what I am doing and its my second week following this from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday are my days off
4:00am 1 VPX Meltdown
5:30am 5g Glutamine, 3g
Arginine
6:30am Weight Train & Cardio
8:00am 45g Whey Protein
Post Workout - FIRST MEAL
9:30am 6 Eggs with
Broccoli, Oatmeal &
Almonds - FIRST MEAL
12:00p Steak or 2 Chicken
Breast with Veggies
(Broccoli & Green
Beans) - Second Meal
3:00p 30g Whey Protein
5:00p Steak or Fish with
Veggies (Brocolli &
Green Beans) LAST MEAL

Please let me know your input as I consider it highly valuable.

I can't effing stand 6 meals throughout the day as I am always hungry. I've always preferred the 3 large meals which is extremely ideal for me and finally reading your posts has not only put me at ease but a big glow on my face!

I wish you all the best and continued support in your vast knowledge on this terrific nutritional approach and looking forward to being one of your guinea pigs.

Much love from Kuwait!

Feral Boy said...

I'd forgive the casual surveyor of your blog's comments for concluding that your average reader is intellectually challenged. (Typical query: Is it OK to eat while I'm fasting? Or, Here's my detailed diet and training diary--it doesn't conform to your explicit and oft repeated recommendations. Is that OK?)

However, it strikes me that Scott's concern (from Nov 18) is valid and deserves more than your flip response. He quoted you: "Simply put, C improved VO2Max more as they could train harder due to providing the proper substrates for fueling the activity."

Well, perhaps C COULD have trained harder, but according to your synopsis C DIDN'T train harder: "Intensity was adjusted to each individual and set to 70-75% VO2Max for cycling and 85% VO2Max for running." I.e., C and F both trained at the SAME (relative) intensity, leaving Scott (and now me) to wonder if "one can increase their VO2max simply by carb loading."

How about revisiting your conclusion?

P.S. Thanks for all the info you've posted. It's easy to take the simple principles you espouse and apply them to almost any specific situation. Afterward, of course, one evaluates how well the application worked and can then adjust this or that variable in order to optimize results for his specific situation and goal. Without needing your permission.

P.P.S. Now I join the unfettered masses: Where's your fucking book?

Alex said...

Did my first fasted weight training session today(BCAAs + a little whey pre-workout). Got a crazy mental charge and reached a PR on weighted chins!

Didn't take long to convert me, thanks Martin!

muscular strength size said...

Amazing post!
Its crazy how the group that was fasted made better gains then the other group.

Crazy how those physiques were built off solely fasted training!

Christopher Stigson said...

I think this study ALSO shows that IT'S NOT ABOUT CALORIES, but HORMONES in the body...

They ate the same and trained the same (except at different times), yet one group gained MORE weight and another didn't gain as much?

What made one group gain more weight and the other less if not hormone balance?

Calories are crap, hormones rock!

Anything to get your hormones in check (insulin sensitivity/resistance/GH/IGF-1/Catacholamines) etc is a good plan...

Do you agree here or how does "calories in vs calories out" work here, as it CLEARLY DOESN'T matter or produce the same results in both groups?

Please elaborate or show me studies that make calories matter more than hormones...

Except for where the calories end up, in glycogen or adipose tissue etc because of a different hormonal environment...

I am onto this whole hormonal environment thing instead of the calories... That having hormones in check and overeating produces muscle, and "eating less" in the right hormonal state causes fat loss... Am I correct to make this assumption?

JoshuaChance said...

Hey Martin, great advice. I don't have access to a gym due to financial reasons, do you think it would be alright if I did bodyweight movements? Such as Pullups/Chinups (I have a Pullup bar) Pushups and Tricep Dips etc. Just for the time being, untill I gather enough money for a membership. :)

forcefan27 said...

Martin,

I will be training for a body recomp: 4 days/week, upper/lower split, +500kcal training days, -500kcal rest days. I am using a Bodymedia device to help track daily calorie expenditure. Should I base my intake on what the BM says is my (varied) daily maintenance or should I just go for 3000kcal on traing days and 2000kcal on rest days. Using the BM device, I estimate my maintenance is around 32300-2500...give or take. Thanks! -JC

Sandeep said...

Martin, ive been in the rut of doing weights for 5-6 days a week, doing isolation exercises one body part a day - 5 variations etc (i know youre banging your head agaisnt the desk :))

I discovered your site a week ago, and the 16/8 setup feels great so far. I am trying the high intensity low volume 3 days a week workouts, aiming to spend 40 mins a session. But not quite sure which exercises to do. Would be great if someobody could post a sample workout for a week.

Many thanks,
Sandeep

Anonymous said...

Martin, surely you must question further where the average 650 calorie surplus went? I'm guessing the reason weight hardly increased is the excess calories were turned into fat while muscle tissue was wasted during the high intensity fasted exercise. You say yourself you need BCAA to be doing fasted training.

Brian L. said...

This was awesome to read. I've also been reading the Leangains web page I think it's amazing. However, I have a few questions and concerns of my own after trying this for the last 3 weeks. I know that is a short period of time, but maybe you can redirect me. I've been using Livestrong to track my calories and macronutrients and I'm really at a loss as to why I'm not losing any weight. I keep hearing the formula for losing weight (fat) is a calorie deficit. Now I'll begin with my composition as is. I'm 37 years old, 5'9" and weigh 190lbs probably 18%bf. Maintaing calorie count is 2230/day. I really would love to get to 170lbs. I've been eating a total calorie count of 1530 cal/day which is supposed to lead to 1.5lbs of weight loss per week. Well it hasn't, and Im getting frustrated. Most of these calories are 40% Protein, 40% carb and 20% Fat. I'm lifting heavy 3x/week and very light cardio on off days(walking). Any suggestions on why I'm not losing weight despite a calorie deficit? I should have already dropped 4.5lbs by now. Thanks for any responses.

Brian

Brian L. said...

This was awesome to read. I've also been reading the Leangains web page I think it's amazing. However, I have a few questions and concerns of my own after trying this for the last 3 weeks. I know that is a short period of time, but maybe you can redirect me. I've been using Livestrong to track my calories and macronutrients and I'm really at a loss as to why I'm not losing any weight. I keep hearing the formula for losing weight (fat) is a calorie deficit. Now I'll begin with my composition as is. I'm 37 years old, 5'9" and weigh 190lbs probably 18%bf. Maintaing calorie count is 2230/day. I really would love to get to 170lbs. I've been eating a total calorie count of 1530 cal/day which is supposed to lead to 1.5lbs of weight loss per week. Well it hasn't, and Im getting frustrated. Most of these calories are 40% Protein, 40% carb and 20% Fat. I'm lifting heavy 3x/week and very light cardio on off days(walking). Any suggestions on why I'm not losing weight despite a calorie deficit? I should have already dropped 4.5lbs by now. Thanks for any responses.

Brian

Herbal weight loss product said...

Thanks for the superb info. Proper ratio or proportion of fat and muscles is to be known & to maintain that is must. Control program is very nice. I like this info.

Anonymous said...

I'm an ectomorph, I have slow recovery. So doing squats on Fri, then DL on Monday only gives me 2 days recovery on my glutes and lower back. Should I extend the rest days or what? Thanks in advanced.

crims said...

So you feed a goup of people a bunch of carbs then compare it to people who are fasted and claim fat oxidation is increased? This is load of crap. Why not measure these markers after the IF group consumed their food and compare it to the other group? If offense no metabolic advantage. Calories control the hormones. 2000 calories in 1 meal or 10 meals same hormonal concentration over a 24hr period. I also have a question, why did you steal IF and claim it's yours? Ori Hofmekler is the original creator.

free weight loss ebook said...

intermittent fasting training sure works, as like what Twin Muscle Workout constantly used to preach on youtube, I tried it out and well, surprisingly it did for me too. Recommending it to everybody out there reading this post!

Unknown said...

Hi Martin, my name is Douglas, I love your blog, I am Brazilian and my English is horrible, I'm 22 years old and 95 kg of 22% BF, I am interested in following your lifestyle "LeanGains" but I'm not sure following that training, I have 168 cm tall, the gym I started a workout "a / B / C" with sets of 15 to 20 reps, I'm sorry to be asking for your help here, my English is terrible and not read their consigui articles clearly, but I'm tired of wasting time with workouts and diets false, thanks ...




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

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