Running Faster by Running Fasted?
Current reasons for ‘training on empty’ include not only the desire to mimic what paleo people did, but also the idea that running with no food in the system allows the body to tap into stored fat to use as fuel more quickly than when food is consumed beforehand.
Studies do show that when one engages in fasted training with some regularity, the body does begin to adapt to allow for an increased fat metabolism. This is not only of interest to athletes looking to lean out a bit, but also to anyone racing longer course distances in which optimizing for using this fuel source, fat, while going at faster paces makes our ‘engine’ more efficient.
However, there are some caveats to keep in mind:
If you’re new to fasted training for endurance workouts, start out with shorter, or recovery sessions, done first thing in the morning to see how you respond. A forty-five minute spin on your bike on the trainer, or a thirty-minute recovery run would be good workouts to test how this feels.
Build your way up to longer distances slowly (how long to train fasted tends to vary from person to person, but at the very longest, I wouldn’t recommend longer than a two hour bout), and be sure to recover properly, nutritionally, afterwards, and then gradually return to normal Paleo eating.
DON’T attempt long endurance sessions not having eaten something beforehand, like a homemade Paleo banana, egg and almond butter smoothie, with some baked, salted yam on the side. Heading out for a six-hour ride and a thirty-minute brick run off the back with no fuel is a recipe for disaster and a huge bonk.
Fueling for, and recovering from strength workouts is a whole other story.
Beginning your strength session without having eaten before hand OR having had a snack of JUST protein, for example, some lean, sliced turkey about thirty to forty-five minutes before hand and then waiting roughly the same time to eat a similar snack after the session is currently proving to be a very efficient way at maximizing the body’ production of Human Growth Hormone (HgH), which is often referred to as the proverbial ‘Fountain of Youth’. Its functions include growth of all tissues maintaining a balanced energy level, tissue repair, cell replacement, bone strength, brain function, sexual function, organ health and integrity, enzyme production, integrity of hair, nails, skin and vital organs.
Bottom line- some fasted training can be an important method for some of your workouts, whether you’re an Ironman Triathlete, or a Cross Fitter. More importantly, though, is what you put in your body in ‘big picture’ terms- and all of it should be PALEO!
Feel free to ask me any further questions by joining my group, and be sure to check out my previous article:
Paleo Nutritional & Fitness Counselor
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