Is there a right time and wrong time to schedule your workout, and what about fasted training?
Fact is – no, there isn’t a wrong time to train, but the timing can throw your fasting off and make the process a bit more difficult. This is especially true if fasting is already difficult for you due to the hunger constantly kicking in.
Avoid Morning Workouts & Fasted Training
We know, most people exercise in the morning to get it out of the way for the day. For us to advise against a fasted workout seems counterintuitive. However, when fasting is factored into the equation, the physical activity can increase your appetite. This can make the ensuing hours a real mental battle if you have several more hours of fasting to go.
The typical intermittent fasting (I.F.) schedule lasts anywhere from four to eight hours after getting out of bed. In other words, if you wake up at 8:00am, then you would not consume your first meal until between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. Most protocols recommend a 16-hour fast, give or take an hour or two.
Imagine finishing your workout at 9:00am and having to wait another three to seven hours before you can chow down. Not eating from waking until much later in the afternoon is usually hard enough as it is (unless you do I.F. this way). Throwing in a rigorous physical workout only compounds to your appetite.
When Is The Best Time For Fasted Training?
So, what is the ideal time frame?
Answer: consider working out fasted just before your first meal.
If the first meal of the day is at 2:00pm, then start your workout at around 12:00pm or 1:00pm. Ideally, there shouldn’t be more than one hour between the conclusion of the workout and the first meal.
Alternatively, you can also work out about an hour after your first meal. Perhaps you can eat a small lunch (your first meal) at, say, 2:00pm and head to the gym at 3:00pm and finish at 4:00pm. By the time you return home, it will be almost time for your second and larger meal.
What if You Can’t Work Out in the Afternoon?
If you were to follow the above advice, this would put your workout in the afternoon in most cases. We realize this isn’t realistic for most people who work a typical 9:00 to 5:00 job. In this case, you can always schedule an evening workout session. This would likely put the workout before the final or second to final meal of the day, so this would eliminate any hunger issues.
There seems to be a taboo about working out later in the day. Okay, maybe not so much a taboo as it is considered “less than ideal.” Supposedly, it leads to insomnia and completely throws your bodily rhythm out of whack. Honestly, we don’t know where this comes from. Evening workouts have their benefits. If you exercise in the gym, for example, the facility is less crowded at night. One study also found that anaerobic capacity increases in the evening, leading to more productive workouts.
What If You Can Only Work Out in the Morning?
What if you have a 9:00 to 5:00 job AND family commitments after getting off work? In the evening, you may have to prepare dinner for the whole family, or drop off and pick up the kids from their music recital practice.
Worry not if morning is absolutely the only time you have available. The pointers below show you how to keep your growling tummy in check. And on another note, if you ARE someone who works out in the morning (rather than evening), I’d advise a pre-workout supplement like this one to get you moving.
Manage Your Fasting with These Simple Tips
How are you going to resist the increased hunger pangs? Sure, you can get by through sheer willpower, but that is not pleasant and not feasible on a daily basis. There are ways to help ease the hunger. I just shot a quick video about how to make intermittent fasting and working out easier – click here to watch it.
You’ll be surprised, for example, at how staying hydrated can nullify your appetite. Keep a bottle of water by your desk and sip every few minutes. Often, the body mistakes dehydration for hunger.
Sparkling water makes this even easier as the carbonation helps keep you full longer.
Another strategy is drinking a cup or two of bone broth, which is very fulfilling despite having only about 50 calories per one-cup serving. Add a piece of whole fruit to the equation, and that should quell your hunger just enough to get you through. Fasting doesn’t mean you absolutely have to eschew calories completely. Limiting calories to about 100 doesn’t defeat the purpose of fasting; it’s more a strategy of calorie restriction for fat loss more than anything (though fasting does have significant cognitive benefits as well, among other things).
Other people have also reported reduced appetite when taking a BCAA supplement before their workout. Like broth, BCAAs also contain a little bit of calories and may keep hunger at a manageable level post-workout.
Ditch the Cardio
If you follow a Kinobody program, you know it doesn’t involve traditional cardio. Cardio also increases appetite, causing you to eat more and completely nullifying the calories burned during that session on the treadmill. Hunger levels here tend to be proportional to the amount of energy expended. If you burned 500 calories during that Tae Bo session, you will feel hungry for a 500-calorie meal.
Our take is this: traditional cardio and fasting are not really compatible. The keyword here, though, is “traditional.” This means the typical 40-minute moderate-pace jog or session on the stationary bike.
If you’re a cardio junky, then we recommend you check out the Cardio Abs Mobility program. This can be done on your non-training days and doesn’t interfere with your recovery. Even more relevant, it doesn’t jack up your appetite. Add this to your routine if you’re really gung-ho on the fitness train and want to amplify fat loss results.
Work Out When It’s Best for YOU
In any case, get your exercise in when it’s best and most manageable for you. If post-workout hunger during a fast is a non-issue for you, then by all means train in the morning. Not always, but typically hunger is more prevalent once you reach 12% to 13% body fat level or below. Many people following Kinobody programs have reported this. This is why we suggest a workout later in the day if possible. Gauge your hunger levels to get a feel of what is tolerable for you.
There is a right way to do intermittent fasting and exercise (workout). The benefits of I.F. are wide and far-reaching. However, a morning workout can turn the earlier hours of the day into a hunger fest.
If you can help it, move the training session into the afternoon or early evening. This way, you don’t spend the rest of the day daydreaming about pizza and Ben and Jerry’s.