Almost every gym-goer takes pre-workout supplements for a quick boost in energy and performance that will help them train at their highest level – this is what has made these supplements so popular! However, another thing has been rising in popularity in the fitness world... intermittent fasting.
For those who don't know, intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. Many have combined fasting with working out to reap the supposed fat-burning benefits. However, fasting involves refraining from caloric food and drinks... so does this mean pre-workout supplements are off the table?
The answer may not be as simple as it may seem! In this article, we'll be covering what it means to work out in a fasted state, and whether pre-workout powders and other supplements break a fast or not.
What are fasted workouts?
Fasted workouts involve working out in a fasted state, meaning working out on a completely empty stomach. To achieve being in a fasted state, you must be fasting for 6+ hours, but it really depends on the size of your last meal. Many people do this by following an intermittent fasting diet, meaning they fast for 12+ hours at a time. So, typically a person will start their fast at 6 p.m. and wake up in the morning for a fasted workout!
But what's the point? What are the benefits of fasted workouts?
There are two main benefits and reasons why gym-goers like to workout fasted...
- It utilizes fat better: When you exercise in a fasted state your body has finished processing and absorbing all nutrients and insulin levels are dropped to a minimum level. So, instead of tapping into glycogen stores for energy, your body taps into your fat stores! This doesn't necessarily mean you'll burn more fat in a fasted state than in a fed state, but there is better fat utilization. This is especially true when performing low to moderate-intensity exercise.
- It helps increase the growth hormone: Fasting can promote weight loss, but it can also help for those wanting to build muscle. The human growth hormone (HGH) helps make new muscle tissue and improves the way our bodies break down glucose without using oxygen. And fasted workouts have been linked to helping increase this hormone!
Will pre-workout break a fast?
If you're fasting for religious reasons, yes pre-workout will break a fast. But for those following intermittent fasting, it all depends on the ingredients it contains!
On the upside, performance-enhancing ingredients found in pre-workouts don't contain calories and therefore won't break your fast. The problem is that these ingredients are often mixed with various sweeteners and flavors, like sorbitol, maltitol, dextrose, and maltodextrin. These sweeteners are used to make the pre-workout powders taste good, but some of these ingredients contain calories that can raise insulin levels and therefore break your fast.
So, to make sure your pre-workout doesn't break your fast, look at the nutrition label and ingredients list! A pre-workout that has 5 calories per serving is most likely fine because it will have little to no impact on insulin levels – take our Pre-Workout for example! It has only 5 calories, it's naturally flavored, and doesn't contain ingredients that will break your fast.
Pre-workout ingredients that won't break a fast
If you want to make sure that your pre-workout won't break your fast, avoid ones with 10+ calories, sugar, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Leucine, isoleucine, and valine do contain colors and will raise your insulin levels enough to break a fast. If you don't want to break your fast, save your BCAA supplements for your post-workout recovery!
Now, let's look at what ingredients won't break a fast...
- Beta-alanine: A naturally occurring amino acid that helps reduce exercise-induced fatigue and helps you push harder for longer!
- Betaine: This is another amino acid found in various foods that helps boost muscle endurance and increases strength.
- Caffeine: Aside from boosting your energy, caffeine boosts metabolism, improves strength, and promotes muscle endurance. Plus, our Pre-Workout contains all-natural caffeine so you don't get a fast energy burst that quickly comes crashing down!
- Creatine: Most lifters take creatine on its own, but it's safe to take it in your pre-workout if you want to work out fasted! Creatine helps boost muscle and strength gains, improve anaerobic endurance, reduce muscle damage, and more!
- Citrulline malate: This is an amino acid known for improving muscle endurance, aerobic performance, and relieving muscle soreness.
- L-theanine: This is another amino acid that is known primarily for increasing the production of nitric oxide and helps improve your focus while training.
- L-tyrosine: Similar to the amino acids l-theanine, l-tyrosine helps improve concentration and focus so you can laser in on your workout.
Choose your pre-workout wisely
If fasted workouts are something you enjoy and want to continue doing, or want to give a try, you can still enjoy a scoop of pre-workout! Just make sure that it has less than 5 calories, and doesn't contain sugar, or BCAAs. And remember to look at the ingredients list!
Why choose 373 Lab's Pre-Workout?
Aside from tasting great and not breaking your fast, our pre-workout has...
- 150mg of natural caffeine for a surge of sustainable energy.
- Naturally flavored to give you a delicious and refreshing dose of pre-workout.
- 4g of Citrulline Malate to help increase blood flow.
- 2g of Beta-Alanine to boost muscular endurance and help shuttle lactic acid.
- 200mg of L-Theanine to help increase energy and focus without the jittery side effects and post-workout crash.
- 500mg of L-Tyrosine to improve concentration and focus.
Get the edge you need to train at the highest level with 373 Lab Pre-Workout.