Clarification on Fasted Training (60-120 mins) v. longer sessions

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  • #61729
    Melissa Macdonald

    I am apparently having a comprehension problem here. So according to the below article, and scouring the other forums and TFNA, and Rebecca’s podcasts, I’m hoping to get at least a “general” confirmation of what I have learned.

    A standard fasted aerobic session should be reserved for our shorter (say, morning Z1/Z2 treadmill walk) sessions of 60-120 mins max, followed by a recovery snack within 30 mins (mainly protein/some carb), and then within an hour a standard breakfast with balance of protein/carb).

    Strength days: we *should* have fuel beforehand, mainly protein? (TFNA p. 299) We should not strength train fasted. Right?

    BUT, on long days such as a 8-10 hour weighted hike, we should carb load the night before (TFNA pgs 301-303), have a big breakfast 3-4 hours before (TFNA p. 294), another snack 30-60 mins before (TFNA p. 299), and also fuel every hour or so with carbs and some protein. Post-long days, recovery snack right after (mix of carb/protein), followed by protein-heavy dinner. OR was that carb loading stuff meant only for before our actual event/CLIMB/Race?

    The difference between “aerobic workouts” and use of the words “training sessions” was confusing since they were intertwined at times. You should see my poor notes with circles and arrows and cross-outs…. 🙂

    Article referenced:

    Thanks to anyone with any advice/help.

Posted In: Nutrition

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    emilieskadi on #67938


    I don’t know that there are any hard answers to your questions here…

    generally speaking you are most definitely correct that you should be fueling before strength work-outs, I’m not sure the macros that should be but I believe from all I have read a fairly even macro base would be good, maybe slightly heavy on the carbs. Protein is usually considered more important afterwards (but also carbs after as well). I believe before and after you want a fairly well rounded diet with very little junk food from what I have always heard (if you’re gonna do junk food try not to do it in that re-fueling window after a hard workout.) I believe if you saw reference to intake of carbs or even calories before a session it was likely a harder training session, z3/4 or a weight training session. I could be wrong but that’s my take on it!

    Regarding fasted training. I feel like a key piece of what’s missing is the zone that you are in. It really has nothing to do with time out there or even how much your pack weighs. If you have worked up to it you can do substantial time on feet in a fully fasted state. As long as I stay in z1/2 (I like to lean more on the z1 side for the really long ones) I do many 20+ mile days in the mtns after cutting off at an early dinner the night before. The key to fasted training is to work up to it and to NOT push too hard in the beginning. Sometimes for ski-mo adventures with a heavy pack I will only take calories for when the mtn gets really steep and I don’t want to go mind bogglingly slow and keep it in z1. I believe I am in a pretty good place now personally and maybe I could walk this line a little tighter (but since I’m not looking for huge gains with my training I’m just happy knowing I can go for 24+ hours at a decent pace without actually needing ANY calories. I will admit though, I have PLENTY of fat stores to pull from! 🙂

    I’m not sure if that helps at all? I’m no coach by any means, just have been playing with the long fasts and long runs since it means less weight I have to carry in the mtns. And if I have to stay in z1 for training I might as well be doing it fasted (it gives me an excuse to stay in z1, cause mentally that’s really tough for me to go this slow and easy!)

    Mariner_9 on #67961

    In addition to emilieskadi’s comprehensive response:
    – fuel for muscular endurance workouts as well as for strength workouts
    – from memory, I think the idea is that you can fuel for Z1/Z2 workouts if you care about your performance on those (though not obvious to me why you would or should if they’re simply training)
    – for more background on timing of protein consumption, there are a couple of relevant episodes of the Science of Ultra podcast, specifically the interviews with Stuart Phillips (episode 11) and Luc van Loon (episode 42). I’ve had issues with posting external links but you can find these easily enough via your favourite search engine


    LindsayTroy on #68115

    For strength training (and probably ME training) you don’t want a high fat pre/post workout snack since fat will slow your digestion. I think the wisdom is low fat, and 2:1 carbs:protein.

    As for fasted training, all of the research has been done on men and I remember reading on here and starting to see elsewhere that it doesn’t have the same positive effects on women that it does on men.

    emilieskadi on #68116

    How interesting!! I hadn’t heard that it didn’t have positive effects for women!! I seem to do well with a fasted workout (as long as I keep it on the low end); but I don’t know if it’s really serving me in anyway? Mentally, sure since now I have confidence to go without food… but if it’s not really helping (or maybe it’s hindering) my metabolism I would be super curious to hear about that! I wonder if we can get the UA dietician to weigh in on benefits of fasted training for women.

    Hopefully some of this discussion has helped Melissa and I didn’t highjack her thread in any way!

    LindsayTroy on #68124

    Here is what I was remembering!

    Fasted training for women

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