Doing fasted training vs. continuing while “bonking”

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  • #47114
    WillB
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I’m wondering how deep into bonking territory it makes sense to go during my fasted training sessions. I generally hold up pretty well for about 2 hours just below my AeT in a fasted state and then start to get some pretty significant light headedness, weakness, trouble concentrating, etc. On longer sessions I’ll usually bring an energy bar and eat it when I start to crash, and then I’ll continue on for the duration of the session. I do that because it’s more comfortable, and it seems to be what you all suggest for a fasted protocol. That said I’m wondering if I would get additional fat adaptation benefit for pushing onwards in that bonking state. I’m pretty well attuned to my body and I know I’m not at the point of collapse or passing out or anything, and I don’t really mind training through discomfort, especially in a controlled gym setting. But I also know that in many arenas of training it’s counterproductive to train right up against one’s limit (can invite overtraining, can invite unwanted hypertrophy in strength training, etc.). So would continuing on in a fasted state when I’ve started to bonk help me improve my fat adaptation, or would it actually undermine some element of my training?

    As an aside, I moved to a city without access to hills several months ago, so my uphill training has been on a treadmill (thankfully the local Y has a couple of machines that go up to a 30% incline). I’ve noticed that I seem to bonk faster on the treadmill than in the hills. I usually feel pretty similar after 2 hours climbing on the treadmill as I would after 3 hours climbing in the mountains. The only explanation I can think of this is boredom inside vs endorphins outside, but it’s a pretty marked difference.

Posted In: Nutrition

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #47131

    Will:

    I would not recommend bonking in these fasted workouts. It is likely to slow your recovery and you now doubt slow way down when you bonk. Neither of these is desirable. 2-3 hours is a decent amount of time to do a fasted workout. Not sure you need to push longer unless you get to where 2 hours feels easy with no drop in energy.

    The reason 2 hours on a treadmill takes more energy and makes you feel bonky than a 2 hour hike outside is that the treadmills is unrelentingly all uphill. No flats and no downhills. Also 30% grade is very steep and probably much steeper that you have found outside. A steep trail will be 15-20%. Most are in the range of 10-12%.

    Scott

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