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Fasting while Strength Training


Hey all,

So I had shoulder surgery awhile back that got me out of lifting for some time, so I'm kind of starting from scratch. I have a 1 1/2 hour commute into work every day, where I'm able to get into a gym before most people get there. I've been getting back into lifting under the Starting Strength program, nothing too major or intense, just looking to regain lost ground. On the flip side, I also have about 10 lbs or so that I wouldn't mind losing (I'm 6'1", 195 lbs). Due to how early I'm getting up and trying to get out the door, I can't really wolf down breakfast, so I've been trying out the Leangains 16/8 intermittent fasting approach and fasting from 8 PM until noon the next day. Once noon comes, I essentially try to mash all of the fresh food I can (chicken breasts, salad, fruit, and the occasional protein bars) into my face until 8 PM.

Does this seem feasible to lift between 6:30-8 in the morning and not eat until noon, or am I doing my body a huge disservice? Again, I'm fine with losing a few pounds and I think I've got a lot of ground to recover before I'll start to plateau in lifts from not eating in the morning.

Also, I am aware that Rippetoe would want me dead for blaspheming for bringing the idea up of doing SS while fasting.


Oh man, you have so many options at your disposable. Working out in the morning, is a privilege these days.

There are so many ways you can go on about doing this that anything I say, should be considered more of guidelines rather than a hardcore template-to-be-followed.

First of all, given your situation, I would definitely CBL(Carb-Back Loading). I did it myself when I had a PM job. It was amazing! It will have you eating barely anything in the morning, and all kinds of bullshit you can find in the evening, while gaining muscle and leaning out. I say again, it was amazing, and it worked very well for me. I'm not saying you need to CBL religiously, but personally, I'm not a fan of IF. I am a fan of loading your carbs later in the day, and focus on protein/fiber in the AM.
Personally, I don't follow pre-planned diets anymore, because honestly, the only difference between AuthorA(and his diet) and yourself, is that this guy spent some time learning about nutrition, learning about his own body, and then trying the shit out. Once he realized what worked, he put that into writing and sold it. That's all you would need to do, is to learn a little bit about nutrition, then find out how your body reacts. To learn about basics of nutrition, and about supplements and other things that could help you in your training, check out my other thread here in the beginner section, called "New To Nutrition?..."

As far as your training goes, I think you're in an extremely good place. Working out, on an "empty" stomach, first thing in the morning is amazing! John Kiefer touches on this when he speaks about his CBL tying into your training, but I've never seen as good results (muscle gain and fat loss) as I did when I CBL:ed with fasted training. It was heaven.
Why "empty", well, given that you ate enough carbs the night before, and had perhaps a protein shake in the morning, You can go hardcore in the gym without any fatigue or 'weakness'. I'm not sure how familiar you are with glycogen etc but yeah you could go max-effort on an empty stomach and feel great. Now, someone will definitely say "Hey, you're not fasted if you are consuming a protein shake or BCAAs pre-workout" but this is a process you would have to figure out for your individual self. When I did it, I would wake up, have coffee and go train, but knowing what I know now, I would definitely have some source of protein pre-workout.

Yes, it's very feasible you structure your training this way, HOWEVER, it is very important that you input a solid portion of carbs+protein after your workout. I think you can get away with waiting 1-2 hours after your workout to eat, but that meal, post workout, needs to be hefty in carbs and protein.

I hope some of this shit makes sense, I can't really tell if I'm all over the place or not, but I'm ready to leave the office and go workout.


Hey Claudan I am nit wanting to hijack this thread but I think my question could and can help out the op as well. Right I mainly work 2nd shift and my training usually starts about 6-630am and I am very interested in this carb back loading theory. I have and can find a shit ton of info on it but not much about how to do it if you train in the AM as opposed to 5 or so as the diet says is optimal. Also I only train 3-4 days a week so how do you go about back loading the days you don't train or does nothing change? Thanks for any and all advice or your opinion on the subject.


I don't think you are hijacking any thread, as we were all meant to share knowledge with each other.
To answer your question, IMO, I do not think training in the AM calls for a huge adjustment at all. As I indicated before, CBL with 7am training is the only way I have done it, and I found it very useful and effective.

As far as the diet questions go, I don't think you should make huge changes to your diet, or diet-timing, the only thing I would examine a little closer is the total carb intake. On training days, you can get away with eating a little more carbs, but on OFF days, you still need to eat hefty amount, but a little less than training days.

In the end, you can verify your total intake on ON-and-OFF days by counting calories, but the 'eye' test comes in handy with CBL. Check how you look in the mirror in the mornings to decide whether you need to eat a little less or a little more.


I think the official leangains solution would be to swallow 10-20g BCAA's after you're done working out. Ori Hofmekler would advise you to chug some whey protein 30 minutes post-workout.


If you're dragging in the morning, try some grape juice and protein with your creatine, but honestly I see no problem at all with this--especially if you consume enough from noon-to-8 to keep yourself going.

As long as you're getting your ~1.5x protein amount you'll keep gaining.


Claudan, what was a normal day like on. CBL for you? Training and non training


Thanks for all the replies and for the insight into CBL, guys. For reference, I don't drag in the morning at all by not eating after my workout, I actually feel great except for some hunger pangs, but I have a hard time choking down enough protein during the day from straight chicken breasts and the like.

I used to take Surge Recovery after my workouts, but I felt like it made me gain weight and didn't really agree with me. I just picked up some cheap whey protein, would you guys recommend taking that before breaking my fast around lunchtime with a real meal? If so, how far behind my workout should I take the protein shake?


Intermittent Fasting. I have used it for a year now (operating in austere locales) with excellent results. Dr. John Berardi has a free ebook that is a fast read. Check it out and good luck.


@ricochet how many cals were you getting in and how long was your feeding window?


2200-2500 non-training day
2500-3000 training day (a long mission day I may pump that up to 3200 depending on how I feel) *

Feeding window (depending on mission schedule):
5-8 hours; so my fast is anywhere from 16 to 19 hours

Training Style:
One Day On ~ One Day Off
Thib's Layering System with Barbell Complexes and some powerlifting. **

  • Please note that I work in Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle Easy, Africa so it can be a bit difficult to stick to a strict daily diet but I do the best that I can. IF has helped tremendously as it has been a whole lot easier for me to eat 1-2 meals instead of 3.

** On my Off Days I perform active recovery via light calisthenics; band work; tabata bike/Concept 2 Rower; runs; swims (if I can); etc.


Very solid, I like it. Thanks