T Nation

IF and Early Morning Workouts


Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any input/suggestions how I can incorporate IF into my diet. I currently wake up around 4AM, train from around 4:30AM to 6AM, kids/work/blah/blah/blah, bed around 10PM.

I have experimented a little with having my last meal around 8PM and not eating until 9 or 10AM the next day. I take BCAAs and caffeine with my workout, and then have herbal tea, coffee, and sometimes a zero calorie/zero carb probiotic drink to get me through until 9AM or 10AM when I have my first meal. I think it helps with my digestive system (I have a lot of issues) and I also feel more awake and energized while fasting, though the hunger pains and growling stomach can be a bit annoying.

My first question/concern - is a 12 or 13-hour fast long enough to have the benefits of fasting? My second question/concern - I am not consuming any pre- or peri-workout nutrition other than BCAA’s. Am I going to lose muscle? I am trying to increase strength and mass, and wonder if the lack of peri-workout nutrition will hinder that? On the days that I have trained fasted, I don’t feel lethargic and have not noticed any appreciable decreases in strength.

Thanks in advance for your input and advice!!


Last meal around 8pm and pushing breakfast until 9 or 10? I hate to say it, but that’s not far from what the normal non-IF people do.

I would make my last meal at 6, and go until at least 10 the next day. I do 6pm to 12 noon, sometimes longer – unless I’m bulking then I just eat whenever. I also happen to work out directly before my first meal because my schedule allows it. I don’t know if I could do a heavy weight lifting session, then go another 5 or 6 hours until breakfast, like in your case.

I did IF for about a year straight to get ripped, and not only did I not lose any muscle, I may have gained a little – although I don’t know how that’s possible in a calorie deficit. Even though I was fasting, I wasn’t totally strict with my calories until I got into single digit body fat levels.