T Nation

Intermittent Fasting, Long OL Training


I know that IF is a pretty banal topic at this point, but please humor me. I posted this in the nutrition forum, but would like to get some insight in these parts.

Anyway, I train early in the morning and was considering trying the Leangains morning protocol:

6 AM: 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA.
6-7 AM: Training.
8 AM: 10 g BCAA.
10 AM: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: The "real" post-workout meal (largest meal of the day). Start of the 8 hour feeding-window.
8-9 PM: Last meal before the fast.

My question is whether anyone thinks this method might not be conducive to relatively long (2+ hours) training sessions? If anyone has similar experience with early morning training, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.



I've tried it. Performance went way down. IF does not work with Olympic lifting because they tend to be ~2 hr sessions, and 5-6 or more times a week. If you look at what Berkhan suggests for lifting while on Lean Gains, it's something like 3-4x a week and 45 min long.


Dang. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.


I think you could do it, but you would need to change some things.

Firstly you would need at least a quarter of your calories (and thus start your feast 'window') half an hour before training. Include carbs, protein, lots of creatine. Keep drinking more slowly throughout your training, then finish your 'real food' feast straight after training. Unfortunately this would mean you go to bed on an empty stomache... not nice! Or you could change your training to night time?


Maybe you could split your sessions to two times a day, like 45mins in the morning (just oly lifts) and the rest in the afternoon (pulls, squats, and accessories).


I might try training 6 days a week, alternating an OL/squat workout with an accessory workout. I might even make the OL days low carb since so few total reps are performed, and everything is in the 1-3 range. I actually like the sound of this idea more than the marathon sessions that i've been doing thrice a week.

The only problem I can think of would be the inordinate amount of BCAA's I would have to consume per week. Something like 180 grams. That shit's pricey.


what about fasting completely once/week. on a non-training day. how does this sound, training wouldn't be effected and you could still get some of the benefits of fasting.


Yeah, I've considered something along those lines. But I feel like only doing it once a week would prevent me from ever getting used to it, making it a recurring, unpleasant chore.

I've tried doing a few 16/8 fasts on my off days recently, and I've felt pretty good. I'm going to give more frequent/abbreviated, fasted training sessions a go. If it doesn't work out, I'm definitely not going to force it, as fasting certainly isn't necessary to get in shape.


im going to try fasting for 1 day/week on my off day from training (Sunday). Ill let you all know how i feel and preform.


If you do LeanGains type of IF w/ oly lifting, definitely have one of your meals pre-workout. And don't dilly dally around when you're in the gym, get your prescribed reps done and get out.


I'm going to give fasting for 24 hours from Saturday night to Sunday night. If I like it and Monday training is good I MAY try doing the 16/8 on Saturday. The other days would not work as I train late at night and it would be impossible to get my kcals in.


Yeah. I do the olympic lifts and I used to compete in a weight-class sport. I did IF to lose fat every once in a while and sometimes still do.

I trained in the mornings (still do, but only 3 times a week), but also had my feeding-window from 7am to around 4pm. I know it's a bit longish window, but it worked for me. If I had another training session in the evening, I threw down a shake afterwards.

It worked fine for me. Basically all I had to do, was skip my regular dinner. It worked nicely during the weekends as well as I tended to eat bigger meals but with a shorter window. I used to weigh around 215 when starting to cut and competed at 186 pounds.


You just gotta want it bad enough.

As far as the actual topic of this thread, I don't have too much to add, but I'm interested in hearing anybody's results/experiences with it. Had a few "accidental" fasts myself but mostly they were bookended by too much shit food to really count, or be helpful (24 hours without food doesn't do much when you have 2-3 grandpa burgers immediately pre and post). Though I will say the psychological aspect of controlling your cravings that comes with a fast could be helpful, especially in a weight class sport where weight management comes into play at the higher levels.


Well, I had my first fasted training session today.

Peanut Butter Andy - I kept your advice in the back of my head and kept it strictly to one hour. Lifting went pretty well. My clean & jerk was way off today, but being an idiot and mis-loading the bar by 10kg probably had a lot to do with it.

Minimal hunger and light-headedness. I don't think I could have lifted any longer even if I'd wanted to. It was actually a nice change of pace to end the workout before feeling completely run down.

Going to have a moderate carb meal now. Tomorrow I'm going to just do some rep work and up the carbs some more. If things go well, I might even consider a 24 hour fast on an off day.

tork94 - let us know how things go for you!


I got very sick over the last 4 days and lost 6lbs, so i probably wont do the fasting until i get my weight back to normal, so MAYBE on sunday, but prob not till next week


I don't see why IF wouldn't work with weightlifting. WLers mainly derive their energy for lifting via the ATP-CP system, which isn't going to be affected by fasting much anyway. The body self-regulates blood sugars and a long training session will simply help you to forget about your hunger (if you're feeling hunger).

Do it I say!


tell that to the Russians... honestly. Most O-lifters do plenty of exercises that go way beyond the ATP-CP system... push press, military press, higher rep back and front squats, etc. And let's not forget about the overall volume of the training session. If you are lifting for 45 min, 3x a week, that's fine. But if you are lifting 5-6x a week for ~2 hrs, you might be fine at first, but your performance will eventually drop.


Are we talking about the Russians? I don't think so!

Obviously, no 1 energy system is used in isolation, BUT the lifting of weights, even sets of 2-3 reps will primarily use the ATP-CP system. Unless you're completely depleting your muscle and glycogen liver stores, which isn't going to happen in 24hrs, then there must be some other factor causing a drop in performance.

I actually know a couple of people using IF at this time and they might not be lifting 6+ times a week but they are lifting 4x weekly, plus fasted sscv work on top and their performance isn't being affected in the slightest


Had my third fasted workout today (second OL session). Again, snatches were fine, but cleans were subpar. I'm not sure if it's just a cyclical training slump or if fasting is making the heavier lifts more difficult.

After I finished cleaning, I stripped the bar down to 70kg to PC into the squat stands. After I racked it, my entire body experienced a tingling sensation and a ringing sound started sweling in my ears. I'm not sure if that was a food thing or a windpipe/breathing thing. I've had experiences in which I've faded during a heavy front squat / clean before, but I don't recall it being quite like that. Luckily I was close enough to the squat stands to dump the bar and lean on them while my head cleared.

Going to continue monitoring my training for another week or so and evaluate.


I compete in PL, so my experience is limited to that. However, I expect the energy system requirements are similar. I have been doing a 16/8 fast for 3weeks now. I Squat, Bench and do a DL assistance movement 3x/week all in the same workout. These workouts last between 1 and 1.5 hours. the other 4 days a week I do extra workouts that last 20-30 min each. These focus on things that need direct work, but aren't hit sufficiently during the main sessions (Usually mobility, abs, upper back, rotator cuff and some mirror muscle).

The fasting hasn't hit my work capacity too hard. I also am in a calorie deficit cause I gained to much weight and need to stay in my weight class. The biggest thing is being tough mentally and pushing through. I feel confident that when I increase my carb intake, my work capacity will improve.