People seem to have a strong opinion either way about fasted training. I used fasted workouts on my client and the results were pretty spectacular. I have been using them for many years and on myself too. However, I only used fasted workouts with the following conditions.
1. The client has been eating a specifically low carb diet for some time and has developed a good relationship with food.
2. They don't have a strong psychological link with the need to eat before a workout.
3. They have a good level of muscular condition.
4. They haven' got obvious food or body issues which could turn into an obsessive compulsive disorder.
Even though fasting in this case is merely having a late breakfast, it is very important that you know if it is right for you. First lets have a quick look at why fasting is used.
Fasting is nothing new. There was documentary earlier in the year on the BBC which studied the effectiveness of Fasting. Scientists seem to think it has some interesting applications to health. Some of you may have read "Eat Stop Eat,", by Brad Pilon. He has been talking about the effectiveness of fasting for over 10 years. Also, studies dating back before the 80's show that fat is metabolised quicker when your body has been in a fasted state for 12 hours or more. So people then say, "well you get energy from carbs, or "they can't train without food." I think if it makes you miserable to not eat before your session, don't do it. However, I don't have any scientific information which backs up the NEED to "eat for fuel" for your exercise session. It appears to be mainly psychological. The only thing that will be burnt up when you eat before you train will be what you ate, which will most likely make you hungry. So you eat again and you are back to square one. This is ok if you aren't trying to lose fat.
So how do you train on an empty stomach. Once I have got my clients to become more efficient at burning fat as fuel (not officially tested although you can through having your metabolic rate tested) they are ready to use existing fuel (fat) and muscle energy during the session. We aren't looking at PB's so the session needs to be put together carefully. Preferably a day when you can train early and 12 hours after your last meal. The guy in the recent pictures was fearful he would have the strength of a field mouse, but actually there was no difference at all. However, the session was geared slightly differently. We did a variation of 2 different kinds of workouts (+ others but these were the main ones). The first was similar to Martin Rooney's Hurricane Training. This involves sprints and weights as part of a circuit. Here is one of his.
A1. Bench press 12 reps
A2. Pull ups. 8 reps
A3. sprinting on the treadmill at 14 kph, 10% incline for 30 seconds.
There was no rest in between each exercise but you rest at the end. You repeat this 3 times then pick 2 fresh weight challenges and increase the speed on the treadmill and start your next set of 3. In total you do 9 sets.
Even though we dialled back the weights, he was still banging out 12 reps of bench press at 70 kg. This is not an easy workout.
One of the other workouts we did was German Body Composition (GBC). This again involves weights but you have short rest with 40s worth of work in the muscle. In total my client was working his legs 3 times per week. 2 lots of hurricane training sessions and 1 GBC. Here is a sample GBC session. The rest varied but was never more than 45 seconds between each exercise and we did 4 sets, 8-12 reps except for the last pair of exercises which were higher reps (15-20 reps).
A1. Split squat.
A2. Standing military press.
B1. Weighted step ups.
B2. Chin ups.
C1. Lying dumbbell tricep extension
C2. Incline dumbbell curls.
Again, he was able to shift a significant percentage of the usual weights normally uses.
It can be a minefield looking into fasted workouts and purely for peace of mind, I would suggest speaking to someone knowledgeable about it before you dismiss it as a fad. Unless you have a medical condition, eating a bit later in the day is not something which should cause as many problems as is made out. Again, if it is something you just can't do or don't like the look of, don't do it. It isn't for everyone. Those that can get into it though, do get very good results. Just ensure that you seek professional guidance before you think about doing it. This is purely to help with how it can affect you psychologically as well as what to have as a post workout meal and what to eat the night before.