Weight training while fasting


(Jane Srygley) #1

I have developed a theory and would love to hear if anyone has experience to verify this. I have started weight training. I do OMAD twice per week plus one 36-hour fast. I eat a high protein (at least 120g daily) low carb diet (about 10g-50g daily). I’m a 58yo woman and have about 50 or 60 lbs to lose.

My theory is that because I eat a high protein diet and have plenty of fat to burn, I am able to build muscle if I lift weights in a fasted state, especially since it will be first thing in the morning. I believe that I will have enough glycogen to repair my muscles because of all the protein I eat and that this will actually help me produce more ketones during the remainder of my fast.

Has anyone had success building muscle while lifting in a fasted state? Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated thanks :blush:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Good plan! Although I don’t know specifically about weight training, I think any exercise while fasted will help consume onboard body fat. The energy has to come from somewhere and if you’re not eating it there’s only one alternative. If you lift in the morning I suggest you ensure ketosis by eating your last meal the previous day at least 12 hours before the lifting sessions. I also suggest you keep your daily carbs closer to 10 to ensure you remain consistently in ketosis.


I have, but never as good as when I did it fed. I always felt good lifting while fasted including when I used to do multi day fasts, but since I track all my food and my lifts I can say for certain that my muscle gains are better when I’m constantly lifting not fasted. Getting the protein in around your workouts definitely helps.

Definitely track your lifts, if you’re not seeing a progression there’s your answer. On the glycogen, I definitely don’t have enough for my lifts when I’m not sticking carbs around my workouts (I do TKD), whether you do or not depends on your lifting and your goals.

As a whole, IMO the bros got it right with eating to grow. I’ve tried every which way to simultaneously burn fat and gain muscle, and they’re always both been hurt when I don’t focus on one. I still lift either way, but when I’m going for muscle gain I make that the focus. Building muscle burns a lot of fat by itself, so with the exceptions of when I’m cutting, I make that the priority. I let the composition of my diet take care of the fat loss.

(Bob M) #4

I train fasted, and usually wait until I’m hungry to eat. That’s usually 3 hours later. So, if I do a body weight training for 70 minutes from 6am to 7:10am, I’ll eat around 10 am. I eat 2MAD on the days I train.

I normally train M, Th, Sa. This week, I’ll train T, Th, and I may try a 36 hour fast on Wednesday. We’ll see. If not, I’ll try a OMAD PSMF, aiming for as few calories as I can stand.

I would need two of me to see if something else works. I tried a TKD but couldn’t really see a benefit. Then again, I’ve been low carb/keto almost 8 years. I’m also not interesting in getting HUUUUUUGE. I have a completely torn supraspanitus and one repaired one. I want to get more muscle mass, but I don’t want to get too big or re-injure anything.

Also, if you listen to this:

He’s mainly against low carb for high performance (aerobic) exercise. But he says if you’re working out even daily, you can get your stores built up again on keto. It’s when you start training a ton, maybe twice a day, or super high output training, where he thought the evidence supported higher carb.

Again, since I work out 3 days a week, I think I can get all the glycogen I need.

Does it work?

I started the pandemic being able to do 15 pushups. I built to 30, then switched to pseudo-one arm pushups. For instance, one hand normal, one extended. Then one hand normal, one on a ball. Then the ball further from my body. Then one arm on the stairs, steps 3 and 4. Now, steps 2 and 3. I may try true one arm pushups this week, to see if they are possible.

Similarly, with back, I was doing cable rows at an angle (I use a TRX system connected to the ceiling). Now, I flatten that and put my feet on a chair (so I’m lifting way more of my body weight). Then on a stool.

Would I have done even better eating before/after exercise or eating more carbs? I’m not sure I care.


I have been lifting fasted for majority of the last year and a half. I do IF 16/8 - 18/6. Eat nothing in the morning, and lift around noon. I will then either have a meal, or just protein in the form of a whey or pea protein shake (sometimes with added dextrose to help with the next lifting session).

My main goal is fat loss, but my strength is increasing as well. Not as fast as if I were targeting building muscle, but it’s definitely happening.

I’ve hit a plateau, so this week I’m going to do an EF (Monday to Saturday noon) and intending to get 3 weight lifting sessions during the week.

(Jane Srygley) #6

Many thanks for your input! I think I’m going to do 1 day fasted per week and then work out on 2 more eating days.

(Joey) #7

I would simply encourage you to watch your overall caloric intake. You mention that you have 50-60 lbs to lose. Caloric deficit is not your friend, it’s your enemy - especially if you’re trying to use your muscles to push your metabolism higher.

In short, if you’re genuinely hungry, please eat (i.e., healthy fats in addition to sufficient protein).

The weight will come off at a more healthy/lasting pace.