The Benefits Of Fasted Exercise, Busting the Myth of the Pre and Post Workout Meal, Who Shouldn’t Fast & Much More!

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This podcast is the official recording of a talk on “fasted exercise” I gave at Dr. Dan Pompa's recent “Live It To Lead It” conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

Consider this…

Millions of people around the world don't know what or even when their next meal will be. Because of this uncertainty, they move as little as possible so as to conserve as much energy as they can.

Meanwhile, you and I have the luxury of actually choosing not to eat while food is in abundance. And then actually burning calories while we are in a fasted state.

First-world problem? Perhaps. But if you do have the luxury of choosing to not eat when your primal instincts are screaming at you to eat then you must do so with intention and a proper understanding of how not eating will affect your body in relation to your exercise and daily work regimen.

But before jumping into this episode…

…It’s officially the New Year, a time where most of us are joining new gyms, trying out fad diets, and making plans to “finally get abs”.

Most people love the idea of going into a new year with goals to transform themselves into healthier, happier, and overall better human beings. Sticking to those goals, however, is another story. Joining a group challenge can be a great way to jump into the New Year, stick to your goals, and get support from others doing the same thing.

That’s why my team at Kion and I have put together a 5-day Fasting Challenge from January 7th to January 11th to kick off the New Year.

Here’s what you need to know:

-Anyone can join, no matter your experience with fasting. We’ve got recommendations from beginner to advanced, and everywhere in between.
-Fasting can be confusing, so we’ve broken down all the research for you into an in-depth, comprehensive guide detailing the different types of fasting, what they’re good for, how to do them, and tips and tricks for making your fast easier.
-Best of all, this challenge is completely free. No special supplements, pre-packaged meals, or nasty drink mixes required. It can even *save* you money that you typically spend on your normal groceries.
-If you want to start the new year on the right foot and harness the powerful benefits of fasting, go to to join our challenge and get the *free* comprehensive guide, Fasting Decoded

I will also be leading a live Facebook Q&A during the challenge, so be sure to join the Kion Facebook community to get all your fasting questions answered. Team Kion and I will be doing the challenge too, so we hope you’ll join us. You can click here to join for free!

In this episode, you'll learn…

-How I got introduced to the concept of pre and post-workout fasting during my years as a body builder…7:05

  • Conventional thought at the time:
    • Eat a lot right after workout, to get into the “recovery window”
    • Snack and graze
  • Explored other options when I got into endurance training
  • Discovered “ketosis” in 2013
    • Amino acids
    • Dominic D'Agostino

-Busting the myth of snacking and pre/post-workout meals…12:45

  • Importance of the post-workout meal is vastly decreased if you haven't been fasting prior to the workout.
  • Only benefit from a performance standpoint is if you workout again within 8 hours.
  • After 24 hours, the body naturally replenishes its glycogen levels.
  • If you've eaten prior to a workout, you don't need to replenish aminos, glycogen, etc.
  • I bend the rules if I'm working with someone who needs to build body mass.

-What fasted exercise actually is…18:05

  • Exercising in a state of glycogen depletion
  • A light workout in a fasted state is preferable (in the morning)
  • For evening workouts, you'll have not eaten since lunch, then you can eat after working out, but it's not essential to do so immediately.

-The 10 benefits of fasted exercise…25:10

  1. Burning more fat
  2. Anti-aging effect
  3. Better brain function
  4. Increased growth hormone levels
  5. Improved insulin sensitivity
  6. Increased testosterone
  7. Enhanced fat loss
  8. Better endurance
  9. More stable gut during exercise
  10. Hunger management

-Practical ways to do fasted workouts…41:15

  • Exercise before breakfast
    • Need to include carbs in breakfast? Only if you're going to work out again within 8 hours.
  • Don't eat dinner for an hour or two after late-afternoon or early-evening workout.
  • Use supplements

-A few cautions…47:10

  • “Bonking”
  • Decreased intensity (depending on the scenario)
  • Post-workout hypercaloric compensation (stuffing your face)

And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Myth: You Need To Snack Throughout The Day & Eat A Pre- Or Post-workout Meal

What Is Fasted Exercise?

10 Benefits Of Fasted Exercise

Burn More Fat

Better Brain Function

Increased Growth Hormone Levels

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Increased Testosterone

Enhanced Fat Loss

Better Endurance

Stable Gut During Exercise

Hunger Management

How To Do It

Exercise Before Breakfast

Wait After Afternoon/Early Evening Exercise

Use Supplements



Decreased Intensity

Post-Workout Caloric Hypercompensation

Men vs. Women

It Takes Time

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Got a question about fasted workouts? Just drop a comment below and I'll reply ASAP! And remember to join in on the 5-day Fasting Challenge from January 7th to January 11th

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

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27 thoughts on “The Benefits Of Fasted Exercise, Busting the Myth of the Pre and Post Workout Meal, Who Shouldn’t Fast & Much More!

  1. Jonah says:

    If I’m doing an easy bike ride for my morning fasted workout, should it be in zone 1 or 2? Based on the other suggestions, I’d guess zone 1, but not entirely sure.

    Is zone 2 ok? Then I could get some aerobic threshold work in. Or is that too hard?

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  4. Sona says:

    In your longevity quest Mindvalley, you have told a lot of workouts but not specified which are to be done in a fasted state and which ones in the non-fasted state. Can you specify for all the variants(super slow, foam rolling, isometric, etc) which state is preferred?

  5. Michael says:

    I work on an oil rig so my days are pretty long and regimented working 6 to 6. I have been intermittent fasting where I skip breakfast, have a superfood and some supplements at 9am then eat a healthy sized lunch around 11. I will work out around 630-7 for 40-60 min then eat dinner shortly after, a large salad and sometimes some protein. My question is would it be better to workout and skip dinner and stay fasted through the night and start eating breakfast around 6 with lunch as my last meal or continue with the current schedule?

  6. Marko Henry says:

    Very interesting article. I am very glad to read this article. Thanks Author

  7. Brittany Lancaster says:

    Great article. Thanks,

  8. Simon says:

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for all your work & content!
    Love to hear your views on: are there any gains/benefits (or damage) if I weight-train through a 24-48 hours fast?

    I am already following the 16:8 routine & gym 6days a week on Keto diet, however I also like to introduce a couple prolong 24-48hr fasting once a month or so. Can I still train through “fasted” (8pm last meal, 7am training, 8pm or longer, 1st meal) without negative effects to my health/body?

  9. Jarod says:

    Thanks for the info I had a quick question regarding afternoon workouts. I have been fasting overnight and doing a fasted 20-30 min yoga session in the morning. After an hour/hour and a half I eat breakfast. My question is with my schedule the best time to workout is around 11-11:30. I am currently on week 7 of your Obstacle Dominator training plan, thanks for that too. Is it ok to workout prior to eating lunch if I add amino’s or MCT oil etc? If so, should I wait an our so after this session before eating lunch. Thanks again for any info.

  10. Cliff says:

    Great list of references. What do you think about research (I think by Satchin Panda) that says that caffeine terminates an intermittant fast since it starts the circadian rhythm going in the morning, or that even decaf and herbal tea cause the liver to produce enzymes (probably more to that) that undermine the positive benefits of the IF? I’m doing your Kion 2019 Fasting Challenge but not on FB to ask questions there.

  11. Maggie Bradley says:

    Hi Ben,

    I know both you and Thomas DeLauer have said that BCAAs will break a fast due the effect of the Leucine (I believe). However, is it ok to have BCAAs before a fasted state workout? Is the workout still then considered to be in a fasted state if you consume BCAAs before and/or during the workout (and no other calories)? Also, I know you recommend taking EAAs versus BCAAs. I do take your Kion EAAs. However, if all of the BCAAs are included in EAAs plus the other EAAs, then how is consuming EAAs any different than BCAAs? Wouldn’t they elicit that same response? Finally, if you take an electrolyte tablet such as Nuun which has about 10 calories and a few grams of sugar either before or during a workout, would that workout also be considered to be not in a fasted state?

    Thanks for all the great info.


    1. Alex Karroum says:

      Hi Ben, love your work and your mission!

      It would be great if you could answer Maggie’s question regarding whether having EAAs/BCAAs before a workout would technically remove you from a fasted state and therefore negate all the benefits of fasted workouts. Keen to hear your views!


  12. Kajal sharma says:

    Thanks for sharing this meal plan with us. I would start this diet plan.

  13. Dina says:

    Hi, Ben – Can you provide links to the actual research study you mentioned in your presentation regarding men vs. women and the differences in fat oxidation in the post-workout window? You link to Mercola articles above (neither of which specifically address sex differences). Thank you in advance!

  14. Tim says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m looking forward to the Kion Fasting Challenge next week. I’d like to combine options 1 and 3. Is that a safe/good idea? I do daily intermittent fasting already (12-18 hours).

    If this is a go, I’m going to load up on organic coconut oil & grass fed butter for my Kion coffee and super green mix for the shakes so I can hit the ground running on Monday.


  15. Mary Kay Hall says:

    tried several times to sign up for fasting guide and the 5 day fast but so far been unsuccessful. help pretty please, i want in:)

  16. Mary says:

    Thank you for great presentation. I am female on NatureThroid and take first thing in am and then go for my run fasted. Do you know if I take aminos along with thyroid meds, will this affect thyroid med absorption? I’d like to take the aminos to increase performance. I have been running fasted for over 30 years.

  17. Janet says:

    Can you please post a link to the source article for your statement that lean women do better eating before exercise and fasting after? I don’t see it in the above links. Thanks!!

  18. Bill Montgomery says:

    This is similar to Sam’s question. I eat at 11:30 AM then workout at 3:15 – 5:00. Normally I come home, drink a shake and eat a sweet potato and then go to bed. I get up at 2:00 AM. I would like to be able to fast through the workout and then not eat anything until like 7:00 AM, but somewhere you said that you would need to eat within 8 hours of your workout. So I probably answered my own question.

    Now I am fasting from 5:30 PM until 8:00 AM which is almost 15 hours. Maybe I can stretch it to 9:00 AM.

  19. Rafi says:

    This recent study shows the opposite ( The authors argue that casein prior to exercise oxidize more fat post exercise when compared to fasted, whey, or maltodextrin. Thoughts?

  20. tim norris says:

    Hi Ben
    I would like to try fasted cardio before breakfast on my elliptical. To maximize fat burning and testosterone how long should i exercise , and how long after exercise should i wait to eat.


  21. Pamela Jones says:

    Hi Kion Team!
    I have tried multiply times to sign up for the fasting guide but it has not been sent to my email. Please help!


  22. Chris M says:

    Confused on fasting and workouts! I am 45 year old male who likes to lift weights, HIIT exercise, and run (long & speed work) . 90% of my workouts are in the morning between 430am – 8am (depends on schedule) five days a week. I start my fast at 730pm and will break it at 1130am. I want to keep my testosterone up and lose my fat (belly fat)! So do I fast for every workout or should I eat something for other workouts. My schedule: Mon – HIIT w/ weights, Tues – Heavy weights, Wed break, Thurs – run (speed work), Fri – HIIT (kettlebells, push ups, pull ups and jumprope), Sat – Long run 4-6 miles w/ ABS. I have noticed my muscle mass grow, but also my belly as well. I do great lifting heavy, but have noticed fatigue immediately with HIIT and speed work runs! HELP.. any little advice can help, but most articles contradict or are directed at a certain type of athlete. Im just a police officer trying to live long and fit (not fat) for my job, life, and family. TY

  23. Matt says:

    Hello! Great episode!
    I have a question that I feel has been asked several times, but after seeing many conflicting articles on the subject, I am trying to find a straight forward answer.

    In the context of fasting and time restricted feeding, does black coffee (nothing at all in it) reset the clock or break the fast. Dr. Panda believes so and I think Dr. Longo does as well.
    What do you think?


  24. Raf says:

    hi Ben this is great!

    i’ve been following this semi keto diet where i cut out most carbs / sugars and breakfast for almost a year. so i doin’t eat breakfast but i eat large lunch and dinner up until 9pm.

    the one issue i have is that i keep losing weight (or that i lost a lot)

    im 44, 6’2 and 177 lbs.

    i feel good but getting tired of the “dude you lost shitload of weight” greetings from people i have not seen in a while.

    not sure if its just about working out more to make up for lost weight with muscle ? right now im on 1-3 days in the gym “routine” with 20-45 min workouts

  25. Sam says:

    If my eating window is noon-6pm, and I exercise at 6:30pm, do I need a snack or meal before bedtime? Right now the hunger if I don’t eat gives me trouble sleeping, but will I adjust if I stick with it?

    1. Ben Greenfield says:

      I personally feel of the benefits of being able to sleep because you ate enough food outweigh the benefits you would get from the fasting in that case.

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