No doubt, intermittent fasting is one of the fastest-growing trends in the fitness industry. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to stay lean all year without extensive work.
There are some protocols that need to be followed while fasting, and there has been a lot of confusion about the items and drinks that can be consumed while fasting.
I have been asked this multiple times now “is it okay to take pre-workout before training while fasting?” or “Does pre-workout break my fast?”.
You need to understand a few basics about the fasting before including any sort of supplementation.
What is pre-workout?
Lifters widely use pre-workout supplements to elevate their performance while training at the gym. “pre-workouts” — are a multi-ingredient dietary blend that is designed to boost energy and athletic performance.
Is it necessary to get a good workout? Some studies(1) have proven the effectiveness of pre-workouts in boosting strength and athletic performance. But it’s not necessary to consume pre-workouts before every training session, it depends on the lifter preferences.
Pre-workouts are mostly consumed to help to lift heavier by increasing blood flow, focus, and motivation. It’s not recommended to lift heavy while in a fasted state, so why the hell someone really needs a pre-workout?
Most of the pre-workouts contain amino-acids, sweeteners and other ingredients that work to spike the insulin levels that can kick you out of fasting.
What is intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to trim down belly fat and shed excess weight without extensive efforts. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that restricts you from consuming any calories for a particular period of time. The most famous intermittent fasting window is 16:8 fasting, in this type, you fast for 16 hours and eat food within the 8 hours of feeding window.
A simple rule of Intermittent fasting is:
Consuming any kind of calorie is restricted while the fasting window to boost fat loss and other fasting benefits. That’s the reason you are allowed to consume water, tea, black coffee while fasting.
Do pre-workout supplements break a fast?
Yes, most of the famous pre-workouts blends will break your fast.
The consequence of pre-workout on your fasting depends on the ingredient of pre-workout you are consuming.
Most of the pre-workouts are low in calories but still enough to disrupt your fasting.
While some of the pre-workouts can be considered okay for the intermittent fasting, others will simply kick you out of fasting.
The best way to save your fast is to either depend on the zero-calorie black coffee or to be very mindful about choosing the right blend of pre-workout.
Natural pre-workout that won’t break your fast
Most of the supplement companies included several hidden ingredients in their pre-workout blend that make us doubtful about their effectiveness while fasting.
The best solution is to create your own blend on pre-workout with the help of natural ingredients that are proven beneficial to support fasting and fat burning.
I personally include only three ingredients in my homemade pre-workout:
- Citrulline malate
Caffeine: You can use caffeine supplements or coffee blend to get that sharp focus for your workout session.
Beta-alanine: its a compound that is responsible for the tingling effects that you get after consuming pre-workout. Beta-alanine also boosts up the carnosine levels that directly affect the muscle-building process.
Citrulline malate: Most of the pre-workouts contain citrulline malate as a vasodilator. Citrulline malate boosts up the nitric oxide levels which help in improved blood flow throughout the body which directly results in a better supply of nutritious blood.
The best part about creating your own pre-workout is, you can always manage the number of ingredients.
These three ingredients are enough to give you improved motivation and focus for a good workout.
Fasting friendly pre-workouts
Still, looking for an effective pre-workout blend that can support your athletic performance? There are some solutions available to you.
You can either look for low-calorie pre-workout blends or you can just look for keto-friendly pre-workout supplements (since they are low in carbs). Here is my personal favorite.
- PACKAGING MAY VARY - New look, with the same trusted Quality
- 175MG OF CAFFEINE help fuel your mind and body to train at the highest level
- 3GCREATINE help support overall performance
- 1.5GCARNOSYN BETA-ALANINE help support enhanced endurance
- 1.5G CITRULLINE MALATE a precursor to nitric oxide
- Fruit Punch flavor, 30 servings
- Supports ENERGY, FOCUS, MENTAL ALERTNESS (when combined with intense exercise)* and provides precursor to NITRIC OXIDE*...
- If you feel like you need more in your pre workout, try the OWN PWR Elite Series Pre Workout.
- If new to this product, start with half a scoop and increase gradually. This product contains 175MG of caffeine per...
- Banned substance tested and certified with Informed-Sport
Keto-friendly pre-workouts are my top choice while fasting, these pre-workouts are designed with Zero or minimum carbohydrates that make them perfect for fasting. Most of the keto-friendly pre-workouts contain little amount of MCT oils for the production of ketones,
Few grams of MCT oil or other fats are allowed while fasting. That’s the reason people add some butter or MCT’s in their morning coffee while fasting.
Can you take BCAA while fasting?
No, you can not take BCAA while fasting.
BCAA’s are proven to spike the insulin levels that make them a really bad choice while fasting.
If you are someone worried about a decrease in muscle mass because of no BCAA then don’t worry, fasting also stimulated the production of Growth Hormones (2, 3) that helps in preserving muscle catabolism while burning fat.
What if you still want your favorite Pre and Intra workout?
Then the best strategy is to plan your gym session within the feeding window.
If you are doing a 20:4 warrior fasting then you can break your fast with a light weighted pre-workout meal and then take a pre-workout supplement before workout combined with intra-workouts. Complete your training with a good post-workout protein shake and have your last meal about 60-minutes after training.
Fasting is not exactly for the bodybuilders or for someone who is preparing to be a pro athlete. You should be listening to your coach.
Pre-workouts are normally consumed for high-intensity workouts which are not really suggested while fasting. So why do you need a pre-workout? Think about it.
You should not be planning to break your PR in a fasted state, instead, following low or moderate-intensity training sessions is the best way to achieve great results.
Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always.