The first time I worked out on an empty stomach was in high school. I got nauseous and hurled the glass of water I'd had earlier. As a natural morning person, in college it was hard to force some food down the gullet before training and by my late 20's, I was used to working out on an empty stomach. I believe it was Dolph Lundgren who first introduced me to the notion that as your body sleeps overnight, your blood sugar is constant and low so light or moderate exercise in the morning should theoretically go to body fat stores for energy. Guys like Arnold, Van Damme and The Rock all advocate morning cardio on an empty stomach while recently I've been hearing about Intermittent Fasting from the likes of Terry Crews and Hugh Jackman. Basically you eat within a window of 8-10 hours a day as it's thought that it takes 12 hours for the body to enter the fasted state so you'll burn more fat before your first meal. While former NFL player turned jacked actor Crews says he eats a few meals and a protein shake between 2:00 and 10:00 PM, Hugh Jackman claims he crams in 5,000 calories to bulk up for Wolverine between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The cast of TV show Black Sails apparently work out at 10:00 AM, have their first meal at 12:00 PM then close up eating shop by 8:00. There's books and blogs about it so after some light reading I figured to give it a try.
Since I'm already working out mornings doing cardio or weights on an empty stomach, I figured I'd just go with it. For pre-6:00 AM cardio I'm doing the usual ab-aerobics suggested by Frank Zane where I just do 60-90 seconds on a piece of cardio equipment like incline treadmill, stairclimber, stationary bike, jump rope and a Gazelle thingy. Only doing each exercise for a minute takes the monotony out of it and before you know it, you're breaking a sweat and 10, 15 or 20 minutes in. I follow that up with some ab exercises and trunk twists, stretch, cool down and call it a workout. For weights in the AM I'm a two bodypart, three superset three times kinda guy. For chest and biceps this Tuesday morning it was Incline Dumbbell Press with Zane Incline Curls (where your chest is against the bench and arms hanging), Dumbbell Fly and Concentration Curls then Gironda style wide dips with Reverse Curls. I finished up with a single superset of Chins and Push Ups just cause. Some calves, neck and forearms and I was done in under 40 minutes.
My fasting approach so far is more or less aiming to eat between 9:00 or 10:00 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM. That way I'm fasting for my first workout and if I do a second session, I can have a meal afterwards. Of course like all eating plans it works better if you stick to whole foods, lean meats, vegetables and fruits. Super foods include avocado, coconut oil, green vegetables, nuts, free range chicken, whole butter and whey protein while the usual bads like pasta, bread, potatoes and deep fried goodness should be inhaled moderately. One style of fasting is to have any kind of calorie free drink, though coffee is allowed, so it's water, tea, even diet pop during your 14-16 hour fast. My energy or focus levels haven't been too effected and I've felt lighter and tighter since starting the process. They say it takes three weeks to get into a habit but so far so good!