Training on Empty

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    Training on Empty

    Hello all!

    This is my first post on the Hive but have been following, using, and supporting DAREBEE for the past six months and really like this site...it has been a huge benefit to my fitness and motivation. My goals are to be fit and increase muscle and strength.

    I do have a question surrounding training on empty. I have been using the strength and tone workouts for about six months and have definitely improved both strength and tone. I have never been overweight but I can tell my body composition has increased muscle mass and decreased fat, however, but have stayed about the same weight. The best time for me to workout is right away in the morning before breakfast, any other time I will be more likely to skip it if I get busy with other things. I feel I should have gained a little more muscle by now though. Is training on empty limiting the resources my body has to build muscle? I have devoured the fitness and nutrition articles and I am still not sure of this topic.

    Specifically, the article in the nutrition section 'Training on Empty' summarizes with this... "So, absolute beginners who are looking to jump-start their fitness by training on empty, shouldn’t. Body builders who need to build muscle, also shouldn't train on empty. Trained athletes who train on empty and then go to bed without having eaten are not gaining much in their performance. For everyone else, training on empty in the morning, before breakfast or a little later in the day, and then having something to eat, is fine and it is likely to deliver faster results in reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass."

    this seems to conflict with the advice given in 'Nutrition for Weight Gain" where it discussed timing of meals..."For muscle building you should never train on empty, early in the morning before breakfast or 4-5 hours since your last meal and you should also eat within 30 minutes after your training sessions. If you don’t have anything before or right after training your body will soon start burning muscle mass and that’s exactly what you want to avoid if your goal is to gain muscle weight."

    I am not a "body builder" but would like to build a bit more muscle and strength. Maybe I'm not pushing myself enough, but after 30 minutes of work I'm exhausted. If it helps, I'm 51, male, 5'10" and weigh 165 lbs. I eat a full breakfast within 30 minutes of working out.

    Thanks for any insight on this subject.

    Makatozi

    #2
    well, 2 questions that will help, are you satisfied with your current fat level? and type of exercises are you doing?

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      #3
      Well, my body measurements using the US Navy method say my body fat is 15% (this agrees with my impedance bathroom scale), and yes i am satisfied with that. For exercises I use the Gladiator Plan:

      Click image for larger version

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      Day 1 Postal Workout
      Day 2 Abs
      Day 3 Circuit of 8 Pull ups, 12 push ups, 20 dumbbell side tilts, 12 dips on a chair, 6 times.
      Day 4 Fearless workout
      Day 5 Abs
      Day 6 Power Row workout
      Day 7 Active rest

      Thanks!

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        #4
        Well, that's a good workout. I am not sure what exactly you'll need, but try calorie counting. https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html this calorie calculator should help. a large majority of these should be healthy, but if not, at least have a good nutritional value.

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          #5
          A large majority of your calories should be Healthy I meant. Try to not consume empty calories. which is stuff like Soft Drinks, or Big Macs for example. they have way to many calories, and even the protein in these types of sandwiches are not good for you. but don't think you can't ever have these. you should have a good dessert at least once a day, or a you meal. you should let yourself every now and then eat what you really want. just don't do it to much. but in limited amounts, it is good for you. it makes you feel a bit better, and releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Also known as "happy hormones" these make you happier. although it's only good in limited amounts. to much is of course unhealthy, as I've said. although you should experiment, see what you can do, and what's best. everybody is different, yet everybody wants a single, easy solution to health. If I'm to be honest, it's never easy, and no one solution is perfect for you. see what you find best for you, which may take years to find the perfect balance that you want. but if you keep on trying, you'll find it. now, certain research does apply to everybody. Like eating unhealthy things we enjoy, like my favorite Junk Food is a Lava Cake, I find it so good, but of course, the calories, so I can only eat it in extremely limited amounts. It also has no nutritional value. but it makes me happy eating it, especially at the end of the day. but all in all, see what you want to do, and can do. that perfect balance between your enjoyment, reaching your goals, and what you have to do in life.

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            #6
            Makatozi

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Makatozi View Post

              Specifically, the article in the nutrition section 'Training on Empty' summarizes with this... "So, absolute beginners who are looking to jump-start their fitness by training on empty, shouldn’t. Body builders who need to build muscle, also shouldn't train on empty. Trained athletes who train on empty and then go to bed without having eaten are not gaining much in their performance. For everyone else, training on empty in the morning, before breakfast or a little later in the day, and then having something to eat, is fine and it is likely to deliver faster results in reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass."

              this seems to conflict with the advice given in 'Nutrition for Weight Gain" where it discussed timing of meals..."For muscle building you should never train on empty, early in the morning before breakfast or 4-5 hours since your last meal and you should also eat within 30 minutes after your training sessions. If you don’t have anything before or right after training your body will soon start burning muscle mass and that’s exactly what you want to avoid if your goal is to gain muscle weight."

              Makatozi
              I tag Damer here, maybe he can give some clarification.

              Comment


                #8
                HellYeah thank you for the tag here and Makatozi welcome to The Hive. I am glad you're bringing this up and the two article sideally should be read together, as you have done. The advice is not conflicting. If building muscle is the goal it will take fuel and that means training on empty is not the way to go. If however we want to redistribute the fat-to-muscle ratio then training on empty is the way forward.

                Specific goals always need a more finely-tuned approach at some point as they will have to take into account factors such as fitness, personal recovery time, age, gender and so on.

                You mentioned that you want to build strength and a bit more muscle. In that case you will need fuel so you should watch your nutrition in terms of when you eat and how often and training on empty will not deliver that. Obviously without taking a detailed look at you the advice I give here is general but to achieve a gain in strength and an increase in muscle size you need to start looking for the fatigue point of your training and going a little bit beyond it whenever you can. There are specific scientific reasons why this will help and most of them are discussed in this thread here. I hope this helps.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks Damer, HellYeah, and IWillGoSuperSaiyan for the feed back and advice, it is much appreciated!

                  Regarding the timing, would a light snack like a banana or a no bake breakfast bar shortly before an early morning workout be adequate fuel for a 30 min workout? If so, how close to the workout would be reasonable so to deliver the fuel needed but not bog down my digestive system.

                  In terms workout timing, I either need to do it in the early morning before a full breakfast or in the evening before bed. Working out before bed , to me seems to be a poor option for two reasons, I will be less likely to do it consistently because of occasional evening commitments and reduced motivation, and, there will be no meal or fuel after the workout to provide building material.

                  Thanks again for the feedback and this great website!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Well Makatozi, a banana I'm pretty sure would be OK. from what I've read, a banana has enough energy to allow a person to run a marathon on it's own. as long as if that person has good enough cardio to actually run one. just make sure that you get a good, nutritional meal afterwards. the no bake bar depends, if it has enough calories in it for the workout your doing, I believe.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      IWillGoSuperSaiyan in the interest of using correct information and correct science when replying in The Hive, I need to correct what you said. A banana does not contain sufficient energy to allow a person to run a marathon. Bananas generally contain between 72–135 calories and 19-35 grams of carbs, depending on their size. An average-sized banana contains about 25 grams of carbs which means it is good for 100 calories.

                      When running long distances energy is provided by our aerobic metabolism. Aerobic metabolism converts carbohydrates, fats, and protein to ATP using oxygen. Relying on the circulatory system to supply oxygen to the working muscles before ATP can be created, this pathway is slower than anaerobic energy systems. Longer endurance runs can be maintained at a 50 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate. The energy cost of a marathon, depending on fitness and size, is between 2,000 and 2,600 kCal. A single banana is not going to provide that. Please make sure you understand the mechanics of energy expenditure, exercise and recovery before suggesting things as an answer to questions.

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                        #12
                        oh, ok, thank you for the correction, I guess I need to do my research then.

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                          #13
                          IWillGoSuperSaiyan you're welcome and always. We take great pains to check the scientific background of every article we publish here exactly so we don't create a stream of misinformation. It is good practice to always check the credentials of information you come across on the internet and if you're in doubt err on the side of caution and discount it rather than accept it.

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                            #14
                            ok, if there is a subject that i am not sure about Damer, I'll try to look up a scientific article about the subject, I do believe it will help me and the other bees if I do this.

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                              #15
                              no worries on my part IWillGoSuperSaiyan, wasn't planning on running a marathon any time soon, just want enough pre-workout snack to fill my need and goal, i think a banana or breakfast bar will help.

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