Training fasted first thing in the morning has been a popular strategy by bodybuilders and other athletes for years. The belief was that by training with no food in your system, your body will be forced to rely on its energy stores (body fat) to power your muscles during the workout.
And, while this is true, training fasted also comes with the risk of increased protein breakdown (muscle loss) as well as a reduction in training intensity and stamina, which ultimately limits how many calories you burn during training.
The good news is that you don’t have to train fasted in order to lose weight. In fact, research has found that performing fasted cardio leads to no greater fat loss or weight loss than fed cardio.
In fact, having a scoop of protein before your workout (such as 1UP Whey Protein or Organic Vegan Protein) or AMINO's Her and His BCAA/EAA will actually help you to push harder in your workouts while also combatting protein breakdown.
Here are three other pro tips for how to train for fat loss first thing in the morning!
Tip #1: Train “Low”
Training “low” refers to training with low levels of glycogen -- the stored form of carbohydrates. In this state, the body turns to its energy stores (i.e. body fat).
During sleep, the body relies on glycogen stored in the liver for much of its energy needs to repair muscle tissue, replenish ATP, etc.
Come morning, liver glycogen stores are low yet muscle stores of glycogen are high.
Pair this low level of glycogen stores with physical activity (such as a morning cardio), and you have the perfect 1-2 combo for increased fat burning.
As an added bonus, since low level physical activity is primarily fueled by fatty acids, you won’t run the risk of depleting muscle glycogen (thereby impeding subsequent resistance training performance) and/or increasing protein breakdown (and running the risk of muscle loss)!
Tip #2: Use the Right Supplements
Building off of the previous point, using the right supplements prior to your physical activity will help increase the body’s ability to oxidize (“burn”) fat for fuel.
At the top of this list is the king of all pre-training supplements -- caffeine, which is included in our comprehensive pre workouts 1UP Pre Women & 1UP Pre Men as well as our top-rated fat burners -- Pro Ripped Max & Make Her Lean Max.
Caffeine increases energy expenditure, liberates stored fatty acids to be used for energy (lipolysis), and increases fatty acid oxidation (actual “fat burning”).
Another useful agent to include in your early morning fat-burning workouts is L-Carnitine 3000.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that plays a vital role in the body’s ability to burn fat for fuel. Specifically, carnitine is a metabolic “taxi” that transports fatty acids from the bloodstream into the mitochondria where they can then be oxidized for energy. Long-chain fatty acids on their own cannot enter the mitochondria. They require the “services” of the Carnitine taxi service.
Prior to performing early morning or fasted workouts, we suggest taking a serving of our delicious-tasting and stimulant-free L-Carnitine 3000 formula, which supplies 3,000 mg of pure L-carnitine.
Pairing our L-Carnitine 3000 with a serving of either Make Her Lean Max or Pro Ripped Max is a great combo for increased fat and calorie burning as both Make Her Lean Max and Pro Ripped Max contain GBBGo, which is a carnitine precursor also known as “super carnitine” which is known to significantly increase carnitine stores and utilization in the body, supporting optimal fat burning.
At the end of the day, there are a number of strategies you can employ to increase the percentage of energy your body burns from fat, such as training with low glycogen stores, eating lower carbohydrate meals, and using the right supplements.
One thing to keep in mind is that no matter how much you structure your lifestyle to “burn fat for fuel”, in order to lose weight (body fat) you need to be in a calorie deficit. And, the only reliable way to be sure that you’re actually in a deficit is to track your nutrition, which you can do quickly and easily with the 1UP Fitness App that is available for FREE on both Apple and Google Play.