1. Fasted Training
People usually think “fasted training” means “training on an empty stomach,” but it has little to do with how empty or full your stomach feels.
Fasted training means training in a “fasted state,” and this has to do with insulin levels in your blood.
When you eat food, it gets broken down into various molecules that your cells can use, and these molecules are released into your blood. Insulin is released as well, and its job is to shuttle these nutrients into cells for absorption and processing.
Depending on how much food you eat, your plasma (blood) insulin levels remain elevated for several hours (anywhere from 3 to 6+ hours).
This is relevant to fat loss because insulin blocks lipolysis.
That is, when your body is in a “fed” state and insulin levels are elevated, it’s busy absorbing nutrients and little to no fat burning occurs.
Your body enters a “fasted” state when it has finished absorbing all nutrients from the food you’ve eaten and insulin levels return to their normal, low “baseline” levels.
This is why feeling like you have an “empty stomach” doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re in a fasted state (an empty feeling stomach doesn’t mean your insulin levels have returned to baseline).
Now, when you exercise in a fasted state, fat loss is accelerated (and weighlifting in a fasted state is particularly effective in this regard).
Research also shows that fasted training increases blood flow to the abdominal region, which further helps burn belly fat away (the better the blood flow to a region, the more catecholamines can reach it).
The easiest way to work fasted training into your routine is to work out first thing in the morning, before you eat breakfast. This has an added benefit, as well: fasting for longer than 6 hours significantly increases your body’s ability to burn fat.
There is a downside to fasted training, however: when you exercise in a fasted state, muscle breakdown is increased.
This is bad simply because too much muscle breakdown impairs total muscle growth over time.
Fortunately, you can prevent this with proper supplementation.
HMB and Muscle Preservation
The supplement β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine, which is an amino acid that directly stimulates protein synthesis.
HMB is often sold as a muscle-building aid but the research purported to demonstrate these benefits is shaky at best, hindered most by design flaws. Thus, I’m not comfortable making any claims about muscle growth.
There is one benefit of HMB that’s well established, however: it’s an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent.
That is, it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown, which means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness (and the free acid form shows the most promise in this regard).
It also has no effect whatsoever on insulin levels, which means it can’t break your fasted state.
This makes HMB perfect for use with fasted training.
Its powerful anti-catabolic effects and non-existent insulin effects means you reap all the fat loss benefits of training fasted without any of the problems relating to muscle loss or insulin secretion.
It’s also worth noting that HMB is superior to leucine in suppressing muscle breakdown because it’s more anti-catabolic than its “parent” amino acid.
This means it’s also more effective than branched-chain amino acid supplementsbecause they rely on leucine for their anti-catabolic effects (isoleucine and valine are very weak in this regard).
In terms of which specific HMB supplement I recommend, I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.
FORGE is a fat burner made specifically for use with fasted training and it contains clinically effective dosages of HMB plus…
- Yohimbine. Research shows that yohimbine enables your body to reduce fat stores faster, and it’s particularly useful as you get leaner and are battling with stubborn fat holdouts.
- Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.
Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.
The bottom line is FORGE helps you lose fat–and “stubborn” fat in particular–faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness.