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Training sober - what's the point?

There are countless opinions on the subject of "training sober". Some swear by training on an empty stomach, while others consider it ineffective. Those who train before breakfast supposedly benefit from burning fat. But does fasting training really help to boost fat burning or does it even promote muscle breakdown? We explain this to you today in our blog post.

Sober training

Fasting means "without the intake of food and drink (except water), e.g. in the morning immediately after getting up".

Important in this context is how the body gains energy during exercise. The body stores glucose in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. Blood sugar and insulin levels drop overnight and the body draws on its reserves. During fasting training, muscle and liver glycogen levels are therefore depleted after a short time. The body now resorts to free fatty acids as an energy source. However, carbohydrates are also important in order to obtain energy from fats in the first place. The body must therefore now obtain energy by breaking down proteins or muscle mass. The body therefore breaks down muscle mass, but at the same time it learns to utilise free fatty acids in the muscle more efficiently. Fasting training therefore increases the amount of free fatty acids in the blood.

This has also been shown in various studies. Researchers at the University of Birmingham had 14 test subjects cycle three times a week. One hour after the training session, the participants were asked to complete a sprint. Half of the test subjects were able to eat something beforehand, the other half were not. The following results were obtained after the sprint: Although the sober participants were slower, they were more likely to burn fat than carbohydrates.

Fasting and strength training

Our body needs energy during a workout in order to perform at its best. As the duration of training and the intensity of exercise during fasting training tend to be limited due to empty glycogen stores, the training stimulus is low and an increase in performance is therefore not possible. This means that no effective stimuli for muscle growth are provided. Therefore, do not do any strength training on an empty stomach, but rather complete a short endurance session.

In order to prevent muscle loss during endurance sports, our BCAAs are important. BCAAs (the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine) can - in contrast to the other amino acids - be metabolised directly in the muscle. They can therefore serve directly as an energy supplier for the muscles and therefore no muscle mass needs to be broken down.

Can I lose weight more easily if I train sober?

When it comes to reducing body fat, it is less important which energy sources are metabolised during exercise, what is decisive is the energy balance at the end of the day: if you have consumed more calories than you have taken in, you will lose weight. This is known as a negative energy balance. It doesn't matter how you achieve the deficit - whether during normal training, on an empty stomach straight after getting up in the morning or simply by eating less.

Running sessions with alternating high and low intensity, such as interval training, are more suitable for losing weight than fasting training.

Exercising sober: The advantages

  • You feel fresh and alert throughout the day
  • The metabolism is stimulated
  • Circulation is strengthened
  • Free fatty acids can be utilised more efficiently in the muscle

Exercising sober: The disadvantages

  • Circulatory problems and dizziness can occur
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • The risk of injury is higher
  • There is no increase in performance


If you are a morning person and can get up before breakfast to exercise, then there is no reason why you shouldn't train sober. However, if you are one of those people who have circulatory problems, you should refrain from sober training. In general, however, it is always advisable to eat a snack such as a banana before exercising.

What should you consider before every fasting training session

  • Drink a glass of water before training
  • Warm up before training
  • Do not go to the maximum and keep the intensity of the training low
  • Do not do strength training, but rather complete a short endurance session
  • Take BCAAs before training

Also make sure you eat the right food after your workout to replenish your body's energy stores. A protein and carbohydrate-rich diet is ideal. Perhaps our V-Loader is something for you?