First off I’ve already talked about this, but when it comes to fasting and working out you should really look into LeanGains. If you are a bodybuilder or enthusiast who wants to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, this will be like reading the bible.
Second, if you want to go on a 3 hour weightlifting marathon, then no, it’s a bad idea to do this while still fasted. You’d probably want to have some food in your stomach before even attempting something ridiculous like that, but I wouldn’t even do it in the first place. There is a better alternative.
Below I will outline the tenets you should be following if you are working out fasted.
The Tenets of Fasted Training
I’m making this sound like a big deal when it isn’t. It’s no different than what any other (non-fasted) training program worth a damn will tell you:
- Focus on compound movements (e.g. bench press, squat, deadlift) first.
o Aim for a 4-8 rep range per set, depending on the exercise (deadlifts and squats can dip down to 4 reps).
o Do 2, maximum 3 compound movements in one workout. Any more and you will burn yourself out.
o Aim for 2-3 sets per exercise.
- Accessory movements at the end (e.g. isolation exercises like the bicep curl or side lateral raises).
o Aim for an 8-12 rep range for isolation exercises. Save the heavy weights and low reps for compound movements.
o Don’t go overboard on volume. Just do 2, maybe 3 isolation exercises at the end at 2-3 sets per exercise.
- Workouts should be brief but intense.
o A workout would maybe consist of 4-5 exercises at 2-3 sets per exercise with a 2-3 minute rest interval between each set
o Workouts should last no longer than an hour (even including warm ups*).
- *If you feel your muscles are extremely tight (high risk of injury) or you do not wish to aggravate a previous injury, then you can take longer to warm up. Otherwise, stop lollygagging in the gym.
- Progressive overload: each workout must be an improvement over the previous one.
o Upping the poundage is an improvement (even if reps decrease, as they naturally should when testing new waters).
o Upping the reps without upping the weight is an improvement.
o Hell, even if weight and reps remained exactly the same, if you had better form or decreased your rest intervals, than that’s an improvement. Improve somewhere!
o E.g. Last week you benched 200 lbs for 7 reps and this week you did 200 for 8 reps. Or maybe you upped the weight to 205 and did 5 reps. Or your rest interval dropped down from 3 minutes to 2 minutes. Or you no longer bounced the weight or used momentum in your form. These are all improvements.
Example Muscle Building Workouts
Martin Berkhan of LeanGains has already laid out a very good example of a workout and I don’t think I could write a better one.
Berkhan looks shredded year round and he is also extremely muscular and strong. He knows what he’s talking about.
Another good resource is Andy Morgan’s (of rippedbody.jp) article on training, who has adopted and personalized his own version of what Berkhan recommends. The principles still remain the same, however.
And that’s how you incorporate IF and bodybuilding. It’s no different (or not much different) than when you are eating “regularly” and bodybuilding. Who knew, huh?