Fasted Cycling: Teach Your Body to Burn Fat

Fasted Cycling: Teach Your Body to Burn Fat

Body fat can become a great fuel for our body, but first we must teach our body to use it and, in this "education" process, fasted cycling plays a fundamental role.

Surely you have noticed that more and more cyclists and trainers are choosing to carry out training on an empty stomach. But it shouldn't surprise you because training on an empty stomach not only teaches your body to use fat for energy by preserving glycogen, it can also help you lose weight or be more efficient on the bike.

In this type of session, the main objective is to improve the ability to metabolize fat by depriving the body of glycogen. That is, getting our body used to burning fat for fuel instead of this other source of energy.

What happens when we train with "empty" tanks?

When you train with low glycogen stores, the body is forced to turn to fat to keep going. For this to happen, carbohydrate restriction has to be severe for a more or less considerable period of time. The usual thing is to fast from dinner the night before to do a session without consuming carbohydrates first thing in the day.

The body becomes more efficient the more we resort to this type of training. Why? Because fat stores are much larger than glycogen stores (the other great fuel our body uses), so if an athlete learns to use fat, they become much more resistant.

Benefits of fasted cycling

As you can see, fasted cycling leads your body to burn more fat. This translates into two key benefits:

On the one hand, weight loss: by training fasted, with your body's reserves low, you are burning more calories than you have consumed. This means that you are producing a caloric deficit, the fundamental basis of weight loss. So not only does it help you lose weight, but it also helps you do it by getting rid of that part of fat that nobody wants on their body.

On the other hand, performance enhancement: teaching your body to burn more fat makes you a better cyclist. Cycling is an endurance sport and it takes many hours of effort to complete a workout or test. The problem is that glycogen stores are limited, there is a time when they come to an end. By teaching your body to use fat first, you can lengthen the time you have energy available, thereby increasing your endurance and performance.

How to train fasted cycling?

Beyond doing it on an empty stomach, as we have already mentioned, there is another aspect that you must take into account to do cycling on an empty stomach and improve your fat burning. First you should know that it is very important that these workouts are done at low intensity (Z1 or Z2).

You probably wouldn't be able to complete a demanding session with your tanks empty and you should also know that training with the tank like this causes nitrogen and amino acid levels to deplete, hindering post-ride recovery. The more demanding you do it, the more complicated your recovery will be. That is why it is also important that you respect the post-workout period and take care of your subsequent diet properly.

Another aspect that you should know is that the role of fat as fuel increases over time. That is, the body burns a higher percentage of fat after two hours of exercise than during the first. And even more after the third hour.

From Teide Bike we encourage you to put these concepts into practice but above all, and if you have any doubts, contact a nutritionist. At Teide Bike we have a specialized Nutrition service. Ask for your appointment or more info in the Contact section. We will wait for you.