Updated: Jan 19
Intermittent Fasting is an amazing tool to help turn on fat burning mechanisms and achieve a weight loss goal. It's also been found to help spare muscle mass, which is crucial if you're looking to achieve a fitness goal, too.(1) But if you're new to Intermittent Fasting, you're probably wondering if your pre-workout will break your fast (and ruin your results).
In today's article, I'm sharing the details behind pre-workout, whether or not it breaks your fast and if you should be using it with Intermittent Fasting!
What's In Pre-Workout?
The majority of pre-workout "effects" come from caffeine. You will also usually find artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, "natural" flavors and food dyes (some of which have been found to be carcinogenic).(2) These artificial compounds are used to 'enhance' the flavor/texture/color of the product. That's why those pre-workouts are usually bright reds, greens, blues or yellows. Pre-workouts also range in the amount of sugar used. Some stick to zero calorie sweeteners while others use regular table sugar.
Does Pre-Workout Break A Fast?
Technically speaking, artificial sweeteners/flavors in pre-workout won't break your fast. BUT it won't work in your favor either. In fact, it's likely going to work against your goals. These artificial ingredients can lead to a disturbance in your gut microbiome.(3) Considering one of the main benefits of Intermittent Fasting (and using a fasting period at all) is improved gut health, this is going directly against one of your main objectives.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
This also doesn't take into account that many pre-workouts add some form of caloric sugar as well. Added sugars at any level will break your fast due to the spike in the storing hormone insulin. "Calorie-free" sweeteners may not be in the clear either. Some zero calorie sweeteners have been found to still cause an insulin response, and therefore can still break a fast. You can check out my breakdown on how zero calorie sweeteners can still lead to an insulin response with some individuals with the video below.
What Can You Use Instead Of Pre-Workout With Intermittent Fasting?
One of the amazing benefits of Intermittent Fasting can be increased energy levels as a result of getting rid of dysfunctional mitochondria via autophagy. (Does all this sound a little too science-y? Don't worry, I break it ALL down in THIS free workshop.) This means that the more you utilize Intermittent Fasting, the better your cells get at producing energy and the higher your energy levels become naturally and without any pre-workout! In fact, many #AENpeeps report back significantly higher energy levels in the morning after just a few weeks of implementing the protocols from The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle.
But if you DO need a little boost in the morning while your body is getting used to this energy level transition, here are two natural means of caffeine that WON'T break your fast!