Sleep low, train low. You may be wondering what I mean by ‘low’. I’m referring to carbohydrate intake.
The sleep low, train low paradigm calls for consuming a low carbohydrate meal at dinner time, sleeping, and then training in the morning without consuming any carbohydrate. It’s an extended version of the fasted-state training method we’ve all heard about, with a bit of a twist.
When people train in a fasted-state, they think doing so on an empty stomach is what matters the most. While this partly holds true, your meal the night before definitely impacts the training session as well, more so which type of fuel you use for energy (fat or carbohydrates). By limiting carbohydrates the night before, you’re more likely to start your morning exercise session in a carbohydrate-depleted state, allowing for more fat to be metabolized (burned) for energy. Further lowering you carbohydrate stores by not consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal in the morning (or not consuming any carbohydrates at all) will further enhance your fat burning capacity during the session.
One piece of advice I’ll give you is to make sure you consume protein prior to exercising. The main reason being is to preserve your muscle. If you are sleeping low, and consequently training low, not only will you use more fat for energy, but you may experience muscle breakdown during the session due to a lack of carbohydrate intake. For this reason, make sure to consume some source of protein to avoid any muscle breakdown or protein loss.
I’ve been following this regime for quite some time now so my body has adapted to training without any food, which is why I drink a protein shake prior to my session. However, if you feel the need to eat a small snack or even breakfast before exercising, then I suggest you eat a protein-rich meal and obviously minimize the quantity of carbohydrates. A typical meal may include eggs or even Greek yogurt.
So, while exercising in a fasted-state deems plausible for fat burn, consider the meals you consume the day of the session but also the night before. By consuming carbohydrates the night before, you may increase your body’s carbohydrate stores which will then be used for energy during your next day’s exercise session. And of course, remember to eat some protein before commencing your exercise session to preserve your muscle and avoid any breakdown!