Train Hungry. I’ve always preferred to train weights about 2-3 hours after a meal and there are few good physiological reasons for this.
1) With no food in your stomach you have more readily available blood to flood your muscles with for the pump, because less blood is being used for digestive-related distribution. The pump can be one key driver of muscle hypertrophy when applied correctly.
2) Your pre-workout supplements will tend hit you harder when they’re not being mixed in with food that’s already in your stomach. You’ll get more of a concentrated, high potency effect – the intended effect actually.
3) I’m a big proponent of intra-workout supplementation and going into a workout on a relatively empty stomach can boost insulin sensitivity – making your intra-workout anabolic cocktail (carbs, bcaas, insulin sensitizers/mimickers) even more effective from a nutrient uptake perspective.
4) Your weight training session isn’t really fueled by what’s currently in your stomach or what you ate an hour before your lift. It’s primarily fueled by glycogen – the carbs stored in your muscles and liver over the past 12 hours. The purpose of the intra-workout drink is more of a bonus kickstart to the recovery process and a means to offset catabolism than anything else. By driving key nutrients to your trained muscles, your body can start anabolic processes before you even touch a post workout shake.
5) Training hungry minimizes the risk of losing your pre-workout meal on the gym floor.
Training hungry isn’t for everyone and particularly not for those with poor blood sugar control issues. It’s not even something I enforce with all clients. But it will always be the way I train. Comment below if you also prefer to train hungry. -Coach Sean. Photo cred: @jasonbreeze