In 2019, we are exploring energy. How it affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. We have hooked up with a series of experts who will set an experiment every month to help us discover a way of managing our energy.

In March, we are shedding the cosy Winter vibe and leaping towards Spring by focusing on our fitness (activity levels and all of the associated benefits). We are exploring fasted activity with the super knowledgeable James Parkes, a Strength and Rehabilitation Coach for the South West’s premier rugby team. James has used the technique with clients and has seen great success, with targeted players gaining a significant improvement in body composition and energy levels.

Exercising when we are in a fasted state has been proven to be significantly more effective, 20-30%, in oxidising (burning) fat than exercising in a fed state. If you exercise in order to stay trim, fasted exercise may well be able to help in your pursuit of improved body composition. It might feel harder to start, but your body will adapt over time to become a lean, mean, exercising machine.

The fed state lasts for about 4-6 hours after your last meal. This gives time for your body to absorb all the good stuff. Glucose is transported to the muscles to be used as energy (glycogen). It keeps you alive and kicking. After 6 hours, you enter the fasted state. Glucagon is released to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Your body starts to break down fat tissue into free fatty acids, which are converted into a form of energy known as ketone (complexity). In layman’s terms, ‘burning fat’.

It’s a set-up we have inherited from evolution. Yup, that caveman dude. Wooly mammoths weren’t on the shelves of caveman land that often, so holding onto stored body fat was crucial for survival.

Like our brains, our bodies are physiologically pretty much the same as they were tens of thousands of years ago. However, we aren’t spending hours hunting that elusive mammoth, all we have to do is lift one arm and a snack is at hand.

So, to maximise our fat burning potential and boost our fitness and energy levels, for the next 4 weeks, we are introducing a bout of fasted exercise every morning. The experiment can be adapted to suit all types:

Level 1: If you never normally do any exercise during the course of the week. Wake up 20 minutes earlier than normal and get out of the house no matter the weather and go for a brisk walk for 10-20 minutes, 6 days a week.

Level 2: If you are a weekend warrior and maybe put together one exercise bout during the working week alongside your weekend efforts. On the days you do not exercise, wake up 20 minutes earlier than normal and get out of the house no matter the weather and go for a brisk walk for 10-20 minutes, 6 days a week.

Level 3: If you are fully committed to your health and fitness regime and can't fit anymore in. Wake up 20 minutes early every day and add in some specific mobility work to enhance your recovery and optimise your workouts. 6 Days a week for a month will see your body appreciate the TLC.

Note, if you are running a race or a particularly strenuous workout then carb-periodisation beforehand is still key to prevent potential dizziness and nausea and meet your optimal performance. If you have diabetes, any blood sugar or other medical conditions do consult your GP or the NHS helpline before starting the experiment.

And remember, water and or electrolyte solutions are key, so make sure you drink before, during and after a workout.

Ready, steady, let’s get fitter fasted!

James Parkes @Jamesparkes2 Parkesy2

Follow our progress and let us know how you get on @UppingYourElvis Upping_Your_Elvis

As seen in

  • Fast Company
  • Gq Seeklogo Com
  • Harvard Business Review
  • The Guardian
  • The Sunday Times
  • Business Life