Workout Time While Fasting: Morning or Night?

What’s the optimal workout time of day?

Well, the answer for me will always be morning!

It depends (I’ll touch on that later)…But definitely in the morning!!

(Or, you know, whenever you’re the deepest into your fast. I know some of you work the night shift, so “morning” isn’t when you’ve been fasting the longest…)

You want to be deep in your fast when you work out for best results, because that’s when your sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight – is kicked into gear.

Then, working out also triggers fight-or-flight, and the reason this is important is because of the “flight-or-fight” reflex. It triggers adrenaline and noradrenaline, which “increases the force of skeletal muscle contraction and the rate…of contraction of the heart”…so it literally gets the blood pumping!

Why is that important?

Because your body is using fat for fuel, and this speeds up the process! How, you wonder?

When you’re fasting, there’s more activity going on in your cells. Cells have “messengers” that send hormonal signals around your body, and tell the cell what to do next.

So, when you’re exercising, what hormone gets sent? Like we said, it’s adrenaline! “Flight or fight.” This makes your body look for an energy source (fat). The adrenaline binds to the messenger.

Okay…So what?

Fasting makes the messenger travel faster in your body, which means the message (that your body needs to burn fat) is powerful and quick!

Fasting also increases the efficiency of another cell messenger, called AMP kinase. What’s that? Well, it makes fat burn faster if you’ve been training the same muscles for a while.

“If bouts of exercise continue through a long-term training regimen…[AMP kinase] will facilitate contracting muscle adaptations by escorting muscle cell activity to…fatty-acid oxidation…” one study says.

So, if you’re following my train of thought here, this cell messenger speeds up fat oxidation (fat burning). And fasting makes the cell messenger work faster!

So, fasting basically just makes you more efficient on a cellular level.

Training fasted is the biggest and best-kept secret…well, really, not so secret.

And there’s more…

One study showed that men deep in the fasted state had 2000% normal levels of Human Growth Hormone. Women had 1300%…It makes sense, because like I explain in my guide, when your insulin is lower due to fasting, your HGH is higher. Oh, and one other thing. Your HGH levels get higher when you exercise!

See how this is a huge combo?

All this is to say that the science shows training in the morning (or when you’re at the deepest point of your fast) is the way to go.

But there is a little bit of controversy when it comes to workout time, and I’ll just leave that here for you…

For me personally, I pretty much always work out at 8 AM and have my first meal around 11 AM.

Dr. Eric Berg says that if you’re new to fasting you should probably eat right after your workout time, because your body isn’t used to insulin being that low, for now. You still get all the awesome benefits of working out while fasted.

However, trainer Thomas DeLauer says that because the:

  • fat burning;
  • the high HGH; and
  • the effects of your sympathetic nervous system pumping out adrenaline!

…are still in place after your workout is complete…You may want to wait a bit longer before eating.

That’s what I do, because I really want to get the full benefit of what fasting + exercise does, which is super-high HGH, and faster-than-normal fat burning!

Fasting + exercise is such a wonderful combination, so why not exercise at 8 AM and eat at 11 AM? Or comment below and I can tell you what I think of your workout time plan, and whether you’re getting the most out of your fast. Either way, have fun burning that fat and growing those muscles!!


Dr. Eric Berg

Thomas DeLauer


About the Author Melissa McAllister

My name is Melissa McAllister. I just turned 44! I have a son and daughter and my husband and I are new empty nesters! My husband is the reason I eat, drink, and sleep health and fitness. He has 2 speeds, GO and GO Faster. We have been together for over 28 years and married for 23 (yes, he had me at “hello!”). Don’t get me wrong though…I was a Doritos and Coca Cola eating Hoover when I was in school! Fitness has been an essential part of my life for over 19 years. I have the 3 best jobs in the world—being a stay-at-home Mom, business owner, and group exercise instructor for several large fitness chains. I have been teaching everything from yoga to kickboxing for over 17 years. I have also had the great opportunity to train, inspire, and motivate other instructors for the past 11 years. You might even see me in a few fitness videos out there! 😉 Reaching out to others who are struggling to be healthy and happy is my passion. I couldn’t tell you next Fall’s latest fashion must have or what flowers to plant this season, but I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. With your determination and my motivation, we can find and keep the best YOU! I will inspire by holding myself and those around me accountable!

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Leave a Comment:

Elizabeth Ellis says May 5, 2018

I have to start work at 7am so I usually workout at 5:30/6am and I have my recover at 7. If I wait until 11am to eat do you think I will still receive the benefits as you mention above?

    Melissa McAllister says June 15, 2018

    Hi Elizabeth! I do think that you’ll get great benefits from not only the fasting + exercise you describe, but the “afterglow” effect of the 4 hours where you’re fasted while your adrenaline/HGH levels are still pumped up. 🙂 Please send me a direct message so we can talk more about your specific needs –

Ellen says May 5, 2018

Will I still get the benefits if I workout around 6:30am, assuming I ate dinner at 6:30pm? And, am I still fasting if I drink Energize before?

    Melissa McAllister says June 15, 2018

    Hi Ellen! Technically yes, Energize will break your fast for purposes of autophagy, but there are experts who say that <50 calories doesn't break your fast, and that drinking Energize will still allow other fasting benefits to take place, just not autophagy. Please send me a direct message so we can talk more about your specific needs :) –

Donita M Hudson says May 5, 2018

Hello,I work from 8-5, Lunch at 1 pm. I wake up at 6 am for work. My 1st meal is at 1 pm and last meal at 9 pm. I usually workout at 8 pm. What what would be the best time to workout? If I workout before work then I wouldn’t be able to eat until 1 pm…. Thoughts?

    Melissa McAllister says June 15, 2018

    Hi Donita! I think if you eat a diet that’s high enough in fat and are getting the calories in during your eating window (even if you feel full to bursting after meals!!), you should be okay exercising in the morning, and still not eating till 1. Please send me a direct message so we can talk more about your specific needs 🙂 –

Theresa says May 6, 2018

Melissa. I work 8 to 5 approx. I exercise in the evening after work. I IF until lunch which is usually 12 to 1 and then eat dinner after the gym which is usually around I.

Christine says May 7, 2018

Meal timing around training • trying to remain low-carb following a program like 80-day. I’m trying to make the switch to your MADE diet from an old-school body builder mentality … This confuses me greatly

Kelly says May 11, 2018

With a full time 8-4 and teaching evening fitness classes 2/week i have been playing around with this.

My typically schedule is –
Workout 4am
Breakfast 11ish
Lunch 12-1 depending on my work schedule
Dinner 6-7 depending on my fitness class schedule.

I appreciate any tips 😘

Amanda says August 17, 2018


I really want to try intermittent fasting, but am wondering, can I do 80DO fasted or any type weight training? I ask because I’ve heard “only do cardio fasted, not strength training “ so I thought I would ask you! ❤️

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