Fasted vs no carb Zone 1 ride

Thoughts on doing Zone 1 rides fasted vs a no carb breakfast.

I have been in the camp of no carb breakfast before long Zone1 rides. Is there an even greater benefit of doing them fasted? Carb on the bike 2-3hrs in.


I do most of my 1-2 hour “easy” rides fasted during the week because I roll out of bed early and just crawl onto the bike, haha. If the ride is classified as “hard” and it is in the 1-2 hour range I usually jump on the bike fasted but will eat something small while warming up to give me some fuel for later in the ride. I am curious about the science though and have no clue whether I am helping or hurting the situation.

1 Like

Same here. I usually do not like to eat early. Only if I am planning a hard ride/workout I will plan on eating earlier. I feel when I hold off eating and doing my easy training fasted, I have better control of diet and weight in general. I think regardless I return hungry and tend to (probably) eat a bit much post ride and can actually gain weight when not going hard and eating before and after. I wonder if it is helping or hurting in other areas.

1 Like

Timely article!

FASTED Riding: How Eating Less Might Make Your Faster - PezCycling News


@murphyy12, that’s a great call, and definitely falls in line with what some of the science is suggesting. I’ll post a few citations below that are good resources for some of the research, but in general it seems to be a worthwhile strategy to have in your toolbox. It’s just finding that balance of fueling appropriately for hard sessions and maintaining overall adequate energy availability. What @bgkeen said is important too - if you’re coming home thrashed from a fasted ride and then over-eating, that might not be the most effective approach at the time.

De Bock, K., Richter, E. A., Russell, A. P., Eijnde, B. O., Derave, W., Ramaekers, M., Koninckx, E., Léger, B., Verhaeghe, J., & Hespel, P. (2005). Exercise in the fasted state facilitates fibre type-specific intramyocellular lipid breakdown and stimulates glycogen resynthesis in humans. The Journal of physiology , 564 (Pt 2), 649–660.

Schwalm C, Deldicque L, Francaux M. Lack of Activation of Mitophagy during Endurance Exercise in Human. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Aug;49(8):1552-1561. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001256. PMID: 28272266.

Van Proeyen, K., Szlufcik, K., Nielens, H., Ramaekers, M., & Hespel, P. (2011). Beneficial metabolic adaptations due to endurance exercise training in the fasted state. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985) , 110 (1), 236–245.

Coach Ryan


Check out Fast Talk episode 123: Performance Gains and Adaptations from Fasted Training, with Dr. Brian Carson

Have you ever woken up early in the morning to go for a ride, skipped breakfast, and thought, “I wonder if that was bad for my training? Or maybe it was good?!” In today’s episode, we try to decipher if there are any advantages or disadvantages to occasionally riding, or exercising in general, in a fasted state.

There are several references provided and, of course, the searchable transcript.


1 Like