L'entrainement à vélo à jeun: pourquoi ? comment ?

Cycling training on an empty stomach: why? how ?

Training on an empty stomach, good or bad idea?


Fasted exercise , which involves cycling without eating first, is a practice that has been around for a long time, but has been particularly in the news lately. You may have already tried it yourself or are considering this method of losing weight through cycling.

But what are the real advantages of cycling on an empty stomach ? and how to do it correctly?

What is fasted training?

Fasted cycling training involves training by reducing the carbohydrate intake to the working muscles. To do this, we generally avoid consuming carbohydrates before training or during...

Traditionally, these sessions take place early in the morning, before breakfast.

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Benefits of cycling training on an empty stomach

When training on an empty stomach, we favor the use of fats due to the depletion of carbohydrates caused by fasting (which can simply be a night of sleep between the last meal and the session the next morning) and low blood sugar. In practice, although this is used for weight loss, it is especially interesting when returning to a high -carbohydrate diet, which improves performance.

Several studies have shown that fasted cycling sessions, with low carbohydrate availability, can lead to positive physiological adaptations associated with fat metabolism, to a greater extent than traditional training.

Integration into training

When we cycle, our energy comes primarily from two sources: fats and carbohydrates.

The most trained athletes have a significant amount of energy stored as body fat, as well as a more limited amount of carbohydrates, stored as glycogen, in their muscles and liver.

For an endurance, low-intensity effort, most of your energy comes from fat.

As your exercise intensity increases, a greater percentage of your energy comes from carbohydrates.

Although carbohydrates are less available , they are easier for your body to use, making them the preferred source when you need a large amount of energy quickly.

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How to properly integrate fasted cycling sessions into your training?

Fasted workouts are great for cyclists who don't have enough time to train.

Including 1-2 fasted sessions maximum in your training program can provide you with similar aerobic benefits as a longer, well-fueled session.

The golden rule in fasted training is to maintain a low intensity of effort, in endurance, below 80% of your HRMax.

The time and frequency of your sessions should be increased gradually. Start with 45 minutes to 1 hour and gradually build up to a 2 hour output.

When you are used to this type of cycling session on an empty stomach, you can use another method consisting of leaving and riding on an empty stomach for 1 hour 30 to 2 hours, before starting to eat on the bike , at a rate of 30 g. of glucose per hour.

Anticipate the downside!

Whether for a fasted outing of one or two hours, always take something to refuel you.

Training on an empty stomach greatly increases the risk of hypoglycemia. One or two emergency gels (or other type of food with a high glycemic index and rapid assimilation) will come in handy if you are unable to return.

The risks of training on an empty stomach

Training too often, too long or too intensely on an empty stomach tires the body and leads to negative adaptations . It is therefore essential to carefully monitor how your body reacts to these types of sessions and to avoid long-term fatigue.


After your training session on an empty stomach , it is essential to eat a balanced snack to recharge your batteries and reap the potential benefits.

To maximize the effect of fasted training , avoid consuming high-carbohydrate foods (especially processed sugary products) immediately after training, as they can reduce some of the adaptations and benefits of this type of training.

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