Fasting for Fat Loss

steakI stepped off the plane on Saturday feeling amazing, even though it had been almost 20 hours since I last ate. But I didn’t care, because I was fasting for fat loss. In fact, this was the best fast I’d ever done.

But first, let’s go back in time to Friday afternoon. I was at a seminar in New Jersey, and we finished up a very rich lunch of steak, mashed potatoes, rolls, and berries and yogurt for dessert. That was at 1pm and I was full.

I didn’t want anything else, but my buddy Zach Even-Esh wanted to go have a beer to end another success meeting. I said sure, so off we went to a pub in New Brunswick, New Jersey. By 4pm we were done, and I was still full. g

I decided right then I would move my Monday fast up by a couple of days, since I was going to sleep in and then I had a flight back to Toronto on Saturday morning. I figured that schedule would work in my favor, keeping me busy to make the fast go smooth.

And I was right – this weekend’s fasting for fat loss was easy.

On the other hand, last week I tried fasting from noon on Monday to noon on Tuesday, and to be honest with you, I didn’t enjoy that schedule, but that’s another story for another time.

So after the beer with Zach I went back to the hotel, slipped in a short 15 minute arm workout, and chilled out while reviewing the exciting new info I discovered hanging out with some really sharp fitness experts all week. I can’t wait to use these tips to help make Turbulence Training even better.

The next morning I woke up and got myself to the airport. I started to get a little hungry, and as you know, airports are full of all sorts of temptations, and even plenty of healthy food options (from almonds to apples and salads – no excuses to not eat right in airports anymore!). Besides, it was nice to save money not spending it on overpriced junk in the airport.air

Plus, because I was in the fasting mindset, it wasn’t a bother to avoid all that…I looked through some magazines for what was new in the workout world, and then I started writing some Turbulence Training newsletters and blog posts. The next thing I knew, it was time for my flight.

When we landed in Toronto, it was funny to listen to other passengers complain about how hungry they were…because they hadn’t eaten in 3 hours! But that’s what we’ve become adapted to…eating all the time…and it’s no wonder no one can stick to a diet.

Now at this point, I also had to decide whether or not I was going to workout…after all, I had been fasting for 20 hours, and every trainer would say I was crazy for working out without a pre-workout snack.

And those trainers that are really brainwashed by the media would say, “You can’t workout unless you have a pre-workout drink containing a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein.” I can’t stand those types of “pocket protector personal trainers”. They need to lighten up and quit quoting so much science.

pullups, pull-up exerciseBut off I went to the gym where I actually had as a good of a workout as I would have had if I had been eating my normal meals. I deadlifted 355 without straps and with an overhand grip. I finished up with more deadlifts, some military press, good mornings, and pullups.

Stronger than I was last week. Good stuff. And the fast continued to go by, well, “fast”.  I wasn’t slowed down at all during the workout. I felt great…and when I was done, I was up to about 22 hours, and that’s when I finally had a chocolate milk after my workout.

So that’s it, that’s how fasting for fat loss goes…and that’s how easy it is.

Let me know if you have any questions about fasting (I’m sure you do!),

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Fasting For Fat Loss

  • Jim

    Craig: How often do you fast? Is it every 48 to 72 hours?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I fast once per week.

  • Wazzup

    How did your workout look ? Working out fasted is fine, but too much volume kills me. I have to keep the workout short (but intense).

  • Craig, I love fasting a la ESE and have been doing same for a good solid 6 months. It’s fun to read about your experience!

    I have a preference for the dinner – to – dinner cycle, knowing dinner is on the way is a real perk and you needn’t go to be hungry.

    And I usually work out on fast days – I like the combo!

    BTW, that icy class of Guiness looks darn good!

    thanks for the great post,
    Lani Muelrath

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Yes, I like dinner to dinner too.

  • Pingback: Fasting for Fat Loss | Brad Pilon's Nutrition Help Blog - Eat Stop Eat, Nutrition and Health()

  • I’m 23 hours into a fast right now myself, and about 10 minutes away from working out. I feel better if I fast before workouts.

    Not sure what airports you landed at LOL. I landed in LAX and didn’t see anything but nasty grease balls. Landed home at PDX and found a Jamba Juice. Ended up with some tasty raspberry granola thing 🙂

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great work on that fast!

  • Craig,

    I’m a big fan of the ESE as well. I love your new blog! Thesis is one of the cleanest themes on the net. Great choice.

    On a side note…I did a TT Bodyweight Circuit last Monday and my legs were sore until Thursday. I had been doing them all Winter in place of lifting, because I was working 70 hour weeks and spending 20 hours per week running my blog. The past month I went back to lifting and HIIT, but the treadmill HIIT just wasn’t as challenging as the bodyweight circuit. So I decided to add these in with my weight lifting routine twice per week…beginning last week.

    My legs were toast. You are a bad man!


    Obviously kidding! Some of the best fat burning activity I have ever done (and I’m not a beginner by any means).

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Glad you liked the workout…just wait till you try what I have in store for April!


  • gbgeek

    Craig, thanks for providing your experience. I’m a bit new to this so hopefully my question isn’t silly. I remember reading that during fasting your body will use the most readily available source of energy – oftentimes breaking down muscle. Is that true? Or is it only true for much longer periods of fasting?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      The body doesn’t burn a lot of protein, it uses carbohydrates and fats instead. So muscle breakdown is not as much of an issue as most people think. We’ll get more in-depth on this topic soon.

      I’ve actually gained muscle while doing this current fasting experiment…more details to come…

  • Chris Viar


    Thanks for giving ESE a try. It’s nice to have a respected trainer experiment and then hear how those experiences go. I really like ESE, and it was strange that I needed to read the ESE material to be convinced that I wouldn’t lose energy while fasting. I now believe it was all psychological. I used to fast occasionally, and I thought I got too hungry and lost energy. Once the ESE materials suggested otherwise to me, I had no trouble fasting 24 hours, even on workout days. It was all in my head.

    I have a question though. I do tend to eat heavier than I probably should when I come off the fast in the evenings. (I really like evening to evening fasting better than morning to morning. I don’t like going to bed hungry.) Any suggestions as to how to avoid my tendency to eat so much.


  • shelley

    Hey Craig, was curious what liquids you consumed when you were fasting??

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Shelley!

      Water and green tea.


  • Ariel


    First off let me just say that you are amazing and have widened my perspective on the correct ways to lose fat! I absolutely love Turbulence Training circuits, and I have been using them for a few months now. After gaining the freshman “20”, only about 8 weeks ago did I start getting really serious with my nutrition plan and I have gone from 122 to 113! I still need to get down to my previous weight, 100 (I’m 5’3″), and I had a question about fasting.

    I love the ESE program and I have started fasting a lot more, I was wondering if it would be beneficial to fast 3x a week instead of just two? If it helps, I have been using body-weight circuits 3x a week (MWF), as well as HIIT 3x a week (TTS). If 3 days a week is okay, what days would be best for me to fast through, my body-weight circuit days, or my HIIT days? I always wondered if it was better for my body to fast on HIIT days so my body could really torch body-fat while I am fasting…You are the expert though, and any advice from you would be much appreciated!

    Thanks Craig!

    ps. I downloaded some of your weekly calls and you have an extremely sexy voice! You have a sexy body too! I wish I lived in Canada, I would love to come to one of your fitness seminars!! Take care 🙂

    • Craig Ballantyne

      3 times per week is too much. Two at the most, as Brad says in the book.



  • Ariel

    Thanks for the reply! Also, does it matter which day I fast through, my body-weight circuit days vs. HIIT days? Basically which would produce the best results, or does it not make a difference…

    Thanks so much!!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      No difference!


  • Rodger Dewing

    Hi Craig,
    I bought the ESE e book and have done some fasts, some are terrible especially after I have worked out I have found. So my question is. When do I work out When do I fast? FASt then work out at the near end of my time or workout and fast the rest of the day? My guess is fast and workout near the end of the time..around the 22nd hour. I have thought about this many times. Tell me the answer!! haa before I go crazy.
    Rodger New Zeland/Taiwan

    • Craig Ballantyne


      I have found that schedule works best! To workout near the end…or to do it on a non-workout day.

  • Timea

    Hi Craig and Everybody,
    I found that timing is quite crucial with ESE. It is rather hard for me if I pick a day when I have off so I now do it when I have to work. It is better to keep myself busy during the fast and of course, sleeping takes up much of it. Brad suggested that if you put the sleeping part towards the end of the fast, that’s pretty easy so that’s what I normally do.
    Also, I will continue doing this even if I do not want to lose any weight, just for health maintenance purpose. The fast gives the body a chance to do other things, like cleaning itself. BTW, I don’t think Craig does this for fat loss as there is not much/any fat to lose on that body any more 🙂

  • Rodger Dewing

    If you do it on your rest day, thats also your muscles repair day that makes muscles, when you work out you destroy tissue and you make the muscles when you rest, so, if you dont eat during that time…would it hinder any progress? Can fat stores feed muscles? becaue thats what youd be running on on your rest days, your fat stores. And yeah growth hormone is released, but whats it going to grow us with if theres no foon the system?
    Are these good questions? Im not being an egg I just want to do it right and the e book says nothng about it. And thanks alot for answering. I feel special! Joking but true.

  • Rodger Dewing

    oopsy, I mean’ food in the system’. not foon the system.

  • clement

    hey craig,

    do you have a 7-day coaching call on this form of intermittent fasting? if yes, could i have the link? i would like to hear more about it. i’m very interested to know more about how it works exactly pertaining to the way it burns fat. thanks!


  • Susan

    Hi Craig,
    I’m 64 years young and work out at the gym 4 to 5 hours a week. In the last 6 – 8 months I have gone from a size 4 to a size 8 with most of the fat along the waist line.

    I have a sugar addiction. Is the ESE plan a good one for me? Or do you suggest another one of your plans? I eat out 4 nights a week and not big at cooking.


  • Mat

    hey mate,
    when i needed to shred fat i used to eat very little amouts of food mostly protein shakes and somtimes not eat dinner. but ive let my self get outa shap through persanol issues and tried using this method and had no improvements. so i was told 2 eat low carb. i have spent months trying 2 shape up but no luck. im going 2 try things u sugest on ur site. i kickbox 5 times a week and wanna make weight 4 n fight. any tips on how 2 over com this would be great.. also when u fast 2 days a week should u fast 2 days in an row any how does this work??

  • Scottie

    I’ve thought of implementing fasting at least once a week into my routine. But how does this effect metabolism? A lot of the health and fitness articles say to eat every 5-6 meals a day because it keeps your metabolism up and that’s what I typically do.

    So how does fasting help and what really happens to our metabolism during a fast? Thanks

  • Paul

    I’ve been fasting for 2 months now – 7 days a week on a 18/6 split. The first few days were difficult but I barely even notice now. I feel like I have gained control of both my brain and my stomach in regards to food. I eat healthy during the 6 hour feeding window but am surprised about having no desire for big meals. I’ve lost 18 pounds and never felt better.

  • Fasting hass all kinds of benefits, my favorite is increase production of HGH. I always work out in a fasted state to maximize my HGH levels. I wait until at least 45 minutes after workout out to eat.

  • Ross Cullen

    Chocolate milk post workout?