16/8 Intermittent Fasting Morning Workout Routine

Hey there, early bird! So you’re an intermittent fasting fan who loves to start the day with a good sweat session? High five! As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I’m all about finding ways to optimize your morning workout routine to support your weight loss and fitness goals.

If you’re following the popular 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule, you may be wondering how to structure your workouts for best results. Should you exercise on an empty stomach? Will fasted cardio help you burn fat faster? Is it okay to lift weights before breaking your fast?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of morning workouts while intermittent fasting, and I’ll share my top tips for creating a safe and effective 16/8 intermittent fasting morning workout routine. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Morning Workouts

First, let’s talk about why morning workouts are so awesome, especially when combined with intermittent fasting. Here are a few key benefits:

  1. Boosts your metabolism: Exercising first thing in the morning can help rev up your metabolism and keep it elevated throughout the day, which may support weight loss and fat burning.
  2. Improves insulin sensitivity: Working out on an empty stomach has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Enhances mental clarity and focus: The endorphin rush from exercise can leave you feeling energized, clear-headed, and ready to tackle your day with gusto.
  4. Establishes a healthy routine: Making morning workouts a regular habit can help you stay consistent with your fitness goals and set a positive tone for the day ahead.
  5. Frees up time later in the day: Getting your workout done and dusted early means you’ll have more flexibility and freedom in your schedule for other activities and commitments.

Of course, morning workouts aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay! If you’re not a morning person or if it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, there’s no need to force it. The most important thing is to find a workout time that works for you and that you can stick with consistently.

Fasted vs. Fed Workouts: What’s the Difference?

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: is it better to work out fasted or fed when following a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule? The answer, as with most things in nutrition and fitness, is “it depends.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each approach:

Fasted Workouts


  • May enhance fat burning and weight loss by tapping into stored body fat for fuel
  • Can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control
  • May boost the production of growth hormone, which supports fat loss and muscle gain


  • Can be challenging to perform high-intensity or long-duration workouts without adequate fuel
  • May increase the risk of muscle breakdown and fatigue, especially if done too frequently or intensely
  • Can be uncomfortable or nauseating for some people, particularly those with sensitive stomachs or low blood sugar

Fed Workouts


  • Provides readily available energy (in the form of glycogen) to fuel intense or prolonged exercise
  • Can support muscle growth and recovery by providing amino acids and other nutrients
  • May feel more comfortable and sustainable for some people, particularly those with high caloric needs or active lifestyles


  • May not tap into stored body fat as effectively as fasted workouts, depending on the timing and composition of your pre-workout meal
  • Can interfere with some of the metabolic benefits of intermittent fasting, such as enhanced insulin sensitivity and autophagy (cellular cleanup)
  • May require more planning and preparation to ensure you’re eating the right foods at the right times to support your workout

Ultimately, the best approach for you will depend on your individual goals, preferences, and tolerance. Some people thrive on fasted workouts and find that it helps them lose weight and burn fat more efficiently. Others feel stronger, more energized, and better able to build and maintain muscle mass with fed workouts.

If you’re new to intermittent fasting or morning workouts, I recommend starting with low-to-moderate intensity fasted workouts (like walking, jogging, or light resistance training) and gradually increasing the intensity and duration as your body adapts. If you find that you’re struggling to complete your workouts or experiencing negative side effects like dizziness, nausea, or excessive fatigue, try having a small pre-workout snack (like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts) and see how you feel.

Tips for an Effective 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Morning Workout Routine

Alright, so you’re ready to give this whole 16/8 intermittent fasting morning workout thing a try? Awesome! Here are my top tips for making it work for you:

  1. Start slow and listen to your body. If you’re new to fasted workouts, begin with shorter, less intense sessions and gradually work your way up. Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after your workouts, and adjust your intensity and duration as needed.
  2. Prioritize hydration. Drinking plenty of water (and maybe even a bit of black coffee or green tea) before and during your workout can help keep you energized and prevent dehydration. Aim for at least 16-20 ounces of water before you hit the gym.
  3. Focus on compound movements. Exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once (like squats, lunges, push-ups, and rows) will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of fat burning and muscle building. Plus, they’re more time-efficient than isolation exercises like bicep curls or leg extensions.
  4. Mix up your routine. Incorporating a variety of cardio, strength training, and flexibility work can help prevent boredom and plateaus, and support well-rounded fitness. Aim for at least 2-3 resistance training sessions per week, along with regular cardio and stretching.
  5. Plan your post-workout meal. To maximize the muscle-building and recovery benefits of your workout, aim to eat a balanced meal with plenty of protein and complex carbs within 30-60 minutes of finishing your session. This will help replenish your energy stores and provide the raw materials your body needs to repair and rebuild.
  6. Be flexible and adaptable. Some days, you may feel energized and ready to crush a high-intensity workout. Other days, you may need to dial it back and focus on gentler, more restorative movements. That’s okay! The key is to stay consistent and make adjustments as needed to support your overall health and well-being.

Remember, the best morning workout routine is the one that you actually enjoy and can stick with long-term. Don’t be afraid to experiment, listen to your body, and find what works for you!

FAQs About Intermittent Fasting and Morning Workouts

Still have questions? I’ve got answers! Here are some of the most common queries I get about 16/8 intermittent fasting and morning workouts:

Can I drink coffee before my morning workout?

Yes, a cup of black coffee (or tea) before your morning workout is totally fine, and may even give you a nice energy boost! Just be sure to stick to plain, unsweetened varieties and avoid adding any cream, sugar, or other caloric ingredients that could break your fast.

Will I lose muscle if I work out fasted?

While there is some concern that fasted workouts could lead to muscle loss, the research is mixed. Some studies suggest that working out on an empty stomach may actually help preserve muscle mass while promoting fat loss, particularly when combined with a high-protein diet during your eating window.

That said, if you’re doing very intense or prolonged workouts (like heavy lifting or endurance training), you may benefit from having a small pre-workout snack to provide some readily available energy and prevent excess muscle breakdown. Experiment and see what works best for you!

How long should I wait to eat after my morning workout?

To maximize the muscle-building and recovery benefits of your workout, aim to have a balanced meal (with plenty of protein and complex carbs) within 30-60 minutes of finishing your session. This will help replenish your glycogen stores, kick-start the muscle repair process, and break your fast in a nourishing way.

If you’re not quite ready for a full meal right after your workout, try having a small snack (like a protein shake or a piece of fruit) to tide you over until your first main meal of the day.

Can I do high-intensity workouts while intermittent fasting?

Yes, you can absolutely do high-intensity workouts while following an intermittent fasting diet! In fact, some research suggests that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be particularly effective for fat loss and improving insulin sensitivity when combined with intermittent fasting.

However, it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel during and after your workouts. If you’re constantly feeling fatigued, weak, or dizzy during your high-intensity sessions, it may be a sign that you need to scale back the intensity or have a small pre-workout snack to fuel your performance.

As with any new workout routine, it’s always a good idea to start slow and gradually build up your intensity and duration over time, especially if you’re new to intermittent fasting or morning workouts.

Should I do cardio or strength training in the morning?

The type of exercise you choose for your morning workout routine will depend on your individual goals, preferences, and schedule. Both cardio and strength training can be effective for fat loss, muscle building, and overall health when combined with a balanced intermittent fasting diet.

If your primary goal is weight loss, you may want to prioritize cardio workouts (like jogging, cycling, or HIIT) to maximize calorie burn and boost your metabolism. However, be sure to incorporate resistance training at least 2-3 times per week to help preserve muscle mass and support a healthy body composition.

If your main goal is building muscle and strength, you may want to focus more on lifting weights and doing bodyweight exercises during your morning workouts. Aim for at least 2-3 strength training sessions per week, and be sure to fuel your body with plenty of protein and complex carbs during your eating window to support muscle growth and recovery.

Ultimately, the best approach is to include a variety of both cardio and strength training in your morning workout routine, and to listen to your body and adjust your intensity and duration as needed. For more guidance, check out this article on “What Should I Eat During Intermittent Fasting 16 Hours” to help fuel your workouts and support your goals.

The Bottom Line on 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Morning Workouts

There you have it, my friend – everything you need to know to create a safe, effective, and enjoyable 16/8 intermittent fasting morning workout routine! By combining the power of intermittent fasting with regular exercise, you can supercharge your weight loss, improve your insulin sensitivity, and support your overall health and well-being.

Just remember to start slow, listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed to find what works best for you. And don’t forget to fuel your body with plenty of nourishing whole foods during your eating window to support your workouts and your weight loss goals.

For more tips and inspiration on your intermittent fasting journey, be sure to check out these helpful resources:

And if you’re looking for a done-for-you meal plan to take the guesswork out of intermittent fasting, be sure to grab my “16/8 Intermittent Fasting 7 Day Meal Plan” for delicious and nutritious recipes to fuel your success.

You’ve got this, early bird! Keep crushing those morning workouts and nourishing your body with whole, healthy foods. Your strong, vibrant, and energized future self will thank you.

Important Disclaimer: As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regimen, especially if you have a history of disordered eating or any underlying health conditions. Intermittent fasting and intense morning workouts may not be suitable for everyone, so always listen to your body and prioritize your overall health and well-being. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.

Molly Winter

About the author

Molly Winter, RDN & CPT, is passionate about helping you achieve optimal health through balanced nutrition and enjoyable exercise. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, she provides practical advice and delicious recipes to make healthy living sustainable. Join her on this journey to a healthier, happier you!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}