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Does Fasted Cardio Work ? – Burn More Fat Now !

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Fasted cardio is one of the many methods used when it comes to weight loss and is often employed by many professional bodybuilders and physique competitors when it’s time to get their body show ready. Even when Arnold was in his prime he did fasted cardio every morning especially when he needed to get to low body fat percentages for the Mr Olympia. The thinking behind this set up is that if you go straight to the gym before you consume any calories and get your normal cardio routine in like you would normally do after your workout, the energy needed for that cardio will be the fat on your body instead of utilising the glucose in your system since you have none because you didn’t eat anything.

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Does It Actually Burn Fat ?

The short answer is yes, but there is a whole lot more to it… You see fasted cardio is effective because as you sleep your body stops using the carbohydrate stores for fuel and starts assembling fat for fuel. Furthermore it doesn’t only use more fats, but also more amino acids because your body breaks down amino acids into glucose overnight. So if your goal is to build muscle fasted cardio isn’t really ideal since it will use fat and potentially amino acids as fuel.

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Fasted Cardio And Muscle Loss

One question that always seems to come up is that if fasted cardio uses amino acids as fuel will it lead to muscle loss ? well yes and no, yes only for when you do higher intensity forms of cardio such as HIIT cardio and no for any kind of cardio that is low to moderate intensity.

Benefits Of Fasted Cardio

  • Fasted cardio doesn’t only have the benefit of helping you burn more fat, but it also targets the areas where most of your fat is stored like your belly/love handles for men and hips/thighs for women. If you have ever tried to lose weight you should know that these areas of the body tend to be the very last place your fat will come off from.
  • Furthermore, fasted training can also boost you levels of Vo2. V02 is “the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise, it is used as a way of measuring a person’s individual aerobic capacity”.
  • Another benefit is that the leaner you are the more effective fasted cardio will be for you. When men have a body fat percentage of anything lower than 7% and for females anything lower than 15%, fasted cardio will be more effective and you will burn even more fat. If you have a higher body fat than of those just listed then you should probably try HIIT cardio instead after your workout.

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To sum up fasted cardio definitely helps you burn more fat among many other benefits, but if your goal is to build max muscle then it is best for you to eat something light with high protein and moderate carbs (e.g. protein shake and some fruit) before the workout. If you’ve ever tried fasted cardio before, let us know how effective it was for you and if you have anymore questions about fasted cardio leave a comment below.

12 thoughts on “Does Fasted Cardio Work ? – Burn More Fat Now !

  1. Hello there,

    Cardio is really a two-sided coin. On one side you lose the fat, but you also lose the muscles that you were trying to gain throughout your strength exercises. When I was in fitness I started with cardio straight away in order to lose some of that fat, but I also lost some muscle. I did try to eat a lot of proteins etc, but it’s inevitable that you will lose some muscle mass when losing weight. Could you recommend any other path that I could take in order to lose fat and still keep all of the muscles ?

    1. Hey Dejan,

      The best way to keep as much of your muscle as possible when dieting is to have a lot of protein, lift heavier weight and to sleep longer.

      Hope that helps !

  2. Wow ! I do love it when I come to your site as I always find the information I need. Funny though, I was already training like this and that’s because every morning I do my cardio before I eat. However I did not realise the benefits that came from doing this, I choose not to eat my breakfast because I hate tasting my breakfast as I do my morning run.

    I’m also guessing this is the reason why I am so lean. I mean I haven’t always been this way. Yet, a couple of years ago I made the choice to get up every morning and do my cardio as soon as I got out of bed and because of this I’ve lost inches off my waist line.

  3. I regularly train at the gym and my preferred time is a morning workout. However, I normally train to build muscle and maintain physique, but could benefit from losing some belly fat. You are very clear about the fact that fasted cardio works and I am confident that it does, but is there a specific length of time you need to perform cardio for in the morning. For example do you need to do an hour cardio for best results, or will a 30 minute session be sufficient if you have not eaten. Additionally, how many days a week would you recommend and over what time period to start seeing the results.

    1. If your going to go and do cardio you should know how many calories you are supposed to burn during that session. So if your supposed to burn 200 calories then you need to stay on that machine for as long as it takes until you burn 200 calories. Furthermore, if your goal is to maintain muscle cardio should probably not be done anymore than 4 times a week as doing more will affect your recovery.

  4. As someone who is not a real big fan of fasted cardio, you breakdown the pros and cons very well. I can tell you know what you are talking about.

    I like how you mention intensity of the workout can help you decide if one should workout on an empty stomach or not. Some great stuff here. Keep it up !

  5. Fasted cardio sounds interesting and like something I would like to try. The problem I have is that if I don’t eat before I exercise I tend to get light headed. Do you have any suggestions to prevent that so that I could try some fasted cardio and get maximum fat burning ?

  6. Once in a while I do some fasted cardio by taking my dog for a walk in the park before having breakfast.. so I guess we both get some fasted cardio in. She likes to run for the whole walk so I really get some good cardio in !

    I love getting fasted cardio in when I’m cutting for summer, makes things so much easier.

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