Fasted Cardio: Yay or Nay?
Diets can be difficult to stick to and sometimes expensive, unfortunately. Personal trainers or specialized work outs that grantee fat loss and mass gain are also expensive and are time consuming. Everybody is looking for the new trendy work out practice that is going to get them shredded. Some of the most common ways are HIIT, LISS, and fasted cardio. This post is going to focus on the ladder, which is fasted cardio. We will cover: what it is, if you’re a good candidate for fasted cardio, how to implement it, and if it really works or not.
Everybody knows the benefits of cardio 🏃🏼♀️. It improves the body’s ability to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, it reduces blood pressure, it aids in overall muscle recovery, it improves mental health, can reduce the risk of diabetes, as well as aid in managing diabetes. There are more benefits, however, it is not effective in building big muscles or fat loss. Fat loss and muscle growth can only occur with a balanced diet, in conjunction with strength training as well as cardio. With all these benefits, and the fact that it doesn’t require anything more than a shirt, shorts, and a pair of shoes to try some cardio, people are looking to get as much out of their cardio time as humanly possible. So, at some point in time, someone decided to start doing cardio without eating anything for several hours prior. Now we have the trendy Fasted Cardio.
This exercise trend is said to be the trick to losing those last few pounds of belly fat, others also say that it is no better than fed cardio. Let’s break fasted cardio down and look at it from both sides.
How Does Fasted Cardio Work?
First off, hungry cardio and fasted cardio, are NOT the same. After eating a meal some people will be hungry an hour later, however, their body is still working to break everything down. So in order to qualify as “fasted,” that means you have to give your body enough time to completely break down the meal prior to a fasted cardio session. For most people that time span will be 3- 4 hours. A good deal of people engage in fasted cardio session first thing in the morning after having some water, before breakfast.
The idea behind fasted cardio is that the absence of food for a short period of time, while engaged in a cardiovascular workout, will force one’s body to burn stored fat for energy as opposed to utilizing carbohydrates from a meal. Many people claim that fasted cardio acts as an appetite suppressant, so their breakfasts are smaller. Studies have shown that fasted cardio does initially start burning stored fat as a fuel source, however that effect is acute and stops shortly after the workout. An hour or so after a fasted cardio session, the body will turn back to burning carbs to provide the body with energy, for the rest of the day. Fed cardio shows the opposite, the body immediately burns carbs to fuel the workout, and over the next 24-36 hours the body will burn stored fat as energy. The same can be said about fasted resistance training.
Few studies have been conducted to study the effects of fasted cardio, and those that have been conducted have been short and difficult to state definitively that fasted cardio is “better” than fed cardio. There are studies that claim fasted cardio increases blood flow to the abdominal region. There are also studies that claim fasted cardio can lead to muscle breakdown; this is only true when a person is only utilizing fasted cardio to get into better shape.
Is Fasted Cardio better Than Fed Cardio
There is a 2008 study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, that showed that men who engaged in fasted cardio workouts did a better job of breaking down carbohydrates at their next meal, due to the lack of insulin. Insulin level are at their lowest when the body is completely done breaking down food. If your body is effectivity breaking down meals, that means you are storing less fat, which leads to a leaner body.
A plethora of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of fed cardio, and it can be said with 100% certainty, that fed cardio is very beneficial for anyone looking to get in better shape.
The reason that so many people are trying this workout, is because of the feeling one experience during and after a workout. People claim their focus is improved and they experience a great “high” from fasted cardio. So, all this being said, fasted cardio is a personal choice and should be trialed.
The next time you wake up before the alarm goes off, lace up your running shoes and go run some hills and see how you feel.