Fasted Cardio and its Effect on Weight Loss
We’ve all heard someone talking about fasted cardio or someone telling us to do. Hell, even I talk about it and do it, but is fasted cardio all its cracked up to be?
Find out if fasted cardio truly is the next step in weight loss as fitness gurus preach or if it’s no different or worse than normal cardio!
What is Fasted Cardio
Well, it’s pretty straight forward, do as it says on the tin. Go perform your morning cardio fasted, this means eating nothing prior to your workout.
So instead of having that bowl of cereal first thing in the morning, throw on your trainers and head out to do some cardio instead!
Whilst performing fasted cardio for the first few times you might find it especially difficult, this is because you will lack energy. If you are used to consuming food prior to a workout then this fasted state can be a bit of a shock to the body.
Effect of Fasted Cardio
If you had consumed breakfast prior to your cardio then your body can utilise it in the form of energy. The body can break down the carbohydrates in these foods, using the glucose to produce energy for the cardio. Instead, however, perfroming the cardio fasted means there is no immediate energy available to the body.
Due to the body not having this glucose in the blood to power you through the exercise it is forced to find an alternative solution. Instead, it uses small amounts of glycogen (a glucose derivative) stored within muscle cells.
So what happens when your glycogen stores are depleted? We already know there is no glucose in the form of food but now your body runs out of glycogen stores in the muscle so what does it do?
When your body becomes this low on energy it begins tapping into your liver glycogen stores. As a result of using these stores as a form of energy, it also begins to break down muscle. Muscle tissue is broken down and converted into energy in the process of catabolysis.
So although this means that you can keep on running it does mean that your muscle mass is decreasing. Your body is literally eating itself to provide energy for your morning cardio!
Fasted Cardio vs Fed Cardio
So now you know what fasted cardio is and the effect it has on the body. So how does fasted cardio compare against fed cardio for weight loss?
Well according to most scientific studies there is little to no difference! Most people jump on the scales after a week or so expecting fasted cardio to have done wonders. In reality, however, it is no better than fed cardio. [See here].
Other studies even found that more weight loss was achieved whilst performing fed cardio! At the end of the day weight loss is due to “calories in vs calories out”. By eating, prior to your workout, you will be able to perform for a longer duration and at a higher intensity!
Why does fasted cardio work then?
Fasted cardio is not for everyone. The key to exercise is consistency and finding a type you enjoy doing.
If you are doing an exercise you enjoy you are more likely to perform it on a regular basis. Most forms of cardio achieve similar results in regards to the actual science but people get better results when they find one they like doing.
If you enjoy fasted cardio and you are seeing results then keep going! If you find it difficult to convince yourself to do fasted cardio or even end up skipping sessions, then it’s probably not for you. Find the type of cardio which you enjoy and the results will follow!
It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela
Comment below or hit me up on social media with your thoughts on fasted cardio and your favourite type!