Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat?

Getting to the Heart of Fasting & Fat Loss

You may have thought about it or heard of this strategy, but it’s been one heavily questioned whether it’s best to exercise on an empty stomach or not.

Fasted cardio is literally just that – engaging in a cardiovascular workout, such as running, jogging, or cycling, on an empty stomach.

It typically refers to cardio workouts in the mornings, where people skip breakfast altogether (lengthening the fasted state that our bodies essentially experience while we sleep), with the thought that they will burn more fat.

The idea is that fasted cardio forces your body to depend on stored energy sources, such as fat deposits, to get you through the workout. It’s a fad that’s become popularized by the bodybuilding industry and more extreme fitness gurus, but it’s now catching on with the average person who’s trying to lose weight.

So what’s the truth about fasted cardio? Does it really burn more fat? And should you be doing it?

The Truth about Fasted Cardio and Fat Loss

Does fasted cardio burn more fat? The simple answer is not really. Recent research (*by Horowitz and colleagues) has shown that there was no different in the amount of fat burned regardless of whether the subjects had eaten or not.  The results held true until the 90 minute mark where subjects who had fasted began to have a favourable shift to the amount of fat burned.

That means a heck of a lot of strain on your body to starve and then only have some benefit after exercise for longer than 90 minutes.

What’s worse is that you may also push your body into a state where it also burns muscle for energy. And the experts agree – you’re less likely to work out at full capacity on an empty stomach.

All these factors are always good to take into consideration any time you hear of one fat diet or another, there are so many that have these extreme changes which wreak havoc on all your regulatory hormones. And when your hormones are in flux that means your mood is in flux and although they have a short-term impact, the long-term impact can mess up your entire fat-burning metabolism regulation.

Your Take-Away:

The best tried and true strategy, if you’re going to try anything is High Intensity Interval Training.  I’ve tested it time and time again on myself and with many clients and nothing has come close to boosting fat burning.

If you want to explore some other fat loss concepts check out these previous posts:

Weight Loss on Low Carb Diet – is the low carb option right for you?

High Protein Diet Strategies – what about high-protein diets?

Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss – find out if other approaches to fasting can really work!

 *Horowitz JF, Mora-Rodriguez R, Byerley LO,and Coyle EF. Substrate metabolism when subjects are fed carbohydrate during exercise. Am J Physiol 276(5 Pt 1): E828-E835, 1999.

Have any questions or feedback about these Fasted Cardio tips? Please leave a comment below…