EC believes that fasted cardio is a big no-no, as it may limit your performance and therefore calories burnt. Time for a different opinion!
Fasted Cardio For Fat Loss
I was asked by the head of this excellent website to give my opinion on fasted cardio, defined as doing cardio long enough after eating that we are in a fat-burning state having for the most part used up much of our glycogen reserves.
I have been doing fasted cardio for many years. For me that means first thing in the morning before I break-the-fast with a breakfast. The cardio I do is running, five to ten miles, outside in nature. It can be described as long, slow, distance. My pace is in the vicinity of seven to eight minutes a mile, but I really don’t worry about it. I just run as fast as is comfortable for me. After many years of running, I imagine as most runners do, I have a built-in time-keeper.
I never worried about intensity. I started running before they named HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), although I would do speed work or intervals if I had a race in the near future.
Questionable, But Works!
The result of this questionable activity is that I was quite awake and alert when I got to work in my job as a surgeon. I have maintained a low body fat percentage (<10%), low normal BMI, and 29 inch waist for many years with this lifestyle.
It’s not that I planned on this lifestyle, but the crunch of time and unpredictable hours of my profession, never knowing how my day would go, led me to run or go to the gym first thing in the early morning to get it over and done with. What I discovered was that my fat was disappearing.
A recent study from Northumbria University by Dr Emma Stevenson, Javier Gonzalez, and Ben Green, was published online in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The study examined twelve physically active male subjects who ran on a treadmill, either after they had eaten breakfast or in a fasted state having not eaten since the evening before.
The results showed that those who had exercised in a fasted state burned almost 20% more fat compared to those who had consumed breakfast before their workout.
The study concluded that “Our results show that exercise does not increase your appetite, hunger or food consumption later in the day and to get the most out of your session it may be optimal to perform this after an overnight fast.”
Just Do It!
Rather than worrying about whether fasted cardio works or not, here is your chance to be the experiment. Just do it and let us know whether or not it works for you in achieving your personal goals.
Even if one doesn’t want to do fasted cardio, I still would recommend morning cardio for most people.
Dr. J is regular contributor about all topics health and fitness over at CalorieLab. A Florida surgeon and fitness freak with a black belt in karate, he runs 50 miles a week and flies a Cherokee Arrow 200.
Picture courtesy of Waqas Mustafeez.