Fasted Cardio: Here’s the Truth

If you’ve ever rolled out of bed and immediately pumped it to the treadmill cup, oh buzz, you’ve tried fasted cardio without knowing it. Exercising on an empty stomach isn’t always intentional.But fitness pros say there are reasons to try— especially if you have endurance or body restructuring goals.

What is fasted cardio?

The type of exercise and the time elapsed since the last time you ate matter here. Certified strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers say that to count as fasted cardio, the workout in question should be a rhythmic, single-structure movement, such as cycling, running, or rowing Josh Schlotterman.

How long do you need to give up food?According to John Gardner, NASM certified trainer and the CEO behind the fitness platform start, no matter how long it takes for your stomach to empty and your digestive system to be “off.” “Depending on how fast your digestive system is working or what you last ate, your body could be in a fasted state for four to six hours,” he says. However, the best results usually come from exercising after fasting for 12 hours. Most common: on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

Caffeine Cravers, Fear Not: It Yes Kosher coffee (no creamer or sugar), before workout, according to Schlottman, drink water before fasted cardio. In fact, it might be better: One of the biggest hurdles people encounter with fasted cardio is low energy levels. “Drinking a little caffeine can help give you energy during your workout,” he says.

First things first: Is fasted cardio safe?

As long as you’re in good health, you can try cardio on an empty stomach. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, Gardner recommends that you consult a healthcare professional. “Fasted aerobic exercise is extremely dangerous for people with any health condition that is affected by low blood sugar,” he said. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded while exercising on an empty stomach, you should also skip it, he adds.

It May Support Your Body Restructuring Goals

if you want to reduce body fat percentage, fasted aerobic exercise may be beneficial. When you work out after eating, your body uses the calories you just burned to fuel your workout, explains Schlottman. “When you’re in a fasted state, your body doesn’t have any fast carbohydrates or other calories that it can easily use as fuel,” he says. Instead, it has to be converted to glycogen, which is how carbohydrates are stored long-term in the muscles and liver. Once your glycogen stores are depleted, the body turns to fat stores for fuel, he says.

result? You burn more fat.A study published in british journal of nutrition It was found that people who ran on a treadmill in a fasted state burned 20% more fat than those who ate first.

it increases your stamina

Fasted cardio can also support your endurance goals. That’s because it trains your body to rely less on fast-burning carbohydrates and sugars for energy and instead use fat for fuel, Schlottman explains. Because your body stores far more fat than glycogen, this ability prevents endurance athletes from “hitting” or “hitting the wall.”In fact, in a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology People who exercised on an empty stomach gained more endurance than those who exercised at the same intensity while fed.


Note that burning fat for fuel is a less efficient process, so the same workout at the same intensity will Feel It’s even harder, sports nutritionist Natalie Rizzo, RD, previously told Well+Good. Not everyone can happily exercise on an empty stomach. If exercising without food is too painful to exercise at all, forget it and stick to your pre-workout snack.

Rizzo also warns that everyone’s body responds differently, and that regular, fasted cardio for long periods of time could lead to vitamin deficiencies, mood swings and weakened immunity. If you think fasted cardio is counterproductive, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your strategy.

Additionally, “make sure you eat plenty of carbohydrates and Balanced Meal After Workout Refuels you and gives your body the fuel it needs,” says Gardner. Failure to refuel yourself after fasted cardio can affect your ability to recover normally, he says. any gains made.

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