Fasted Cardio: Is It Worth It?
Oct 7th, 2019 - 3 min read
It is often claimed that fasted cardio is a better fat burner than regular cardio. But how much truth is in that statement?
Let’s break down the fasted cardio argument…
The argument for fasted cardio claims that you can burn up to 20% more body fat than you would if you had a meal or snack beforehand.
And the argument against fasted cardio claims that exercising on an empty stomach can increase the breakdown of protein; therefore resulting in muscle wastage.
Since cardio is primarily used to cut fat; fasted cardio naturally seems to fit the bill. However, to the dedicated weight trainer; muscle wastage is the last thing we want.
The fact is; there is no blanket conclusion to suit all.
In the end, fasted cardio works for some, whereas others find it makes no difference at all.
On the other hand; some simply don’t like training on an empty stomach and then there are those who actually prefer to train on an empty stomach.
I’m not surprised.
What to do?
The bottom line is; many people have achieved their fitness goals both with and without fasted cardio. So the good news is; it’s not the be all and end all.
Put simply; - and you already know this but I’ll say it anyway, to help drive home my point…
Fat loss always occurs as a result of a calorie deficit. Therefore, the person consuming high calorie foods (that exceeds their BMR) throughout the day isn’t going to see much benefit using this, or any other fat burning method for that matter.
On the other side of the coin; a person consuming fewer calories than their BMR, will likely still lose fat whether they exercise or not.
So I hope you can see that this is not as straight forward as getting up and going for a 6am run.
What about muscle wastage from fasted cardio?
Any experienced lifter will know that some muscle wastage is to be expected during their cutting phase. However, the goal is always to limit this as much as possible.
Generally speaking; excessive cardio (fasted or not) will result in muscle wastage. So you have to find a balance that allows you to cut fat while holding onto as much of your lean muscle as possible.
I’m sorry to say, but this isn’t something that anybody can easily determine for you. Sure there is an element of ‘damage limitation’, which usually involves advising against highly restrictive diets and excessive cardio. But the bottom line is; nobody, - no matter how experienced, - can predict how your body will react to anything.
So the best you can do is trial a few methods on yourself, and carefully monitor your results.
This will require time and patience on your part, but so does building muscle. So if you don’t have that, I’m sorry to say, you don’t have anything.
Fasted cardio concluded
I’ve been around long enough to know that people are going to do whatever they are going to do. Therefore; when all is said and done, fasted cardio is a matter of choice. And that choice is yours.
For the record; there is no conclusive evidence to support either method. So do what works for you.