The Fasted Cardio Debate

The jury is still out on whether or not fasted cardio is ideal for burning body fat. The short answer is…it’s complicated. There is research to support that your body can burn up to 20% more fat following a fasted bout of cardio in the morning. This is due to the fact that when you sleep, you are in a fasted state and your body conserves your carb stores. Exercising first thing in the morning when your body is depleted of calories and carb stores forces it to look elsewhere for energy to burn as fuel. If you guessed fat stores, you are correct. However, we also know that your body breaks down amino acids into glucose while you sleep. This means that fasted cardio potentially forces the body to pull from both your fat stores and your amino acids for energy, which can have a negative effect if building and maintaining muscle is your top priority since the body may catabolize some of your hard earned muscle along with some body fat.

My recommendation for those trying to get lean is to add 2-3 days of 15-20 minute bouts of fasted cardio in the morning in addition to your strength-training program. Consume a BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) supplement following the cardio to help offset muscle catabolism. Closely monitor your results for a few weeks and decide whether or not you are getting the results you desire. There are some who swear by it, others who feel strongly that it is counterproductive to building muscle. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Yours In Health,

Coach Brian