Is Fasted Cardio The Ultimate Fitness Hack for Fat Loss?

Do you know that according to WHO almost 38% of the world’s population are obese or over-weight? And if this trends continues than it is just matter of time when almost 51% of world’s population will suffer from obesity in less than 12 years.

We live in an era where people now, are more aware than ever about the importance of health and fitness. Yet they fail miserably to achieve their fitness goals. Obesity is considered as one of the major health problems which causes cardiovascular diseases such as heart diseases and stroke. These are one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

Obesity is major health problem
Obesity a major health concern (Source – Getty Images)

Intermittent Fasting has gained much popularity in the past 10 years to help individuals losing overall body fat. But there is another approach that has gain recognition which is Fasted Cardio.

Fasted cardio involves engaging in cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach, typically right after waking up. But the question rises if this is the ultimate fitness hack for fat? Many expert claims that fasted cardio, particularly in the morning can burn up to 20% more fat than compared to doing cardio other time of the day.

So if you are wondering, if fasted cardio is the missing piece in your fitness journey, then keep reading. In this article we will explore its potential and help you decide if it is the best strategy to achieve your weight loss goals.

Understanding The Concept Of Fat Loss

First of all, we need to understand what really a fat is! Now you may think of FAT as some nutrient but, here we are talking about the fat that is stored in your body.

Understanding Concept of Fasted Cardio
Understanding Concept of Fasted Cardio (Source Getty Images)

According to Dr. George_A. Bray – “Body fat can be defined as the accumulation of adipose tissue in various areas of the body, including subcutaneous fat beneath the skin and visceral fat around internal organs. It serves as an energy reservoir and plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including metabolism and hormone production”.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to understand the difference between Weight Loss and Fat Loss.

Weight Loss refers to the reduction of the total body mass, which can result from various factors such as loss of body fat, muscle, or water. It is often a goal for individuals seeking to improve their overall health, appearance, or manage specific health conditions, with an emphasis on reducing the number on a scale.

Fat loss is a specific component of weight loss, focusing on the reduction of adipose tissue (body fat). The main goal of fat loss is to target the maximum loss of body’s fat percentage while maintaining or even increasing muscle mass.

It is very necessary to recognize that fat loss is not just about losing body but also about improving overall health.

What is Fasted Cardio?

Fasted Cardio is simply referred as exercising on empty stomach in fasted state before you have taken your first meal of the day. Type of cardiovascular exercises which are generally performed are jogging, running, cycling or long duration treadmill walk.

Fasted cardio has significantly gained attention in recent years due to its successful outcomes in fitness, health, and weight loss strategies. One of the key factor that contributes to its popularity is its similarity with the intermittent fasting trend. Here individuals alternate between periods of eating and fasting. This approach has become very popular for its potential health benefits, including weight loss. 

The Science Behind Fasted Cardio

As you learnt previously that any exercise performed during fasted cardio happens in Fasted State. Let’s dive into the science behind this phenomenon.

The human body is a very smart biological machine, and it needs constant energy from healthy foods to run properly. Now, when you have fasted overnight, this leads to lowering of Glycogen (stored carbohydrates) levels in the body. This results in body to use stored fat as energy for functioning.

Exercising in fasted state increases the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, these are the hormones that promotes breakdown of fat. Also, fasted cardio boost the production of growth hormone, which enhances fat metabolism while preserving muscles. Finally, fasting promotes the release of fatty acids from fat cells, making them available for energy production.

Additionally, lower insulin levels during fasting encourage the utilization of stored fat for energy. These factors collectively make fasted cardio an effective strategy for maximizing fat loss during workouts.

How Fasted Cardio Benefits You

Fasted cardio offers several unique benefits that set it apart from other workout routines.

First of all, it is a very efficient method for burning fat. Exercising in a fasted state means that your body relies on stored fat as its primary source of energy, which can accelerate fat loss process.

Secondly, it improves insulin sensitivity which makes your body more efficient at regulating blood sugar. This can be very valuable for individuals who are concerned about diabetes or looking for methods to manage their body weight.

Fasted cardio by far is the most convenient exercise. By performing it in the morning, you can prioritize your workout before daily responsibilities take over. Many people report that it naturally increases the energy levels during fasted workouts which leads to a more productive training sessions. Lastly, it triggers metabolic adaptations over time, that helps to boosts overall fitness and endurance.

Recommended: How Fasting Improve Your Health

Fasted cardio benefits
Benefits of fasted cardio (Source – Getty Images)

Who Should Avoid Fasted Cardio?

While Fasted Cardio may have immense benefits for many, but it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain health conditions or specific fitness goals should approach it with caution or consider alternative approaches.

  1. People with Low Blood Sugar Issues: Fasted cardio involves exercising in a low-glycogen state, which can lead to decreased blood sugar levels. If you have a medical condition like hypoglycemia or diabetes, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before attempting fasted cardio to avoid potential complications.
  2. Endurance Athletes: Athletes engaged in long-duration, high-intensity activities, like marathon running or long-distance cycling, may not benefit from fasted cardio. These activities require sustained energy, and fasted workouts may lead to early fatigue.
  3. Bodybuilders or Strength Athletes: Individuals focusing on muscle gain and strength may find that fasted cardio, which can potentially break down muscle for fuel, contradicts their goals. In such cases, it’s better to eat a balanced meal before exercising.
  4. New Exercisers: If you’re new to exercise or just beginning a fitness routine, fasted cardio may not be the best starting point. It can be strenuous, and it’s essential to build a fitness foundation before attempting it.
  5. Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women: Pregnant or breastfeeding women require consistent energy and nutrients for both themselves and their child. Fasted cardio may not provide the necessary support, and it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional.
  6. Those with Medical Conditions: Individuals with medical conditions, such as heart problems or metabolic disorders, should consult their healthcare provider before attempting fasted cardio. It may not be suitable, depending on their specific conditions.

How Long Should You Do Fasted Cardio ?

The recommended duration for fasted cardio is typically between 30 to 45 minutes. This timeframe is sufficient for utilizing stored fat for energy. However, beginners can start with shorter sessions of around 20-30 minutes and gradually progress. Experienced individuals may extend sessions up to 45 minutes or even an hour for increased fat-burning benefits, depending on their fitness level and goals.

How Long Should You Do Fasted Cardio
How long should you do fasted cardio (Source – Getty Images)

Common Misconcepitons And FAQS

Is Fasted Cardio Effective?

Fasted cardio can be effective for fat loss as it encourages the body to use stored fat for energy. However, its effectiveness depends on an individual’s fitness goals and overall routine.

Is 20 Minutes Of Cardio Enough?

While 20 minutes of fasted cardio can be beneficial, it may not maximize fat burning. Ideally, 30 to 45 minutes allows your body to utilize stored fat efficiently. Beginners can start with 20 minutes and gradually increase the duration for better results.

Can I Drink Water During Fasted Cardio?

Yes, it’s advisable to drink water during fasted cardio to stay hydrated. While you’re in a fasted state, maintaining proper hydration is essential for your overall well-being and workout performance. It can help prevent dehydration and optimize your exercise routine.

What Is The Disadvantages Of Fasted Cardio?

Yes, it’s advisable to drink water during fasted cardio to stay hydrated. While you’re in a fasted state, maintaining proper hydration is essential for your overall well-being and workout performance. It can help prevent dehydration and optimize your exercise routine.

Is Fasted Cardio Good Everyday?

Fasted cardio can be done daily, but it’s not necessary. For many people, 3-4 sessions a week can yield benefits without overtaxing the body. Your workout schedule should align with your fitness goals, lifestyle, and how your body responds to daily fasted workouts.

Do I Need Protein After Fasted Cardio?

After fasted cardio, consuming protein is essential. It aids in muscle recovery and growth. A high-quality protein source within 30 minutes of your workout is recommended to optimize these benefits.

Can Fasted Cardio Build Muscle?

Fasted cardio primarily focuses on fat loss and may not directly build muscle. It can, however, help reveal existing muscle definition by reducing body fat. To maximize muscle growth, combining it with strength training and post-workout nutrition is advisable.

Are Bananas Good After Cardio?

Bananas are a good post-cardio snack. They provide carbohydrates for quick energy replenishment, potassium for muscle function, and important nutrients. They can help with recovery and refueling after a workout.

What Is The Best Post Cardio Food?

The best post-cardio food includes a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. This combination replenishes energy and supports muscle recovery. Options like a banana with peanut butter or a protein smoothie with fruits are excellent choices for refueling after a cardio workout.

Can You Workout While Fasting?

Yes, you can work out while fasting. This is known as fasted exercise. It can help with fat loss as your body uses stored fat for energy. However, it’s essential to stay hydrated and consider your individual health and energy levels when exercising in a fasted state.

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