When it comes to weight-loss programs, fasting is considered to be the most extreme. However, there is one method that is even more extreme, and that method is called “fasted cardio.” Fasted cardio is a simple concept: You do a lot of cardio while fasting. This is a somewhat extreme method, but for those of us with stubborn rolls that just won’t go away, it offers a relatively quick solution. That being said, this method can result in muscle loss if it is not applied properly.
Having applied this method myself, I can tell you that it produces real results and produces them quickly. I was able to get myself down to 7% body fat. Total weight is 185 pounds if anyone is curious.
What Exactly Is Fasted Cardio?
It is important to realize that exercising on an empty stomach is not always the same thing as fasted cardio. Although you will most certainly be exercising on an empty stomach, there is more to the method than that. To be more specific, there is a difference between simply being hungry and being in a truly fasted state.
The Good And The Bad:
To understand this, it is first important to understand what happens in your body when you eat. You know that food contains energy and nutrients, but you may not know how those nutrients are used. First, they are broken down by the stomach acid into their components. Once all the glucose and amino acids and such have been freed, the nutrients are absorbed by the blood, through the walls of the small intestine. Once in the blood, a special hormone known as insulin distributes the nutrients to the various cells in the body.
The content and size of a meal will determine the amount of time that the insulin takes to do its job. It also determines the period of time in which insulin production will be elevated. When you are in a freshly-fed or “postprandial” state, insulin levels are elevated. When you are in a fasted state, insulin levels are at their absolute lowest. It takes about three to four hours after eating before a human body reaches a fasted state. As you can see, “fasting” does not imply that you will go days without eating.
The idea of fasted cardio sounds really easy. You just switch up your routine a little bit so that you do your workout at a time when you haven’t eaten in 3-4 hours. Like many things that sound simple, this is not. If you do not complement this little trick with a properly-controlled diet, it won’t do you any real good. There is a simple law to the universe that refers to the balance of energy. If you burn more energy than you take in, you lose weight. If you take in more energy than you burn, you will gain weight. There is no hack that will get you around this simple reality.
It should be noted that you do not have to be in a fasted state to lose weight. Many people do cardio in a fed or semi-fed state and achieve good results. However, research has shown that fasted cardio increases the rate at which your body burns excess fat. Further research also shows that a 3-day fast will significantly increase blood flow to the abdominal area. This is good because one of the causes of stubborn belly fat is the relative lack of blood flow to the abdomen area.
We’ve looked at the positive, so now let’s consider the negatives. Fasting will increase the body’s consumption of muscle tissue just as it will increase its fat consumption. However, the rate of increase is actually pretty small. Still, it is not easy to put on muscle, so even a small loss is a problem. When the body is breaking down muscle faster than it can be restored, the result is muscle loss. This problem can often be made worse by the lack of energy that accompanies fasting. However, the body can adapt to this problem. It’s hard to get a good workout if you don’t have a lot of energy. That’s why this weight-loss method is best for those in need of radical weight loss.
The practice of fasted weightlifting is just as effective as fasted cardio. Both of these types of exercise do a good job of stimulating your body to produce the chemicals that burn fat. If you are really concerned about your muscle mass, go with this method. However, be prepared for a lower-energy workout.
2 Ways To Burn More Fat:
- Do Fasted HIIT Training:
Many of the experts say that fasted cardio isn’t very effective. They don’t deny that it works, but they deny that it works well. To some extent, they are correct. It is true that fasted cardio alone won’t make a huge difference. To obtain maximum benefits, fasted cardio needs to be combined with high-intensity interval training. This is a fancy way of saying that you exercise in short, intense bursts, with intervals of milder activity. There is a lot of research that shows this method to be highly effective.
- Use of Supplements:
There are many supplements on the market that can help you along in this matter. Here is a short and partial list:
- Caffeine: Boosts metabolism and gives energy
- HMB: Prevents muscle loss when fasting
- Yohimbine: Blocks the activity of fat cells
- Fat Burners: Kicks the fat oxidation rate into overdrive
Is It Best To Do This In The Morning?
Although it is by no means required, you are likely to achieve better results by doing your fasted cardio in the morning. Since no one can eat and sleep at the same time, we all fast for about 6-8 hours a day. When you first wake up, you can be sure that your insulin levels are at their absolute lowest. However, even a small meal can mess the entire process up, so don’t cheat!
Should You Eat After Fasted Cardio?
If you look carefully at this, you will see that muscle degradation will increase after a fasted workout. As such, you need to halt the process by eating immediately after the end of your workout. As this study shows, you won’t really burn any extra fat by delaying your meal. This is how you avoid the only serious downside of this weight-loss method. Pretty easy, huh?
The Bottom Line:
Fasted cardio isn’t a magic bullet or a perfect solution. It does require care in order to do it properly, but even its critics won’t deny that this method works. If you would like to learn more, follow us on facebook to receive the latest updates on fat loss and other related topics.