Does Fasted Cardio Really Work?

fasted cardio
If you prefer to workout in the mornings are you more likely to burn more fat?

Running out the door for a cardio session before breakfast may actually be the key to moving those excess kilos.

After a night without eating our blood sugar and glycogen levels drop making it the perfect environment for your body to learn how to metabolise fat. Resisting the urge to eat upon waking and taking the opportunity to train on an empty stomach is a great way to force your body to tap into its fat reserves while insulin levels are low.

Think of it this way, if you have just tucked into a high-calorie energy drink before you work out (or while) that is what your body is going to call upon for fuel.  But if there is nothing in quick reserve (glycogen) then the next best thing is oxidising the fat.

It’s not just the fact our insulin levels are low but our growth hormones work in opposition to these levels which make them high in the morning before we eat.  What is good about this I hear you say? Well, growth hormones break down fat cells and they are at their highest at this time.

All sounds great, doesn’t it…BUT many don’t believe in this strategy and here’s why

There is an argument to say that it’s more beneficial to maximise fat oxidation after the exercise, and not spending endless hours burning fat during exercise with steady, low-moderate intensity exercise…which can be done through high-intensity interval training.
Plus another study goes on to show that the intake of carbohydrate-rich meals before and after a high-intensity, exhaustive workout maximised the use of fat for energy after the workout, while the carbohydrates were being used to restore glycogen.

Really, it comes down to the fact that as long as you burn more calories than you consume in a day it doesn’t matter if you use fat or carbohydrates for as an energy source.

Personally, I love the feeling of getting a workout in before sunrise and kick-starting my metabolism but in saying that I also feel my appetite increases if I exercise in the morning, leading me to be hungry for lunch a lot earlier ( and susceptible to snacking).

Working out in the morning may also lead to the possibility of sneaking in another workout in the evening whether it is resistance training or stretch based which adds to the total number of expended calories for the day

I really think it is a ‘horses for courses’ topic with some people not feeling like they have the energy in the mornings to exercise without eating first.  There really is no point just going through the motions if you could get in a better HIIT workout later in the day after a pep up with food in the belly.

I think it would be good for those that are struggling to burn fat in those stubborn areas, to get in a cardio session before breakfast if anything it sets you up for the day and creates that chain effect of setting yourself up to choose healthier eating options.

 What’re your thoughts on the subject? Are you a fan of fasted cardio?
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