Like many training techniques in the fitness industry, fasted cardio has its pros and cons. Some people swear by it while others say it does more harm than good. So what’s the deal? We’re here to break it down for you!

What is Fasted Cardio?
Fasted cardio is cardio performed while in a “fasted” state while your stomach is empty. This is a period where your insulin is low and food is no longer being processed and absorbed.

The Good
Some studies have shown that those who did their cardio fasted experienced a greater increase in their strength, power, and oxygen levels – in comparison to those that ate prior. Another bonus to working out first thing in the morning is it (in some cases) may boost your fat burn. Your levels of cortisol are higher in the morning, and cortisol is the hormone that helps to metabolize fat into energy. AKA: your body is pretty much waking up as a fat burning machine!
The Bad
This all seems great, however the biggest problem is the potential loss of muscle mass that can be associated with fasted cardio. In this case – on an empty stomach – your body will resort to using amino acids for fuel, which are essential for building muscle mass. If you’ve worked hard to build your muscle, the possibility of losing it seems like a high price to pay in exchange.

To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Whether or not you decide to forgo your daily oatmeal in the morning, the decision is ultimately left up to you. Are there pros and cons? Sure! But your tolerance for exercising fasted has to be assessed by you and your body – just make sure you’re listening and it will tell you exactly what it needs!


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  1. September 30, 2016

    If you are fat-adapted, like on a ketogenic diet, fasted cardio will go straight to fat deposits for fuel, not to muscle. In that case, it’s all gains!!

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