fitness life

Should You Be Doing Fasted Cardio?

What is fasted cardio? When do I eat? Is fasted cardio the right workout for me? How fast is my digestive system processing and breaking down food?

Fasted Cardio is:

Doing cardio with no food in your body AKA running, boxing, walking, etc before you’ve eaten or 4-12 hours after you’ve eaten. The time frame really depends on each specific person — How fast is your digestive system processing and breaking down food?

What are the benefits of Fasted Cardio?

  1. Fat Burning. Research shows that doing cardio on an empty stomach helps you burn more fat throughout the day. Which means the best time to get your cardio in is in the morning so you’re burning more fat all day long.
  2. More time, less excuses. If you decide to do fasted cardio in the morning, then you skip breakfast. This means you have more time to sleep or more time in the gym. On the flip side of that, if you eat in the AM and wait 30-40 minutes for your food to digest then go to the gym, you’re less likely to go because you have 30-40 more minutes to find an excuse.

What are the cons of Fasted Cardio?

  1. Tearing down muscle for fuel. If your body is craving energy and there’s no place to get it, then your body could begin breaking down your muscle tissue for fuel.

So which workouts should I avoid when I’m doing Fasted Cardio?

The best state to be in for fasted cardio is LISS (A low-intensity steady state) or the opposite of HIIT (High intensity interval training). Why? Because “the idea is to stay between 50 and 60 percent of your target heart rate, which you can do during a walk, slow run, elliptical jaunt, or yoga class” (Jim White, R.D.N).

Avoid these workouts:

  1. Weight lifting. Your body doesn’t have enough energy during a fasting period to preform at its best.
  2. HIIT. Same thing as the weights, your body doesn’t have the optimized amount of energy.
  3. Crossfit.

Is fasted cardio right for me?

Is Fasted Cardio Worth It?

Maybe. It depends on who you are, what your goals are, and what you’re looking to accomplish.
Today, the research is pretty mixed so listen to your body. I’d recommend trying fasted cardio 2-3x per week for a few back-to-back weeks and track your progress and how you’re feeling. If it’s working, keep it up! If you’re not satisfied, make some changes, implement them the following week and try again. A little A/B Testing is always a good idea.


Resources:

Listen to what your body needs.

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