What is fasted cardio?
Buzz words and trendy jargon are common place in the fitness industry. One of the latest phrases banded around is ‘fasted cardio’. But what is fasted cardio? Is it something that you should add to your training? What are the benefits? These questions and others have been put to our ambassador and personal trainer, Dan Lambert, who provides all the answers.
Fasted cardio is a term used for a protocol where cardiovascular training is performed in a fasted state of more than 6-hours, usually first thing in the morning.
Although this method has been utilised by bodybuilders for decades, fasted cardio is relatively new to the mainstream, with some advocates believing that performing exercise in a fasted state better utilises body fat as a fuel and therefore is a more efficient way to lose body fat than traditional training.
However, although there is a scientific theory behind this method, there is very little evidence to show that performing exercise in a fasted state burns more body fat than performing exercise after a meal.
Looking beyond the theory
Studies comparing the amount of body fat burned in fasted participants and fed participants have delivered confusing results, usually contradicting each other and supporting the opposing theory that whether fed or fasted, our body will utilise both stored carbohydrates and stored body fat and it does not matter when we eat - it’s more of a question of personal preference and at what intensity are we training. Some people prefer to work out on an empty stomach, and some people do not like to feel their tummy rumble while they are training!
One good, one bad
One positive of fasted cardio is that it is usually performed at a light intensity and can be a rather pleasant form of exercise. Most participants walk or cycle at a comfortable pace while watching the tv, listening to a podcast or chatting to a friend for an hour, however this can also be very time consuming!
A negative of fasted cardio is that it may not provide an adequate source of energy for higher intensity training, such as HIIT or weight training. This is mostly personal preference, although some people may find they do not have the strength or strength endurance to complete a harder form of training under a fasted state, without adequate muscle glycogen stores. .
Why not give it a try and see for yourself.