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Fasted Cardio- Does it Work?
Should you eat before or after your workout? This is one of the most debated topics among fitness gurus but the fasted cardio approach has been gaining recent popularity after the British Journal of Nutrition reported that it can lead up to 20% fat burning.
What is fasted cardio?
Doing fasted cardio does not necessarily mean working out on an empty stomach. Throughout the day, the body fluctuates between two states: fed and fasted. A common misconception is assuming these states are the same as feeling full and hungry. The duration of the fed period is 4-6 hours after a meal while the body is breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. The ideal window for doing fasted cardio is 8 hours after a meal which is why most people choose to do it in the morning.
Does it work?
The main benefit of exercising during a fasted period is that insulin levels are at baseline. As a result, the body must burn fat during a workout. Experts recommend an accompanying high intensity workout (HIIT) which is known to burn more fat. This method is very effective for losing fat quickly and in “stubborn areas” (hips, thighs, lower back). Depending on the desired results, this may be a good option for you. One of the main down sides of doing fasted cardio is that it leads to muscle loss which could be an issue for those looking to maintain muscle.
Is it healthy?
While many people think they would not have enough energy to work out without eating, there is enough stored energy in the body to sustain a one hour HIIT work out. While switching to this type of workout may require some adjustment, research proves that the body has the same energy levels after fasted cardio and not fasted cardio. In light of this, there are personal considerations that need to be made as this may not be suited to everybody’s preferences. If you do choose to try this, it is important to stay hydrated and to eat a high protein meal an hour after working out.
As we’ve seen, there are some evident benefits of doing fasted cardio so if you’re up for a challenge, why not give it a try?