Fasted Cardio - What And Why?

This article was originally posted at www.tom-gilbert.com

For those of you that are reading that as though it’s written in Swahili, the definition of fasted AM cardio is quite straight forward; it’s cardio in the morning before breakfast. Simples. 

Yes, it’s as horrific as it sounds, if not more horrific. The majority of people who are taking part in such a thing will most likely be following a pretty intense diet at the same time, making it even worse. The sound of your stomach rumbling whilst realising you still have 28 minutes left to run really is quite harrowing. In a bid to drop a bit of that wobble that sits on my gut i’ve been waking and running on an empty stomach 4 times a week for a few months now so have become pretty used to it. I wake at 6AM, am on the treadmill by half past and done by 7. 

Why so early? The sooner it’s done, the sooner I eat. 

Why?

By doing fasted cardio, the hope is that you’ll turn straight to your body fat stores for energy - rather than the energy that would be sat in your stomach had you eaten before. Like anything, fasted cardio isn’t for everyone and some go as far as saying it’s doing more harm than good, setting yourself up for an increased loss of lean muscle. 

Loss of lean muscle hasn’t been a problem for me and I’d say it’s all down to the intensity. If the intensity level is moderate then there shouldn’t be too much of an issue when it comes to lean muscle loss. When you start to feel you are losing lean muscle, just bring the intensity back a little. 

The Benefits

There are more benefits to fasted cardio than you may think and it’s well worth looking into properly. Whilst there is more than one benefit, today I'll be talking about fat burn; mainly because it’s the main reason you’ll all want to start, and the only reason I started!

When taking part in cardio whilst in a fasted state, you will have a much greater ability to burn the stubborn fat stored on your body. Hallelujah! For women these areas tend to be the hips and thighs whilst for men it's the lower back and abs. After reading that one paragraph I’d put money on at least one person starting fasted cardio next week - and I’m all for it! 

How often?

So after reading the above, I’d imagine there are one or two of you that may want to try your hand at hungry cardio but aren’t too sure how to go about adding it to your current programme? 

The frequency is entirely up to you, and to be honest in this case there’s no such thing as too much. Since you should be keeping the intensity much lower than a normal run, you can do this daily if you think it’s necessary. Feeling the need to run daily can however be an indication that there’s something not quite right with your diet. Get this nailed first and then give the cardio a go. Remember; you can't out-run a bad diet.


READ THIS NEXT: What is HIIT?

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