Girl with pink sneakers running on the treadmill

Why I don't do fasted cardio

The first step to considering fasted cardio is laying out your goals and seeing how they align. Is fasted cardio for you?
This blog explains what fasted cardio means, and why I believe there are other methods that are better for fat loss overall.

While it is my personal choice not to perform any fasted cardio, it doesn't mean it's not for everybody.

2 + 2 = 4 but so does 1 + 3. This means that there are NUMEROUS ways to achieve a goal, however you need to find one that is best suited to you and your lifestyle and goals. Fasted cardio is essentially performing cardio in a fasted state where your stomach is empty or food has not been consumed for an extended period of time. Some argue that fasted cardio in the morning is effective because as you fast overnight, your body conserves its carbohydrate stores and therefore lean toward using fat for fuel in the AM. So now after gaining an understanding of what fasted cardio is, why do people do it? Usually, the first reason lies behind its fat burning benefits. Fasted cardio is considered ideal for those just beginning their fitness journey with a lot of weight to lose, that may find it difficult to do high intensity exercise (Think box jumps, sprints, skipping, etc.). However, studies have shown that fasted cardio also tends to burn through lean muscle mass as well, which is not a great result, as more muscle mass means a faster metabolism and less body fat = winning! My personal goals don't require me to be perform fasted cardio. Even at a time as stressful as comp prep (one week out, ekkk!), I don't have the NEED to do it.

I always stress that nutrition should control your fat loss and weight training should control your muscle size, while cardio controls your cardiovascular fitness goals.

My cardio of choice for fat loss would be HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), ideally 60-90 minutes after eating. HIIT burns more fat over a 24 hour period, as well as maintains the muscle mass. Like the Functional Sessions in The Bod, HIIT encourages fat burning, whilst maintaining lean muscle mass. As a trainer, I would rarely prescribe fasted cardio, based on the fact that I believe there are better ways of achieving results in a faster time frame. Muscle is difficult to build and maintain, and we should always aim not to lose it. When we do prescribe HIIT into a session, just ten minutes of HIIT is better than a long session of steady state, fasted cardio. Think short intervals, intense activity, 110% effort and a very fast heart rate! I believe in controlling body fat percentage through nutrition alone, NOT training.
Sophie x

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