There are many ways of burning fat and fasted cardio is one of them. Fasted cardio has always been accompanied by a misconception and this can be one of the reasons why people say that it is not healthy nor effective.
Before we delve into explaining the pros and cons of fasted cardio, let us first define what it is and compare it to its counterpart, fed cardio.
The misconception about fasted cardio is that you train while you have an empty stomach. That is why people do their cardio and workouts during the mornings because this is when they have not really taken any food yet.
However, there are contentions to this with people saying it is not healthy to work out without at least any energy in the body. This is something we can debunk now. There is, in fact, energy in the body even if you just got out of bed. Nevertheless, the energy we talk about here is the fat you have stored in your body.
The way our body stores energy is this: when we eat, our body converts the nutrients from the food to energy and brings them to the cells, body organs, and our muscles. Insulin is also produced during digestion and they are the ones that transport the nutrients to the cells.
During the state when your stomach digests the food, you are said to be in a “fed” or “postprandial” state. This is then followed by a state called “fasted” or “postabsorptive” wherein your body is finished in digesting and absorbing the food’s nutrients.
When insulin is produced, your body is signaled that you have enough energy from your meal and that is what your body uses. This is why people advise you to not exercise after you eat a meal because chances are you will only burning the meal you took and not the fat you have stored in the body. Seems logical, right?
You can look at it in a first-in, first-out way. When you eat, the energy gets stored on top of the fat you already have on your body. If you exercise in a fed state, the energy is burned first. If you exercise in a fasted state, then the fat stored is the energy your body will use.
How do you maximize fasted cardio?
Now that we have answered the misconception of fasted cardio as exercising with an empty stomach, we should explain how fasted cardio helps burn fat more and how you can maximize this training.
First of all, it is not enough that you do fasted cardio without lowering your fat and calorie intake. This is common sense since you cannot expect your body to burn more than it can when you do not cut down on your calories.
If your goal is to lose weight and to burn fat, then it is best to avoid high-calorie food. It is best to take a look at your diet and eating habits and evaluate if the food you usually take is high in calories. If you plan on getting fatter or gaining weight, then sure, a high-calorie diet is good for you. However, the opposite is what we are trying to achieve.
Secondly, fasted cardio helps in burning stubborn fats. Stubborn fats differ between males and females. In males, they are found in the lower abs, lower back, and in the obliques. For females, it’s in thighs, hips, and butts.
To break down fats, the body uses catecholamines so that fat cells are converted into energy. There are two types of catecholamines and they are alpha-receptors and beta-receptors. Alpha-receptors are more resistant to fat mobilization while beta-receptors actually speed up the process.
Taking in the term stubborn fats, the fats found in the body parts recently mentioned are named as such because they have more alpha-receptors.
Stubborn fats have something to do with blood flow as well. When body parts have less blood flow, fewer catecholamines reach them thus there is a slower rate of converting fat cells.
Fasted cardio helps address this because when your body is in a fasted state, blood flow increases. So, there are higher chances that catecholamines reach the body parts with a lot of fat cells.
While fasted cardio does reduce body fat, it also increases muscle breakdown. This is not especially good because if you have less energy in the muscles chances are that you will not be able to exert more effort than what you should be exerting to maximize your cardio.
Also, as with any workout, fasted cardio, when done the wrong way, can have its downsides. So before you engage in fasted cardio, make sure that you understand how it works and you take the proper diet to supplement it. You may want to take a look at our powerful cutting cycle for a great fat burning solution.