Should I Be Doing Fasted Cardio?

When we’re looking to drop those last 5 pesky pounds or inch off your waist, we find ourselves getting more and more creative with our methods for fat loss. I’m sure each of us has done some sort of miracle cleanse or detox diet, or perhaps borrowed tips from wrestlers and boxers and locked ourselves in saunas wrapped in garbage bags. (Okay, I haven’t done that last one and I hope none of y’all have either, I just can’t get my mind around the fact that those guys do something that crazy to drop weight.)

But if you’re like me, you’ve probably found the sad truth that there is no miracle diet or weight loss plan that will shed your fat overnight. So, that leads us to switching up our exercise routine or getting a little stricter with our eating plans, or more likely both!

does fasted cardio work?

A popular method for going about this is the addition of fasted cardio in the mornings. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s just like it sounds. Fasted cardio is doing your running, walking, interval training — whatever it is you do to sweat — just after you wake up and before you eat anything (protein shakes included).

And many, many women have seen tremendous success with this method. Countless numbers have shed those pesky few pounds with the addition of methods like fasted cardio, but I was interested to know, did they do it because of fasted cardio, or IN SPITE of fasted cardio?

Well, if college taught me anything it’s how to do research, and wouldn’t you know it there’s been a study on just this very subject!

The kinesiology academic publication, Strength and Conditioning Journal, recently conducted a study where they cut straight to the facts on the matter. The study’s coordinator Brad Schoenfeld found that exercising on an empty stomach actually reduced the body’s thermogenic response. In layman’s terms, the body burnt less calories.

Need more proof? That’s not the only study that’s been done on the matter.

Another study done by Italian researchers used a setup containing two groups of 80 young males and observed them under the following conditions:

  • Workout #1: 36 minutes of easy cardio at 65% maximum heart rate BEFORE eating
  • Workout #2: 36 minutes of easy cardio at 65% maximum heart rate AFTER eating

Obviously, the only variable that changed between each workout was when each participant had eaten.

The study found that 24 hours later participants were burning more calories and fat when they had eaten before doing cardio than if they had not and determined that working out after eating a small, healthy meal was the optimum choice.

So there you have it, if you want to shed those last few pounds or just ramp up the intensity of your workouts to reach your goals just that much quicker, you’re actually hurting yourself by doing fasted cardio.