Fasted Cardio: Magic or Myth?

Fasted Cardio: Magic or Myth?

There are many of us that start our day by diving straight into some fasted cardio first thing in the morning. Many ‘old school’ bodybuilders swear by it suggesting it’s imperative, but some newer ‘evidence based’ coaches claim it makes no difference whatsoever.

So which is better? Fasted cardio or fed cardio?

While there is little scientific evidence to suggest fasted cardio is better for you, from a coaching perspective, it does have its advantages.

1) It gets the job done.

Most of our coaches start their day with their daily workout. Why? Other than being a great way to start the day, it gets it done straight away and there’s nothing that can crop up during the day to interfere.

Knowing this from experience, we usually tell most of our clients to begin their day with their workout regime, if they have the same concern. While some prefer evening cardio, life has a way of getting in the way and they often end up being too tired, working late, or have to attend a last-minute event etc. The problem with this is it’s a slippery slope and missing just one cardio session can easily turn into two and so forth, and so begins an ‘I’ll get back on it from Monday’ mentality.

For those leading busy lives, getting up just 20 minutes earlier a day to get this done ensures it’s fitted into a busy schedule, sets you up for your day ahead, and gives you some headspace when no one else is around to interrupt you.

Smashing your cardio first thing ensures this non-negotiable never goes amiss.

2) There’s a combination of supplements that work better when fasted (typically Caffeine + L-Tyrosine or Caffeine + Yohimbine HCL).

When we first wake, cortisol (stress hormone) should be relatively high. Taking caffeine amplify its affects. Many people don’t particularly like mentioning the word cortisol, but at certain times of day it can be very beneficial as it helps mobilise fatty acids to be used as fuel.

If using Yohimbine HCL, it is advised to keep it away from carbohydrate as high levels of insulin seem to cancel out its effectiveness. As our insulin levels are naturally lowest in the morning, what better time of day is there to smash your cardio?

You can read more about how to use this ‘Ultimate Fat Loss Stack’ here. Please note, these supplements aren’t a necessity, and there are some contraindications to consider. If you are using them though, fasted cardio is more optimal.

3) Never settling

Theoretically, there’s no difference between fasted and fed state cardio. However, you can’t argue with the fact that thousands of ‘shredded’ bodybuilders have achieved peak condition over the years whilst performing fasted cardio.

If it ensures daily structure and strategy, why not? It’s a mindset factor that drives transformation.

There are exceptions to the rule naturally. For instance, should we have a client that struggles to get a solid 6-8 hours sleep, then we wouldn’t consider suggesting fasted cardio.

Likewise, if someone’s schedule really doesn’t allow for it and they can only fit it in late evening or post workout, we’d go with that option.

Essentially, fasted or fed cardio is a personal preference. More often than not, fasted cardio first thing is a winning combination, but not everyone’s lifestyle can accommodate this. But as long as it gets done, who are we to judge?

The bottom line is just doing the cardio full stop is what will dictate results, regardless as to whether it is fasted or fed.

Related Articles

Should You Do Cardio When Muscle Building?

How Many Days A Week Should You Train? Part Two: Cardio

Cardio Bunny Or Meat Head?

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Akash Vaghela is the Founder of RNT Fitness, where his mission is to see a world where everyone experiences the power of a physical body transformation to act as a vehicle for the greater good in their lives. Akash has produced 200+ blogs, 100+ videos and hosts the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, which has amassed over 110,000 downloads in 90+ countries across 100+ episodes. Alongside this, he's been seen in Men's Health, BBC, T-Nation, Elite FTS and the PTDC, while also regularly speaking nationally and internationally on all things transformation.