06 Apr 2016

What Is Fasted Cardio and Does It Work?

Health and Wellbeing Advice

For some people, a shot of espresso is enough to get up and moving.

For others, the idea of working out on an empty stomach conjures up images of near death experiences on the gym floor.

Fasted cardio has long been a hotly debated topic in the fitness sphere. But what exactly is it, and does it work?

Let’s separate fact from fiction. Here’s everything you need to know about the facts on fasted cardio.

What is fasted cardio?

Undertaking cardio on an empty stomach (or in a fasted state) is a technique used by many eager gym goers, as it’s proposed that in doing so, the body will break down stored fats in order to fuel the workout. In other words, working out before breakfast is said to make you lose fat more effectively than if you were to down your poached eggs and toast before you start pounding the pavement.

Does fasted cardio work?

On paper, the theory of fasted cardio makes perfect sense. Food = fuel for energy, so if there’s nothing available in your stomach to use for energy, it stands to reason that your body would tap into its extra supply – fat. Right?

The answer is a combination of yes and no. In a fasted state, your insulin and cortisol levels are low. Your cortisol is responsible for breaking down the appropriate tissue based on what other hormones are around. After eating, your insulin levels are elevated and your cortisol will attack muscle – in a fasted state, however, your cortisol will go after your body reserves (fat).

Of course, this all stands to reason if you’re not maintaining your typical diet during fasted cardio sessions. If you burn 300 calories with a hard and fast training session and choose to go and refuel with the same 300 calories post-workout fuel as you usually would, then you’re not going to be any further ahead. While you may burn off more fat doing fasted cardio, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to see a total fat loss over the course of the day. Ultimately, the key to losing fat is what your diet plan looks like.

If you’re truly interested in losing fat, make sure you’re asking yourself the right question – not are you eating, but what are you eating?

What does my diet need to look like?

As the old saying goes, you can’t outrun a bad diet. If you’re looking to get lean, you need to ensure what you’re fuelling your body with is at the top of your priority list.

Make sure your diet incorporates:

  • Enough quality proteins

  • A low to moderate amount of carbohydrates

  • A lot of high volume, nutrient dense foods

How can I plan a healthy diet for myself?

To discover the effects of nutrition and certain foods on the body, qualifications like a Diploma of Nutrition will give you a firm understanding of the fundamental principles of nutrition and what your food labels actually mean. This includes basic medical knowledge about the human body and how it digests, metabolises food and stores energy.

In attaining this qualification, you also become trained to make and advise on the right food choices, with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a qualified Nutrition Advisor.

Ready to step into the world of health and fitness? Talk to one of our Careers Advisors on 1300 616 180 today. 

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