IMG_6260What is Fasted cardio?
Fasted cardio is the idea of performing exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Exercising in a “fasted state” is a way to burn more calories from fat rather than from carbohydrates, making it an effective way to boost the fat-burning effects of exercise.

What are the benefits of doing cardio in a fasted state first thing in the morning and why is it more effective for fat burning?
Cortisol is a hormone that helps promote the metabolism of fat for energy. Cortisol levels are higher in the morning, therefore exercising on an empty stomach will lead to greater amounts of fat burning. Also, because the body’s resting metabolism continues to work overnight while the body sleeps, lower levels of carbohydrates will be available for fuel before breakfast is consumed. As a result, the body will have to rely on fats as the primary energy source for any physical activity prior!

What exercise is considered “Fasted Cardio”?
To be most effective for fat burning, exercise in a fasted state should focus on LISS, Low-intensity, steady-state exercise below the first ventilatory threshold. So what is first ventilatory threshold? It is essentially where the intensity is low enough to allow the person to talk comfortably during exercise. Exercise at higher intensities will metabolize more carbohydrates and require more oxygen; therefore, the rate of breathing will increase to bring in more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide, which will make talking difficult.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 6.34.42 amDoing fasted exercise first thing in the morning could help you move past a sticking point, but remember that after a period of time the body will adjust to this workout and require more. That’s the signal that it’s time to change up your workout!

Is it worth the hype?
Exercise in a fasted state an certainly provide many short-term benefits, but the downside is that it could also limit the amount of protein available for muscle building. It’s more important to ensure that you are still active throughout the day and focus on healthier nutrition choices so as to fuel the body correctly. Consuming protein within 30 minutes after a workout is recommended, and if fasted cardio is “your thing” be sure to eat a healthy breakfast after to promote muscle growth. Eating a meal or snack too soon before exercise can raise the levels of insulin, which helps metabolise and store fat. If insulin is elevated prior to exercise, the result could be fewer FFAs available for energy. A low-glycemic snack more than 30 minutes prior to exercise can provide energy for a workout and reduce the risk of elevating insulin levels.

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