Fasted Cardio for Fat Loss
There’s an idea in the workout world that if you exercise when you’re hungry, you could lose more fatty weight. The idea is tied to something called ketosis. You’ve heard of food fasting, right?
Ketosis is a state your body goes in when it starts to burn fat as a source of energy because there’s not enough carbs for it to use. It’s the underlying notion of the keto diet, where people essentially eat differently and workout differently so that their body will be forced into a state of ketosis and use up their fatty deposits first.
There’s a lot of medical science to back up these kinds of ideas, but it’s not as simple as cutting out your carbohydrates and working out on an empty stomach. There are other considerations that need to be taken into place, and you need to understand some of the downsides of fasted cardio for weight loss.
Fasted cardio is the trendy name for working out on an empty stomach. You’re doing cardio when you’re hungry, essentially. There’s some risk to that, and I want to talk about that here so you can understand what this workout method involves and why you may or may not want to do it.
Is Fasted (food fasting) Cardio Good for Fat Loss?
If you work out on an empty stomach, you probably will lose more weight. The problem is that you likely won’t lose it from fat like you’re hoping. Fasted cardio fat loss can be considerable, and you may lose more fat than you would without working out in this manner. You can burn through a lot of fat very quickly, and it’s no wonder people want to try fasted cardio for weight loss.
However, you’re more likely to burn up protein and fat if you work out on the fasted exercise plan. If you’re not eating a long time before you work out, your body is lacking protein. That’s protein it needs to build muscles, and your body may pull its energy needs from somewhere. You can’t decide where your body pulls energy from, despite what a lot of workout plans will tell you.
What happens to a lot of people when they use the fasted workout plan is that they end up losing muscle mass. Your body starts pulling protein from their muscles, and they end up with what’s called muscle wasting, where their muscles get smaller over time as they do this workout more.
Low Energy Levels
There’s another downside to using the fasted weight loss method. If you search up on PubMed “fat loss and fasted cardio”, you’ll see warnings about a lack of energy associated with this workout method.
If you’re not eating very much leading up to your workout session, you’re not going to have much energy. You will feel tired and lethargic, like you don’t want to work out. This could hurt your motivation and make it difficult for you to even start a workout. On top of that, you’re probably not going to work out for very long. You certainly wouldn’t have the energy that you would get if you were eating normally before your workouts.
To give you an example of what may happen, let’s consider that you normally work out for half an hour. You’re used to doing both medium and high intensity exercises, and you’re able to carry that intensity through most of the workout routine because you have energy from having eaten an hour or two before your workout. That energy carries through your entire workout, so that you may be struggling by the end of your workout, but you can still complete the workout. Your body has enough energy to draw on from what you ate previously to fuel the workout without you feeling like you’re going to collapse.
Now, let’s consider that you are doing the same workout that varies between medium and high intensity exercises. The difference is that you’re working out on an empty stomach because you haven’t eaten in five or six hours. You’re going to struggle to get through that workout, and you’ll particularly struggle with the high intensity exercises. The energy required simply won’t be there, and you may feel like you need to collapse 15 or 20 minutes in. You may have low blood sugar and a lack of protein in your body, and you’re likely to feel drained for the rest of the day following your workout.
This is what you’re likely going to deal with when you’re trying to do a fasted cardio workout. Fasting can be an effective way to lose weight, but it’s not necessarily something you should combine with a workout while you’re in a state of hunger. You need to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, and working out puts a lot of demands on your body. Those are demands it might not be able to meet if you are starving yourself.
Working out without the nutritional fuel your body needs to hit those high intensity exercises can actually be dangerous. You can end up collapsing, blacking out, and even causing long term damage to your body. You can set back your workouts and gains considerably by using fasted cardio to try to burn fat quicker.
What Should I Eat after Fasted LISS Cardio for Fat Loss?
There’s a type of cardio that supposedly works better with fasting. That’s LISS or low intensity steady state cardio. These are cardio exercises that are not intense, as the name implies. So, you’re not moving to medium or high intensity exercises with this method. This may be a useful way to lose weight and not push yourself too hard while you’re trying to fast and work out.
For some people, fasted LISS cardio works well. But it may not be something that you want to do frequently. There’s a temptation to overdo it and push yourself harder than you ought to just to make serious gains and to lose a lot of weight at once. If you end up doing that, you can put yourself at risk injury.
Fasted LISS cardio can be rough on your body, even though you’re not doing any intense exercises. After your workout, your body will be very hungry, and you need to do something to replenish your nutritional supplies. You need to replenish the electrolytes, sugar, and protein your body burned through for that workout. What are some good foods you can eat that will provide that?
If you’re looking for a quick snack to help get your body back into equilibrium, honey roasted peanuts are probably one of the best things you can eat. They contain protein, sugar, and salt, usually. Check the contents to make sure you’re getting all of that in the nuts. The salt content provides electrolytes, helping to rejuvenate your body’s energy. All of these- sugar, protein, and electrolytes- are sources of energy that you’ll use up when you work out. Your body may be going through a serious deficiency after a fasted LISS cardio workout.
Make sure you’re eating foods that replenish these supplies, including meats, sugary snacks, salty foods, and carbohydrates as well (for long term energy). If you do this workout properly and refuel yourself afterwards, you can avoid a lot of the risk that would normally be associated with a fasted cardio workout. However, it’s not a good idea for anyone to do this kind of fasting a workout program if they are being treated for any medical condition. If you have concerns about your health and the risks associated with this kind of workout, please consult with your doctor before starting it.