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Should You Be Doing Fasted Cardio For Fat Loss?

Give it a try for a few weeks; if it proves effective, fantastic! If not, there are many other options. Many people have their success stories linked with fasted cardio
Someone advised you, or you must have read online, that trying fasted cardio could be a solution you were looking for to shed that stubborn fat from your body. Right?
However, as you started seeking answers, it became increasingly confusing due to varied opinions and the vague results people claimed online.
In the mixed responses out there on the internet, forums, and fitness magazines, few assert its effectiveness citing positive results, while others argue it’s of no use. The dilemma between fasted cardio and fueling before cardio is always a hot topic among fitness enthusiasts.
So, what will you do, will you opt for fasted cardio or you will consider an alternative approach, which is the best option for you to get rid of fat loss? No worries it’s time to get straight and clear about the facts related to fasted cardio and have a clear understanding of whether it effectively contributes to fat loss or if it’s just another online fad.

What is fasting?

Fasting is a dietary manipulation practice in which an individual voluntarily abstains from consuming food or beverage for an extended period.”

Fasting is not a new notion; humans have been fasting for ages for many reasons, including scientific, physiological, and spiritual. In recent years, fasting has gained more popularity among fitness and health seekers, this surge in interest is fueled by the perceived potential benefits of fasting in areas such as fat loss and weight management.

What is fasted Cardio?

Fasted cardio refers to performing an aerobic activity such as a treadmill, cycling, or simply walking in the fastest state.”

For example, Waking up in the morning after 8 to 10 hours of sleep and deciding to work out first thing in the morning before you have your first meal will be called “Overnight fasted cardio”. The primary reason for engaging in fasted cardio is to maturate our body to use more stored fat for energy and shift away from relying on energy that we get from food.

What changes happen in your body during fasting and doing fasted cardio?

After fasting overnight, the food consumed the previous night has been digested and utilized by your body. When you wake up and prepare for cardio, your body naturally signals a need for fuel. While food is the primary source of energy, choosing not to eat and engaging in physical activity still demands energy. In this situation, your body has limited options to source that energy: primarily from reserved glycogen stores and fat stores.
During the initial phases of fasting our body continues to use those glycogen stores which are mostly stored in muscles and the liver for its immediate energy requirements. But as we include cardio on an empty stomach, our body screams for more energy to continue functioning, thus more glycogen is broken down into glucose and used for the increased energy demands.
Now, as the stored glycogen starts being used it also starts depleting very fast, and to continue optimally our body starts tapping other sources to get its energy other than the glycogen stores. This is the stage when the body starts breaking down the stored fatty acids into energy-rich substances called ketones in a process called lipolysis and can be used as an alternative source of energy when glucose availability is limited. When the concentration of ketones in the bloodstream increases, it signifies that the body is relying on fat for energy. This state is referred to as ketosis. Ketosis can be beneficial for fat loss and ultimately weight loss because it allows our body to utilize the fatty acids stored in our fat cells as an energy source.

What are the different types of fasting?

12, 16, 48, or even 72 hours, this is what the fasting duration could be and people can go extreme when they are motivated. You can try various fasting methods where you can limit your food intake to achieve your desired goals. It is a proven and well-cherished idea to combine regular physical activities like cardio and fasting to increase energy expenditure to achieve weight loss and body fat reduction.
It is also necessary to eat nutritious food in the other part of the day when you are not fasting to counterbalance body nutrition requirements, the idea is to get the maximum benefit from the fasting process without torturing or suffering our body.
1. Intermittent fasting: “Eat-Stop-Eat”
Fasting plan that alternates between periods of eating and fasting”. intermittent fasting can be performed through these methods: -16/8 method where you can fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window – 5:2 method where you can eat normally for 5 days and restrict calories for 2 non-consecutive days of the week.
2. Time-restricted feeding
When you limit your food intake to a specific time window that’s to the daytime. For example, eat from 10 am to 5 pm or 6 am to 4 pm only or any other time of your choice, but no food near bedtime.
3. Alternate-day fasting
As the name suggests, eat food normally every alternate day and skip the other day.
4. Alternate low-calorie days
On low-calorie days try to consume around 20 to 30% of your normal calorie needs and alternate between the days.
5. Prolonged fasting
This is an extreme form of caloric restriction that starts from at least 24 hours and goes way up to 72 hours.
Why prolonged fasting is not recommended?

“It is not recommended due to its more aftereffects than good payoff. Severely limiting calories for prolonged periods can be formidable and may lead to many consequences like nutrient imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, and metabolism abnormalities, and can also harm our immune system, leading to an increased susceptibility to infections and illnesses.

Here are the Top Benefits of fasted cardio

So, what happens when you exercise on an empty stomach? Is it good or bad for weight loss? Does it help you burn more fat or does fasting negatively impact your workout? While scientific studies have found limited support for the theory behind fasted cardio, there is research done that tells athletes who do fasted cardio may experience measurable fat loss.
Here are a few pieces of research:

“Research shows that aerobic exercise in a fasted state induces higher fat oxidation than a fed state. Essentially, as you haven’t eaten through the night, you’ll wake up with pretty low glycogen levels, which is your body’s preferred energy source. This means when you’re out on your morning run, your body will need to burn more fat as an energy source,”

In a study of 10 men, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, working out before breakfast was shown to burn up to 20 percent more fat compared to working out in the afternoon or evening.

Research at the University of Bath in the U.K. found that when overweight guys walked for 60 minutes on an empty stomach, their bodies turned on certain genes that increased their rate of burning stored fat (rather than carbs), compared to guys who worked out after a carb-heavy breakfast.

Let’s discuss the benefits fasted cardio can offer:

1. Increased lipolysis

Lipolysis is the metabolic process in which triglycerides in adipose tissue are broken down by the process called hydrolysis (fats are broken down in our bodies through enzymes and water) into simpler forms like glycerol and free fatty acids. Each triglyceride molecule is composed of one glycerol and three fatty acid molecules. These free fatty acids are then released into the bloodstream and then transported to various tissues of the body, and utilized as a source of energy.
Due to overnight fasting our body’s glucose levels are already drained and on that, if we start performing cardio, our body starts craving energy. In the absence of glucose stores, the body turns to stored triglycerides for energy requirements, thus elevating lipolysis.
Lipolysis is a completely natural process to maintain energy balance for the optimal functioning of the body. The extent and rate of lipolysis can be influenced by many factors like fasting duration, exercise intensity, and individual metabolic variations.

2. Positive effects on insulin sensitivity

Fasting or adhering to time-restricted feedings can enhance insulin sensitivity, improving the cells’ ability to efficiently use glucose. This contributes to the regulation of blood sugar levels and reduces the necessity for excessive insulin secretion. By promoting insulin sensitivity, fasting supports optimal glucose metabolism, particularly beneficial for individuals who are prediabetic or have type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the efficient utilization of glucose ensures that excess glucose is not stored as fat in adipose tissue, aiding in maintaining a lean physique.
What is insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance?

Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how effectively our cells respond to insulin. When cells are insulin-sensitive, they efficiently absorb glucose in response to insulin maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Conversely, insulin resistance occurs when cells become less responsive to insulin signals. This condition leads to elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream and higher blood sugar levels.

3. Positive effects on autophagy

Autophagy is like your body’s internal cleanup crew – a self-preservation and recycling system that kicks into gear when cells are damaged. This process involves breaking down and recycling old or dysfunctional components within the cell.
Simply put, in the first stage a cell disposes of old or damaged proteins and other substances in its cytoplasm (the fluid inside a cell). Then, in the second stage, these breakdown products are recycled to support crucial cell functions, especially in times of stress or starvation.
Autophagy essentially allows your body to repurpose old cell parts, promoting more efficient cellular operations. This cleanup mechanism is vital for sustaining overall cellular health. Autophagy is active when the body is in starvation or calorie restriction mode, so at this time, cells start to break down to reutilize their cellular components to provide energy and other necessary building blocks for cellular processes.

4. Helps in body recomposition and body fat percentage

Fasted cardio helps improve your immune system and triggers a response system that repairs cells, boosts metabolism, alleviates LDL cholesterol, and promotes positive change in body composition through loss of fat mass and body weight.
Body fat percentage improvements are due to body burns stored fat for energy and that is how body recomposition changes occur which means the ratio of lean muscle mass to body fat improves. During fasting, the body burns stored fat for energy when glycogen stores are depleted, which can lead to a decrease in body fat percentage.
When fasting cardio is combined with resistance training, and other important means like diet, rest, and a healthy lifestyle, individuals can enjoy improvements in their body composition.

Wrapping Up

In our pursuit of achieving a better body structure and enhanced health, we often seek methods to aid our journey. Sometimes, these methods prove effective, while other times, they fall short. In the realm of fat loss, numerous myths abound. People assert that following certain practices will lead to fat loss, and without much thought, we begin to adhere to these recommendations.
Indeed, fasted cardio stands as a promising tactic, supported by logical reasoning and scientific evidence. So, why not put it to the test and give this approach a chance? However, it’s important to exercise wisdom; we cannot expect our results to mirror those of others. While some may experience rapid progress, others may find it to be a more gradual journey. Additionally, when it comes to achieving fat loss or weight loss goals, gradual and consistent changes often yield more fruitful outcomes compared to quick fixes. Here’s to successful shredding!

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