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What are the risks of doing fasted cardio?

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
Whenever you try to step out of your comfort zone, you’ll likely encounter some challenges, both mentally and physically. But if you’re keen on seeing results, you have to push through these barriers no matter how tough they may seem.
Fasted cardio — it’s a popular choice for fat-burning and weight loss followed by many. However, related potential risks should not be ignored and must be kept in mind before trying something new like fasting cardio. Though these risks may not be life-threatening, they can certainly disrupt your system due to the changes you’re bringing to your routine. So, safety should always come first. Before you dive into fasted cardio, do your homework and make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Fasted cardio is worth a try, but yes, it is not the only option to reach fat loss goals. Let’s discuss some of the most renowned risks related to fasted-state cardio.

1. Not for everyone

If you’re a healthy individual it’s just fine to incorporate moderate-length steady-state fasted cardio a few times a week. Still, we need to understand that fasted cardio is not meant for everyone. Fasted cardio can be a risky task especially if you have some medical condition or are taking medications that can negatively affect your blood sugar levels.
Potential side effects of low blood sugar due to a fasting state can cause symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and fatigue during the cardio session. Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, happens when your blood sugar drops below a healthy range. As glucose is the main fuel source for the body and brain which comes from food we consume, our body can’t function well if we don’t have enough.

2. Muscle loss

When glycogen stores are depleted during fasting it is common for our body to start breaking down on stored fatty acids as they are the foremost storage form of fuel. But fat is needed for many other important body functions and the body cannot turn it to zero, so keeping in mind it starts attacking alternative fuel sources which are muscle tissues. Which will result in wasting, thinning, and weakening of muscles. This muscle catabolism must be avoided at all costs as it degrades the muscles and makes you prone to injuries, sluggish metabolism, and poor immunity.

3. Stress on the body

Though exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline or cortisol, and stimulates the production of good hormones like endorphins, but this happens only when your body is not under stress. Fasted state cardio for a prolonged time can be stressful for our body due to low energy levels and may bring discomfort rather than positive outcomes. Prolonged stress on the body can elevate the release of the cortisol hormone (a stress hormone), leading to various negative physical changes across different systems, ranging from muscular to reproductive systems.

4. Least focus

Hunger or an empty stomach can be a continuous diversion in your focus and concentration, making it difficult to maintain proper form and intensity during cardio sessions. The brain needs energy for proper working, and poor glucose supply due to overnight fasting will alter the prime functioning of the brain like motor skills and judgments.

5. Low fluid levels

Due to fasting state your body may not have enough fluids which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration impairs your body’s ability to regulate heat, which causes your body temperature and heart rate to rise. As a result, our blood thickens and our muscle contraction becomes difficult and slower. Also, there will be a build-up of wastes and acids in the body, and it can clog the kidneys with muscle proteins (myoglobin). The skin, muscles, kidneys, brain, and heart can all suffer from the effects of dehydration which brings lots of negative outcomes like poor performance, tiredness, dizziness, and increased risk of injury.

6. Not for older adults

Cardio in a fasted state can consume muscle mass too, as we grow older we need more and more muscles in our body to stay healthy and prevent injuries. Say completely no to fasted cardio in your later age as it can bring more side effects than positive. Here we are saying no to fasted cardio but not to normal cardio. It is recommended that adults of any age get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity in the form of cardio and strength training per week, which equals about 30 minutes a day, five days each week to promote a healthier immune system, increased energy, and better well-being.

Is fasted cardio safe?

Like most things, when done sensibly, fasted cardio can be safe and there are a host of benefits associated with it. Fasted cardio is a great option for people or athletes who prefer to exercise in the morning and don’t like to eat before their workout or like doing it in a fasted state. However, it is also important to know that everyone has a different physiology, one thing that suits someone may not suit another person.
While fasted cardio can contribute to fat loss, it shouldn’t be the sole approach followed rigorously. The science and research on fat loss through fasted cardio are still in the early stages, and individual results are influenced by numerous factors. Extended periods of fasting also have detrimental effects, including deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, muscle loss, slowed metabolism, hormonal abnormalities, and other hidden problems. These issues can impede progress rather than be beneficial.
Before trying anything first consider your individual goals, preferences, and your current health status too. Self-awareness and assessment of the body help you try various measures to achieve your goals and change the course if necessary. If you do decide to try fasted cardio, it’s important to eat after your workout to replenish glycogen stores and give your body the nutrients it needs to recover and rebuild muscle tissue.

So, what is the best option for fat loss?

“Weight loss and body composition changes occur when you manage to balance calories consumed versus calories expended, to see the positive changes you must expend more calories than you consumed”.

Fasted cardio is just one of the time-tested fat-loss techniques adopted by many individuals and athletes. Body composition change is a complex process and demands lots of strategies, well-rounded fitness plans, and sometimes complete lifestyle changes to get near to set goals.
Whether you work out fasted or non-fasted it matters least, most important is self-awareness that you want to get healthy and change your body for your own good.
Four all-time basic rules for perfect health and a body
  • Focus on a healthy diet with high protein, good fat, complex carbs, and less simple carbs.
  • Always drink water before and after your cardio, and stay hydrated all day.
  • For physical activity choose both weight training and cardio sessions a minimum of 5 times/week.
  • Get quality sleep and a stress-free lifestyle. Follow these pieces of advice and you will see results sooner that will stay longer with you.

Friendly Suggestion

Rapid or extreme approaches to weight loss can have adverse effects on the body and may not lead to sustainable outcomes. Weight management is a long-term endeavor that involves sustainable lifestyle choices.
While occasional fasting and fasted cardio may contribute to calorie restriction and fat utilization, incorporating it casually and infrequently is key. Consistency in healthy habits, such as a balanced diet and regular exercise, forms the foundation of lasting results.

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