Fasted Cardio... Friend or Foe?

I've had quite a few people asking me about fasted cardio lately.... whilst at the moment I'm working on lean muscle building so I've cut my cardio right down, I do still incorporate one fasted cardio session a week & I do it literally to shake my metabolism up. 

To answer the question properly I got my investigation blonde mode on, got my head around the facts et voila.. welcome to my findings!

What is Fasted Cardio...?
As you sleep overnight your body conserves carbs stores & breaks down your amino acids into glucose, both of which mobilize fat for fuel. When you get up in the morning and run on empty you’re pushing your body to use this fat fuel for energy. Research into this theory has proven that fasted cardio can help you to burn around 20% more fat than if you had eaten a balanced meal an hour before exercising. Fasted cardio works best in the form of HIIT (High intensity interval training) because despite your polar watch telling you that you’ve burnt however many more calories doing a steady paced longer workout, with HIIT workouts your body continues to burn calories and fat throughout the day as it recovers.  

Onnnn the flip side…
Your Cortisol – (the hormone released from your adrenal glands in response to physical and mental stress) is at its highest first thing in the morning, it’s behind the adrenaline that gets you up & out of bed. One of Cortisol’s main functions is to provide alternative fuels when there isn’t enough glucose during starving, fasting or intense exercise. It mediates muscle breakdown so the amino acids in the muscle tissue can be used to create sugar/energy. Say what? Eat my muscle??? I think not darling!!!

It's ok.. Rather than classing fasted cardio as THE ENEMY, to prevent muscle breakdown, athletes or anyone into heavy levels of exercise are often seen sipping on BCAA’s - branch-chain amino acids to balance out & prevent the body eating into their natural amino’s as well as increasing performance.

Branch chain amino acids are the ‘Building Blocks’ of your body they make up for 35% of your muscle mass, so preserving these are essential for growth, development and recovery.

So for fasted cardio, to prevent the risk of muscle mass loss I would recommend drinking a BCAA during the workout, drinking a protein shake immediately followed by a balanced meal around 45 minutes after the workout, If you have gone for the HIIT cardio workout, there would be no harm in drinking a second cup of BCAA a couple of hours later in the day. 

So friend or foe?
Whilst I think Fasted cardio is a great way to drop body fat, to keep my body balanced, shredding or not I would personally, not do fasted cardio more than once a week.
I would also not recommend doing it until you have your post nutrition and supplements sussed. 

Regardless of whether your trying to lose weight, get your abs on show, your Nutrition really is key, understanding what fuels and recovers your body is the key to success.

Rule Number 1: You can not out train a bad diet.

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