For those not familiar with fasted cardio, it’s basically doing cardio after waking up, before eating anything. The apparent benefit of doing cardio in a fasted state is that the lack of food forces the body to draw from stored body fat as it’s primary energy source (of which I have plenty of inventory to draw upon). Sounds pretty nifty, eh?
While this process is still widely debated by fitness experts, I can safely say that since starting my 3x per week fasted cardio sessions, I’ve dropped about 5lbs at least.
I should point out that this is in concert with my switcharoo to a more fat-adapted diet that I’ve also been incorporating. I’ve been doing fasted cardio for about 5 weeks now. And even though it sucks to roll out of bed and do a workout before I'm fully conscious, the feeling of getting that workout out of the way before breakfast is really kinda nice. Even for a morning hater like me.
There are some things to consider before you traumatize yourself with an early run or elliptical-fest.
- Do you have a LOT of weight to lose? If so, cardio at any time of day is going to benefit you. This is a technique to employ when you’ve only got a stubborn few to lose, or you’re one of those crazy people that enjoy early morning workouts.
- How long are your cardio sessions? If you’re training for a marathon and you’re headed out for a 3-hour run, you’ve got to eat first. Hopefully, that goes without saying.
- If you find your workouts are sub-par in a fasted state, it’s probably better to go ahead and eat beforehand, as intensity will have a greater impact on your results than whether or not you’ve had breakfast. Alternatively, you could also try a pre-workout (but make sure it doesn't have chemicals!). This is my favorite all-natural pre-workout drink.
Related: When and how much cardio should you be doing to lose fat and tighten up?
Some tips for your fasted cardio success
- Have a coffee (if that’s your bag) before you head out. I find the caffeine gives me a boost and gives my tummy something to hang on to until I eat breakfast.
- If I’m super starving when I wake up, I have a handful of raw, unsalted almonds (like 6 or 7) and that seems to at least take the hunger away without spiking insulin.
- I don’t overdo my morning cardio. I love quick 20 minute HIIT workouts as they're over and done with quickly.
- Use a pre-workout (as I mentioned above).
- Workout at home. It's the easiest way to get it done fast.
So if you’re looking to give yourself a little extra kick in the pajama pants, give this a try and let me know what you think!! I’d love feedback on this!
Related: What's the best exercise to lose weight? The answer will surprise you.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and ADHD Coach. As the founder of The Fit Habit, she shares ADHD-friendly self-care, food & fitness inspiration, along with practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.
Karen @ KAMA FITNESS
I have previously tried fasted cardio & it left me in worse shape than I began 🙁 Its kinda one of those things that I guess you have to try but there aren't really that good of benefits unless your nutrition is top notch. The problem is your body will def be burning...could be muscle tho, which is why you'll see the scale drop. I actually have a post describing my experience with fasted cardio if you want to check it out.
Nowadays, I still exercise first thing in the morning but I always have a light breakfast before & I have obtained excellent resullts doing so.
Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness
Interesting. I workout very early so I never eat before. Fasted workouts by default! I never really thought about the benefits.
Thanks for linking up with Fitness Friday!
My pleasure! I look forward to exploring the group more!
I love doing fasting cardio, I just feel better.
The former English teacher has one correction for you. The word is "lose" with one "o".
I enjoy your blog, thank you for writing!
Whoops! I thought I caught all those already. Thanks for calling me out 🙂
Kacie @ Lace up with Kace
Hi, found your blog from the fitness friday link up! I've never heard of doing fasting cardio to lose weight before. But I've read about sometimes it can be helpful for marathon runners to do some training runs in the morning before eating so that your body will better learn to fuel with fat. From what I read though there seems to be opposing views on this practice.
Yes, it's controversial for sure and definitely not for everyone, but man....I've had awesome results with it. How long do you run on an empty stomach?
Back in my a.m. workout days, I always did fasted cardio, although not on purpose. I'm just not hungry in the morning and usually don't eat for a couple of hours. Hence the reason I like smoothies: they're light, easy and drinkable without making me feel like I'm forcing food down.
Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness
Good morning, after I commented on this post and then unsubscribed from the post comments I'm getting get this emailed to me repteatedly:
You have requested to Unsubscribe from Peace, Love & Sweat Pants. Follow this link to access the required page: http://voodiegirl.com/comment-subscriptions?sre=jillconyers%40gmail.com&srk=b3e21b5bc4efc0f532fb43d358724365
Is there anything you can do to stop the emails on your end? Thanks so much. And, I'm so jealous you got to meet Tony!
Love the meet & Tweet! So much great info!! I have been loving those shoes too 🙂 I can't seem to eat before I run, so have always done this, didn't know it had a name!
Aren't the shoes awesome!! Glad to meet you! I see from your blog you're a pretty busy woman!
HI Caren, the first time I heard of "fasted cardio" was at #FitbogLA . I wish we could have chatted at the event.