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For those not familiar with this process, 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 (of which I am not), 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, but that’s only been in the last two weeks. I’ve been doing fasted cardio for about 5 weeks now. And even though it sucks to roll out of bed and go running 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 your Wheaties yet. (Btw, please never ever eat Wheaties).
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. My runs or spins never last more than 50 minutes on an empty stomach.
- As soon as you roll out of bed, put your running gear on asap. Don’t go downstairs in your PJs to have your coffee or I swear you will talk yourself out of it and then next thing you know, the toast will be heading down the pie hole. Just put your run gear on before you leave your bedroom and you’re almost halfway there.
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!
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.