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What type of cardio is better? Fasted Cardio Vs. Non-Fasted Cardio

By: Ashley Nicole Routson

You're getting ready to start your weight loss journey and you are ready to take this journey head on. You look around and ask yourself....Grocery shopping? Check!  Gym clothes? Check! TrueCore Supplements? Check!  Workouts? Check!  

Everything feels like it is in place and you are ready to go.  Then you ask yourself, "What about cardio?  Should I do fasted cardio or non-fasted cardio and what type of cardio".  Ask any frequent gym goer and you will hear many different thoughts and opinions.  

I have decided to discuss this cardio topic that seems to be a huge debate in the bodybuilding community. During prepping, most competitors believe 100% in fasted cardio. However, there are some select few who believe that fasted cardio is terrible and should never be done.  Let's dig into this debate!

Whatever type of cardio you choose, have fun doing it!  

What Do The Experts/Studies Say?

There is some research that suggests you burn up to 20 percent more body fat when you do cardio fasted in the mornings. There have been studies done in the UK completed on people who have had a meal before they completed their cardio and people who completed cardio fasted. The subjects who completed their cardio fasted burned 20 percent more fat than the ones who had a meal beforehand.

The reason fasted cardio in the morning is so effective is because while you are sleeping you are “fasting” – going without food for 6-9 hours - which means your body is conserving the carb stores and starts metabolizing fat for fuel. However, your body also breaks down amino acids into glucose overnight.  Therefore, fasted cardio mobilizes more fat and potentially more amino acids for fuel. This means if you are trying to build muscle it is not a totally ideal situation.


HIIT Cardio Works!

Despite the studies that have been done, there is no guarantee that fasted cardio is the best for burning fat. In fact, HIIT workouts or HIIT cardio have been known to take less than half the time with about twice the total fat loss. Studies have also shown that fasted cardio can usually only work well for men with body fat levels in the single digits, and females with body fat levels in the low teens. So, for those with higher levels of body fat HIIT would be a more effective use of your time for fat loss.

So, let’s touch on HIIT cardio just a bit. HIIT, High- Intensity Interval Training, is one of the most popular types of cardio right now. Why? Because if you complete HIIT correctly you can burn quite a few calories in less than 30 minutes a day. The key to completing HIIT correctly is to push your body through the high-intensity intervals increasing your heart rate and then allowing your heart rate to lower during the lower intensity intervals. High-Intensity Interval Training has become so popular because of it’s after burning effects by increasing your resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours.

Which cardio to choose?

Now that you have a better knowledge on fasted cardio vs non-fasted and HIIT cardio, you have to choose which cardio to do.  For bodybuilders, HIIT has become the most popular type of cardio due to not only the fat loss effects but the reduction of muscle catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue). However, this type of cardio might not necessarily be what you would like to do and more importantly some bodybuilders do not do HIIT.  You may care more for steady-state cardio or alternate them.  Either way, HIIT is a great option.  

HIIT training has been shown to help you burn fat versus breaking down muscle tissue. Steady-State cardio for long periods, has been shown to reduce muscle tissue but it is so minimal it should not be too concerning.  Choosing which type of cardio to do is what is most important.  Having fun with your cardio should be just as important.  As someone who spends many hours in the gym, building muscle is extremely important to me but so is having fun doing cardio.  

What different types of cardio are there?   

In the end, our bodies are all going to respond differently to all types of cardio. You will just need to find which one is more effective for you.  There are so many varieties and styles of cardio to keep you entertained and committed.  Some of these types of cardio are running, jump roping, stair-master, and elliptical just to name a few.  You also have indoors vs outdoors to help with variety.  Just remember, the most important part is to have fun so you do not get tired or give up.  Once you choose your liking and begin seeing results, you can incorporate one of my favorite supplements; Pro Supps L-Carnitine.  Now, let's get out there and burn! 







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