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Fasted Cardio, Better for Burning Fat?

Fasted Cardio, or doing  your cardio on an empty stomach is quite common for people who work out in the morning.  Whether they don’t find the time or they just don’t like working out after eating, it is a common practice for the early risers.  However, can there be added benefits to fasting before working out?  The jury seems to still be out, but it seems to be a growing fad.  The basic principal is that by exercising on an empty stomach,  you don’t have stored carbohydrates to use for energy, so your body taps into fat stores to find fuel to burn.

The idea came about in a book written by Bill Phillips, a bodybuilder, in 1999.  Body for Life stated that the human body maximizes fat loss in a fasted state during aerobic exercise first thing in the morning.   Although the book was popular, it’s findings were controversial, and contested.

Later studies have shown that exercise is what creates fat loss and not when we eat our food (National Institutes of Health).  It also seems to show that fasted cardio can have both benefits and downfalls. People who eat breakfast have better appetite control throughout the day, which ultimately results in less daily calorie intake overall. However, negative energy balance and fat reduction occurred with both fasted cardio and eating breakfast. The fasted group showed slightly more positive results.

Once again, it seems like balance and common sense is the best way to go.  Eat something light in the morning, so your body isn’t pre-occupied with digestion, but has enough fuel to burn.