Does fasted cardio really burn fat?
So there is another term doing round now-a-days “fasted cardio” ! What is it ? Is it safe ? Is it affective? How to properly practice it ? Well , patience grasshopper , all your queries shall be answered in good time .
How to lose weight
First of all let’s understand how do we lose weight : you work out, your fat and carbohydrate reserves get used up. You eat, your fat burning mechanisms take a back seat, and you gain energy and if you eat in excess then, you gain weight. Simple? But when you combine both ; your eating habits and your workout, things may get a little more complicated and if you don’t manage then properly, you will not end up with the desired results!
Now, back to fasted cardio. As the name implies, it is doing cardio work out on an empty stomach ( that is minimum of 8 hours of gap in your last meal and your workout session ).
Now, you may wonder that how is it different from your regular cardio, well, when you start your session, your heart beat increases and your muscles call on your energy reserves to keep up with the requirements of heart and their own strenuous activity. If you had had a meal before, your body shall utilize the carbs consumed and hence, you will not be losing any weight but just be utilizing what you have consumed ( which is not our goal ).
Now, if your stomach is empty and which exercising, when your heart beat rate increases, your body will have no other choice but to oxidize the stored fat cells in order to meet the increasing demands of the body, which in turn would result in weight loss. Thus, we can easily conclude that fasted cardio results in more fat loss than “fed cardio”.
Fasted cardio is also a great way to combat those insolent fat cells (lower abs, lower back, thighs, hips) which just refuse to budge . While exercising on an empty stomach, these parts end up utilizing their stubborn fat to provide fuel for your workout.
Now, it may seem as a great idea to embark on this “fasted cardio” but do not overlook this little conditions apply that come along with the beautiful package of this way to burn fat.
- As you are using a lot of energy to burn during cardio and being on an empty stomach, along with fat cell you also end up breaking down amino acids (they are tiny versions of protein chains), as your body is in combat mode and would happily fall back on any kind of reserve for burst of energy. This may lead to rapid muscle degradation. So, you could bid goodbye to those ripped muscle like Adonis. Fear not, there is a way to overcome this little flaw, consume 100-200 ml of protein shake (without added artificial sweeteners) 10 – 15 minutes before your workout.
- Also, if done without proper supervision, it could lead to a burn out or hypoglycemia (when your blood-sugar level is too low), which may lead to a blackout/fainting spell, nausea, dizziness etc. This again can be taken care of by having a healthy diet throughout the day and filling (not heavy) dinner.
- As soon as you stop workout , you stop burning calories.
Also read : How I got in shape in just 3 weeks?
Fasted cardio needs to be complimented with controlled diet and weight training sessions. Without them, its utterly useless.
To get more out of fasted cardio workout, you must do the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio than a Low Intensity Continuous Training (LICT) cardio. HIIT includes high intensity cardio for a short span of time. For example, running 100m sprints in set of 5 (each set including 2 sprints) than jogging for 1 kilo meter.
It is proven that HIIT end up burning more calories, it nullifies muscle degradation during fasted cardio, it prevents you from reaching a plateau state in your workout where your body gets comfortable and refuses to burn more fat. Also, it continues to burn calories long after you are done with your workout. That is, you continue to burn calories for rest of the day despite not doing any further exercise.
HIIT Cardio Workouts
Here are few HIIT cardio exercises to get you started:-
- Spread your legs, Jump, land on your heels, squat (try placing your weight on your butt), jump up again.
- Place your self into a plank position, elbows close together and all your body weight should rest on your toes and your elbows, now raise your hips up a little and bring them down, repeat 2-3 times, then place your palms on the ground and do five push ups. Repeat.
- Run a sprint of 100 m, when you finish, jump high and raise your knees up while jumping and bring them to your chest. Bring down your legs back on ground as you come down.
- Try mixing Burpees (stand straight Stand straight, then lower into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back into a push-up position and immediately drop your chest to the floor. Bow your chest up as you return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.) and side lunges (Stand with your feet hip-width apart ..Lower your right knee to down. Make sure the knee never goes past your toes. Push off of your right heel and return to the original position.)
Now, we can conclude that if you already have a thin or leaner body but have to work hard get to rid of those last few inches of flab, then, fasted cardio is your calling but if you are on healthier side of the scale, or are just beginning to work out, then, you might want to include intensive weight training to along with fasted cardio and last but not the least, follow a diet which compliments your workout.