There is no way to denounce the fact that cardio is the best fat killer around (amongst various other health benefits), this is because the increase in your fitness level from doing regular cardio activities, will increase your metabolic rate, meaning your body burns more energy. But how do we know what type of cardio to do, when to do it, how to do it, and what time we should be doing it? An initial look at incorporating cardio can be overwhelming, seeing as though there is such a variety of exercises, and not everyone is the same, so people react to different cardio methods differently.

THEN HOW DO I CHOOSE?

There are a number of factors to look at when assessing which cardio type to involve, or what cardio routine will suit you best. Some of these things will be; your weight, your goals, your body structure, your metabolism, as well as a whole range of other things. For example; if you are carrying a lot of extra weight, running will not be a good idea because this will put too much strain on the knees. Your goals also make a big impact here, e.g.; if you are looking at retaining as much muscle while burning fat, you would stick to low intensity workouts, as this will keep the lean mass. Another factor is time, do you want a quick cardio session, or long? A quicker session will be a higher intensity, e.g; a 15 minute sprinting session, where you would sprint for 1 minute, then walk for 30 secs, and repeat. A longer session is at a low intensity but for 30-60 mins, e.g.; 40 minutes of incline walking on a treadmill. In the end, this very much depends on you, your preferred intensity, and your gaols as well.

FASTED VS FED

To break it down simply, fasted cardio is when you perform your cardio workout after having fasted for a long period of time, usually it’s first thing in the morning before breakfast as your body has used all its glycogen stores during the night. Fed cardio is when you would do your cardio after you have had a meal, but on an empty stomach. Essentially, fasted cardio means there is nothing to digest in the body, whereas fed cardio there is. There is a debate amongst many professionals as to which one is better, that is to say which one burns more fat, rather than just burning from fat and muscle. Since this article is looking through the perspective of fat loss, we are going to examine which cardio is best for fat loss, while preserving lean muscle.

Fasted cardio is the option that most professional bodybuilders adopt, 40 mins of incline walking every morning upon waking, in order to melt fat off while keeping the muscle, and ‘common sense’ would tell us that if a person whose job it is to build muscle, why would they do something that does the opposite? Well that’s not entirely wrong, but there are pros and cons to this method that need to be taken into account. This is a method that has been tried and tested for decades, and there is no denying that it definitely burns fat quick. This is because of a simple science really, the body has no glycogen store to turn to since there is no food in the system, so it is forced to turn to fat storage (which is what the purpose of fat actually is), and say you have burned 300 calories in your session, this then means that you have essentially burned 300 calories from your fat storage directly. Awesome.

The one down side to this method is that if done incorrectly, you can actually slow your metabolism down by sending your body into a catabolic state, and basically have the opposite effects of what you are trying to achieve.

There are some techniques that you could employ to ensure that burn as much fat as possible during fasted cardio; eating protein or taking a casein shake before bed to stop muscle breakdown during the night without replacing glycogen stores, click here to view our casein selection. Another avenue is to consume BCAA’s during your cardio training, which you can look at here. You could also look at taking a fat burner for those stubborn fat areas (or if you just want to speed things up). Once you have completed your fasted cardio, it is critical to consume protein directly afterwards, something like a whey shake or eggs, in order to bring amino acids into the blood stream and prevent catabolism.


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The other option, fed cardio, does ensure that no muscle mass is lost, because there is no need for the body to tap into the muscle for energy, however, with the availability of glucose, the body will use this source of energy first, instead of fat storage, because glucose is the bodies primary source of energy.

This method of cardio would be more suitable, or recommended, to an individual who is looking to improve their fitness levels without losing any muscle mass, but it is less effective in the war against fat.

This method of cardio would be more suitable, or recommended, to an individual who is looking to improve their fitness levels without losing any muscle mass, but it is less effective in the war against fat.

SO FASTED IS BETTER?

This is not a simple yes or no topic, it is very subjective as it depends on you and your goals. If you want to just generally improve your fitness levels, or anything along those lines, then I would say fed cardio would be the best option, as this will give you the energy that you need for the workout. Also, if you are only able to do your cardio in the afternoon/evening, obviously you can’t fast all day, that’s where fed cardio would also be beneficial. However, if your goals is to burn fat, while preserving your muscle mass, then this method would definitely be the most effective option, provided you stack your workout with some casein before bed, BCAA’s while you train, a whey shake for straight after, and make sure you have some food handy.



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