Many of us have been led to believe that we can burn more body fat by working out on an empty stomach early in the morning following an overnight fast.
But is there any evidence to support the claim behind fasted cardio?
Read on to find out!
DOES FASTED CARDIO = MORE FAT LOSS?
Fasted cardio is actually a myth born out of bodybuilding and fitness circles.
Many professional body builders stand beside fasted cardio as a smart way to burn more body fat.
But just because a shredded fitness model you see in your instagram feed or Muscle & Fitness magazine does fasted cardio, it doesn’t mean it actually works!
The evidence clearly shows that fasted cardio provides no fat loss benefit over regular cardio performed in a fed-state.
This 2014 randomized control trial (considered the gold standard research technique) showed body composition changes associated with aerobic exercise whilst dieting are similar regardless of whether you choose to workout in a fasted state or not.
The study authors concluded that "those seeking to lose body fat conceivably can choose to train either before or after eating based on preference".
The same findings were discovered in 2017 when this study concluded that individuals can exercise in either fasted or fed states when targeting improvements in body composition and that weight loss and fat loss are enhanced by creating a calorie deficit rather than exercising in fed or fasted states.
So the evidence tells us that overall energy balance is the most important factor when it comes to fat loss.
FAT BURNING VS FAT LOSS
Its important not to let misguided opinions or headlines confuse you.
Performing aerobic exercise in a fasted state does lead to increased fat burning - but only DURING a workout.
All this means is that your body will burn more dietary fat (as opposed to carbohydrates) whilst you break a sweat on your favourite piece of cardio equipment.
This is where people get confused because fat burning and fat loss are two very differenet things.
At the end of the day the ratio of carbs to fats you burn during a workout is far less important than the total number of calories you burn.
And the reality is you are more likely to exercise harder, and therefore expend more energy, when exercising with some food in your body as opposed to being in a fasted state.
Bottom line: Fasted cardio for extra fat loss is a myth!
Personal preference should be the deciding factor of when you workout, so just train at the time that best suits your schedule!
I hope you found this useful.