Fasted Cardio Benefits
If you’re doing cardio as well as weight training, you might be wondering if there’s any benefits to doing it fasted or first thing in the morning before having anything to eat.
The answer to this question is yes there are some fat burning benefits.
Doing cardio first thing in the morning might be just what your body needs to burn more fat.
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The reality is that your body will use the fuel that’s already available to it before turning to its fat stores, so if you’ve eaten a meal that contains carbohydrates and then do a cardio session, your body will use those carbohydrates as its primary fuel source ignoring stored body fat until that food source has been completely used up.
So, if you perform cardio first thing on an empty stomach, your body is much more likely to turn to fat as it’s primary source of fuel because carbohydrates simply aren’t available to it until you’ve had something to eat.
This is a terrific way to burn extra fat and might be just what you’re looking for to get lean or reveal those abs.
But this will only work if you’re getting everything in place i.e. your strength training on a sensible abbreviated training program, 2-3 times per week, performing cardio 2 x per week and you’re eating less calories than what your body burns per day.
Short change any one of those factors i.e. you’re still exceeding your calorie total each day and you’ll fail to lose fat even though you’re performing it on an empty stomach.
For example, let’s say you get up and head for the gym at 6 am, you perform 40 minutes of low impact cardio on the cross trainer and then head to work.
But for the rest of the day you eat too many calories, eat a lot of junk snacks and exceed the number of calories your body needs to sustain its weight.
In this example you’ll still fail to lose fat because any benefits gained have been lost by eating more calories than what your body burns per day.
Fasted cardio will only work if the basics are understood and adhered to.
Can you lose weight eating junk food?
One question I get asked all the time is can you still lose weight eating junk food although those junk calories aren’t exceeding your daily totals?
The answer is YES, you can still lose weight eating a diet that consists of nothing but burgers, fries, drinking coke and snacking on junk, providing you don’t exceed the total of number of calories your body burns per day.
But a lot of that weight loss will come from a combination of muscle and fat because your nutrition doesn’t support lean muscle nearly half as well as eating lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
You won’t perform at your best and you certainly won’t feel your best either.
When you eat quality calories and maintain a deficit, most weight loss you’ll experience will come from fat and you’re much more likely to be able to build strength and hold onto lean muscle.
That’s one of the reasons why I always recommend eating high quality foods coming from a combination of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats to support lean muscle, encourage fat loss and improve health by providing the body with a whole selection of macronutrients it needs to function properly.
When eating in a calorie deficit to lose fat, I recommend staying away from “diets” i.e. anything that’s telling you to go very low on carbohydrates, go super high on protein or eliminate fats completely.
All macronutrients are needed to perform at your best, at least 0.8 to 1 g of protein per lb of lean body weight per day, 35-40% of calories from carbohydrates and 25-30% of calories coming from healthy fats.
Losing fat isn’t about feeling starved or neglected, granted you need to eat less calories, but the calories you do eat should keep you feeling full.
I recommend eating 2 or 3 bigger meals each day that supply enough calories to fuel your workouts and encourage fat loss.
Eating fewer and bigger meals stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, boosting testosterone and driving up growth hormone, perfect for men over 40 who’s testosterone levels are already taking a hit.
Ultimately, it’s the combination of a sensible weight training program, sensible cardio program and intelligent nutrition program that’s going to get you a lean body and long-term fat loss results.
Men over 40 need to train differently than guys in their twenties or early thirties if they want the best results.
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