When planning for weight loss, most people often approach their daily goals with a calories in/calories out type of mindset. Thinking "burn more calories than you eat each day, and you'll lose weight". Some even say burn those calories from unadulterated fat, then you're fine.
This is what makes the term "fasted cardio" so attractive. Head into your first sweat it out session first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. Since there's no food in your system to use as fuel, your body will then burn the fat you have stored for energy. This isn't the whole story...
Phd, RD, author of "Power Eating" and a sports nutrition consultant to top Olympic, NFL and NBA athletes points out that apart from burning fat in the form of triglycerides floating through your bloodstream, fasted cardio often burns fewer calories, including calories from fat then properly fueled exercises does.
"burning more fat is much different in reality than it is in theory"
It becomes physically painful to exercise in this state. You can do it, but it's not pretty and has never been proven to confer benefits in terms of exercise performance or high intensity.
If you're going to get caught up in the calories in vs calories out, it's worth noting that when people eat a small snack before their cardio workout, they will continue to burn more calories and fats after the workout sessions compared with those who workout fasted.
If this wasn't reason enough for you to ditch that fasted cardio state of mind, just remember when you're in a fasted state, your body doesn't just turn to fats for that extra energy, it also turn to protein. By doing an hour long cardio workout on an empty stomach, results in up to 10% of all your calories burned are coming from protein.
PRE CARDIO BOOST
To get the most fat burning benefits from your early morning workouts, eating a small snack 30-60 minutes prior to your workout that combines both carbohydrates and fats like a hard boiled egg, whole wheat toast, or some oatmeal. The combo of these sorts of foods will help increase your workout performance and calories burned, also helping you build lean metabolism muscle.
If you're getting into more hardcore or longer endurance workouts for more than an hour, then you need to start thinking about not just fueling up prior but also during your workouts. Raisins, sugary candies, or BCAA intra workout drinks when consumed during long sessions have been showed to increase performance.
Remember now, you get out of your workouts what you put in, and it requires proper fuel!
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