When is the best time to do fasted cardio?
Health + Wellness

What’s the Best Time of Day to Do Fasted Cardio

Fasted cardio is when you increase your heart rate on an empty stomach to encourage your body to burn stored energy. Fasted cardio is best done in the morning after not eating for 8 to 12 hours.

Cardio is one of the central keys to a fitness program, however, the type of cardio can make a difference. Fasted cardio helps burn calories and tricks the body into burning fat for energy instead of burning the food that you would’ve just consumed. It helps to build up the body over time with a steady low intensity that can result in the maximum benefit.

Can I do fasted cardio anytime of the day?

Cardio can be done anytime of day, however, the time of day can make a difference in staying committed to the routine. Early morning is recommended because you’re more likely to have not eaten since that 8 to 12 hour mark. However, any time of day in which you’ve gone at least 8 to 12 hours without food you can perform fasted cardio. Many find early mornings to be the easiest time because it’s easier to fast overnight for most.

The key is not to have had food in the last 8 to 12 hours to ensure the body is completely in its fasted state. Small studies have proven people can burn up to 20% more body fat by exercising in the fasted state.

Morning cardio isn’t ideal for everyone, and can be done in the afternoon or evenings. If you’re doing it in the afternoon or evenings, you won’t be able to eat again until after cardio has been completed. Plan your last meal according to when you plan to do your cardio routine to ensure you don’t go longer than you should without eating.

No matter the time of day, just make sure if you’re going to do cardio your body is in the fasted state before you begin your workout. It is considered the ideal in order to see the benefit.

What’s the best workout intensity?

Don’t be extreme. Keep your intensity low. The goal is to complete steady low intensity cardio for at least 15 minutes. High intensity cardio shouldn’t be done on an empty stomach.

Examples of low intensity cardio include walking, jogging, biking, swimming, etc. If you can’t talk while doing low intensity cardio, you’re doing too much. Remember, the goal is to have a steady low intensity workout. The low intensity workout will allow you to workout longer over time strengthening your body overall.

Almost any exercise can be done in a low intensity workout as long as you remember to keep a slow and steady pace. The steady pace allows your heart rate to increase and stay increased for a specific amount of time without going beyond the threshold. That steady pace needs to be maintained for at least 15 minutes.

Over time your body will become stronger and be able to do low intensity cardio for longer periods of time. Benefits increase when you’re able to do low intensity cardio for 30 to 45 minutes. Start small with 15 minutes and increase by small intervals over time.

What are the signs I should stop ?

Listen to your body. Fasted cardio can cause a drop in blood sugar. If you start to feel weak or light headed stop! This may signal you need to workout after eating not while fasting.

Our bodies don’t always burn the stored fat when we’re doing fasted cardio so be careful. Sometimes the body starts to burn protein which could damage your existing muscles. Losing strength while losing weight isn’t a good combination. Pay attention to your body and make modifications as needed.

Also, remain hydrated. Fasted training can make you dehydrated a lot faster than other types of cardio. Water is necessary to be able to do cardio safely and also plays a role in healing after a workout.

What should I eat after cardio?

Your post-workout meal is essential when you do cardio. After your workout you must consume protein and carbs to replace the energy used, and to develop and repair and maintain muscles.

Great protein and carb options after fasted cardio include oatmeal, eggs, Greek yogurt, or a protein shake. Eat within an hour after completing cardio in order to support healing and performance for your next cardio workout.

Empty calories from foods like pizza, burgers, or fast food don’t provide the nutrition your body needs after cardio. The food consumed after a workout, whether low or high intensity, makes a big difference in the overall results you’ll see from doing cardio consistently. Don’t cheat yourself with an empty post-workout meal.

Cardio Challenge

Listen to your body and consult with your doctor before starting any new wellness routine.

Try a fasted cardio routine for 14 days and see how your body changes. Remember to start small with 15 minutes and increase the intervals over time. Make sure you haven’t eaten at least 8 to 12 hours before your workout. After your workout eat a good post-workout meal that contains protein and carbohydrates and drink plenty of water.

Share your experiences with cardio. Your journey may help others along the way.

One Comment

  • Booker Betty

    Some people do aerobic exercise first thing, before they’ve eaten, because they think it will help them burn more fat. There is some evidence that this practice, sometimes called “fasted cardio,” may boost fat burning — but only fleetingly. Over the course of days or weeks (which is what counts), research shows that it doesn’t seem to offer any advantages. For example, in a four-week trial that randomly assigned young women to either fast or drink a 250-calorie shake before their aerobic workouts (while otherwise eating a low-calorie diet), both groups lost the same amount of fat and weight. Similarly, a study involving overweight women who did high-intensity interval workouts for six weeks after either fasting or eating found no differences in fat loss.

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