If you’re like most of the world, breakfast may be an important part of your everyday routine. Fueling up on eggs, bacon, or whatever else suits your fancy can fuel you to be productive for the long day ahead of you. But if your morning routine also features squeezing in a morning run, you may want to think twice about eating breakfast. This method is called fasted cardio.
If you’ve ever skipped breakfast before a run, or even just grabbed a granola bar before you head out the door, you’ve practiced fasted cardio. In today’s world of fitness, fasted cardio is all the buzz in regards to boosting weight loss and enhancing your performance. But just how worth it is it? Keep reading to find out!
What Defines Fasted Cardio?
Whenever you workout for not eating for some time, you’re practicing fasted cardio. But, contrary to popular belief, eating breakfast and then skipping lunch to workout isn’t fasted cardio. In fact, the body needs a 10- to 14-hour period of not eating to be truly fasted.
There’s a good reason fasted cardio is all the rage. When your body is in a fasted state and your glycogen becomes depleted, your body looks for fat as an alternative source. Within minutes of your workout, the amount of fat you burn is a little bit higher than normal when you fast. Soon, you’ll be working out more on oxidized fat versus your normal glycogen or carbohydrates.
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What Is There to Gain From Fasted Cardio?
If you’re looking to lose body fat, you may want to ditch breakfast before your morning workout. One of the top benefits of practicing fasted cardio is that it increases the amount of fat you burn. If you’re looking to get rid of that “stubborn” fat that you just can’t seem to lose, fasted cardio may be your new best friend. Other benefits of this method include:
- Avoiding an upset stomach. For some, working out after breakfast can lead to indigestion and potential nausea. With fasted cardio, all of that can be avoided.
- More time to workout. A lot of the time, it can be hard to squeeze in both breakfast and a morning workout. When you practice fasted cardio, you can immediately get into your workout without having to worry about fueling your body.
The Cons of Fasted Cardio
Although fasted cardio is all the rave, it may not be right for everyone. Just like with anything, there are some drawbacks to fasted cardio. Some of these negatives include:
- Increased risk of energy levels dropping. Although this may seem like a plan from the heavens, it also greatly increases your likelihood of crashing during a workout. The bottom line is that your body is used to getting fuel from food, so you may experience slight nausea in the beginning. This can be easily fixed, though, as you can snack on something light to give your body the fuel it needs to continue training.
- A less productive workout. With no food as fuel for your body, you may experience that your intensity decreases throughout your workout. In the beginning, it can be difficult for your body to adjust to burning fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates. If your workout includes a light 30-minute run, you will most likely be fine. But, if you train at a high intensity, you may want to consider eating breakfast.
Is Fasted Cardio Safe?
If you practice fasted cardio carefully, this fat-burning method is safe. When you exercise on an empty stomach, your blood sugar drops, causing potential lightheadedness. If you have diabetes or other metabolic diseases, you may want to consult your doctor before incorporating this method into your daily routine.
To Eat or Not To Eat?
If you already prefer getting extra sleep and skipping breakfast, fasted cardio may provide numerous benefits for you. But if you plan on having high-intensity, hardcore workouts on a daily basis, this type of cardio may not the right path to go down. In the end, the decision is up to you on whether or not to run on empty. Just be sure to do it safely and carefully!