As a Transformation Coach, I’ve witnessed the power of an effective morning routine that can set the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle. One such routine that has garnered significant attention and praise is fasted cardio. Fasted cardio, as the name suggests, is a form of cardiovascular exercise done on an empty stomach, typically first thing in the morning. It has been lauded for promoting a range of health benefits, including accelerated fat loss, increased energy, and improved focus throughout the day. In this blog, we will delve into the science behind fasted cardio and how it differs from other forms of exercise. We will also discuss the best practices for incorporating it into your fitness routine and provide you with practical tips for optimal results.
What is Fasted Cardio and How Does it Differ from Other Forms of Cardio?
Fasted cardio refers to performing aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, while your body is in a fasting state, i.e., at least 8 to 12 hours after your last meal. This is different from exercising after a meal when your body has readily available fuel from the recently ingested food. The primary difference between the two lies in the source of energy your body uses to fuel your workout.
In the absence of readily available glucose from food, your body is forced to tap into its stored resources in the form of glycogen and fat reserves during fasted cardio. This shift in energy utilization is what makes fasted cardio particularly effective at promoting fat loss and other health benefits.
The Science Behind Fasted Cardio
When exercising in a fasted state, your body is compelled to rely on its fat reserves for energy. This occurs due to the fluctuation in two key hormones: insulin and human growth hormone (HGH).
- Insulin: Insulin levels are low in a fasting state, which promotes the breakdown of fat cells to release fatty acids into the bloodstream. These fatty acids are then used as fuel during your workout. Conversely, exercising in a fed state raises insulin levels, which hampers the fat-burning process.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Growth hormone levels increase overnight during sleep and remain elevated in a fasting state. Higher levels of HGH promote fat metabolism, muscle-building, and increased endurance.
Advantages of Fasted Cardio
Engaging in fasted cardio offers a range of benefits compared to traditional forms of exercise:
- Increased Fat Burning: Exercising on an empty stomach prompts your body to use a higher proportion of fat as fuel instead of carbs, boosting your fat-burning potential.
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: By exercising in a fasted state, you can enhance your body’s responsiveness to insulin, which may help counteract the onset of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Better Endurance: Morning fasted cardio can improve physical endurance by increasing your body’s ability to use fat for fuel.
- More Efficient Calorie Burning: Fasted cardio enhances calorie expenditure due to increased energy demands during the workout.
How to Incorporate Fasted Cardio into Your Daily Routine
To make the most of your morning fasted cardio sessions, consider creating a morning routine. Establish a consistent morning routine that involves waking up early, hydrating, and performing your chosen form of cardio exercise right away.