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Does fasted cardio speed up fat loss?

Does fasted cardio speed up fat loss?

Fasted cardio is when you are doing cardio on an empty stomach. This doesn’t mean that it is the first thing you do when you wake up, it just means that you do your cardio when your stomach is empty. If your body is still breaking down the food you had previously eaten, your body is in the fed state. You are not back into a fasted state until your body has completely digested the food. Digestion time typically depends on the size of your meal, with the average time being around 12 hours.

Be sure to continue to read after the video to learn more about the after-burn effect!


In theory, when you do fasted cardio, you would think that your body would tap into fat stores and use it as fuel to get through the workout. This would make it seem like fasted cardio would be great for fat loss, but this isn’t the case. The problem is when you go the gym on an empty stomach, or a fasted state, your body is not only going to attack your fat stores, but it can also attack your muscle stores. While there are a few people that can benefit from this, the majority of us won’t.

Depending on what your fitness goals are, there is other cardio you can be doing in place of this, one of them being HIIT (high-intensity interval training), such as HIIT MAX® (FREE 30-Day Trial)

The AFTER-BURN Effect

The difference between using a fasted cardio and using HIIT, is you are using a different energy source. Many people argue that when you do HIIT, you are only using glycogen as fuel, rather than tapping into fat stores, and while this is true, the difference comes after you are done working out. When you do HIIT, your body continues to burn calories after you are done working out.

This is called the after-burn effect. A fasted cardio, which is a low-intensity steady cardio (LISS), does not have this same after-burn effect. So you actually end up burning more using HIIT, which is also known as EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption).

What happens is, when you complete the rigorous activity (HIIT), your body has to pay back the oxygen used, much like a credit card which you use and then have to pay back. After you are done, your body has to continue to work in order to pay back that O2 debt, causing the after-burn effect. Once you finish the workout, you can actually burn 7 – 11% more calories.

For the majority of people, a fasted cardio is irrelevant and isn’t valuable, but there are some that can benefit from it. Fasted cardio can be useful for someone who is already lean and needs to get rid of the very last percentage of body fat. For the majority of us, for 98% of us, we are not at that state. For that small percentage that is, the fasted cardio should be on low carb days. It should be done when in a catabolic state. That is who fasted cardio is for and when it should be used.

Fasted cardio should be used to get those last little areas of stubborn fat, but until you are at that point, HIIT will be much more effective for fat loss. Don’t believe me? Take HIIT MAX® for a test-drive FREE for 30 full days.

If you are doing any fasted cardio, be sure to be drinking BCAAs (which should be taken during any workout), so you can train more intensely without getting as tired as quickly. It also helps preserve lean muscle tissue which is ideal when training in a fasted state.

Always make sure to consume a fast absorbing protein right after your workout, such as a whey protein isolate.

At the end of the day, doing any sort of workout fasted, will not speed up your fat loss, unless you are in a deficit for that day, even fasted HIIT. Fasted cardio is a tool and a good one I’d used properly. If your goal is faster fat loss then HIIT MAX® is the solution.

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