If you’ve ever rolled out of bed, and immediately strapped it onto the treadmill cup-oh-buzzing hand, you’ve unknowingly tried fast cardio. Working out on an empty stomach is not always intentional. But fitness professionals say there are reasons to try it-Especially if you have endurance or bodybuilding goals in mind.

What is fast cardio?

The type of exercise and the amount of time elapsed since your last nosh are important here. Certified strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers say that to count as fast cardio, the workout in question should be a rhythmic, monostructural movement like cycling, running or rowing. Josh Schlottman.

And how long do you need to have forgotten food? According to John Gardner, the NASM-certified trainer and CEO behind the fitness platform to kick, it takes time for your stomach to empty and your digestive system to be in the “off” position. “Depending on how fast your digestive system works or what you ate last, your body can be in a fasted state for four to six hours,” he says. However, the best results usually come from a workout after a 12-hour fast. Most: First thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Caffeine-cravers, fear not: it is is Kosher for coffee (sans creamer or sugar), Pre-workout, and water before a quick cardio session, according to Schlottman. In fact, it could be better: One of the biggest road-blocks fasted cardio combats is low energy levels. “Having some caffeine can help power you through your workout,” he says.

First off: Is fast cardio safe?

As long as you are healthy, you should be perfectly healthy to try fast cardio. However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, Gardner recommends speaking with a healthcare professional. “Rapid cardio can be extremely dangerous for people with any medical condition affected by low-blood sugar,” he says. If you feel light-headed or dizzy while trying to exercise on an empty stomach, you should avoid it, he adds.

It can support your body reconstruction goals

If you are looking to reduce Body fat percentage, fasting may be beneficial to cardio. When you exercise after eating, your body uses the calories you used to fuel your workout, Schlottman explains. “When you’re in a fasted state, your body doesn’t have any fast carbohydrates or other calories that it can easily use as fuel,” he says. Instead, it has to go to glycogen, which is how carbohydrates are stored long-term in the muscles and liver. Once your glycogen stores are tapped, the body turns to fat stores for fuel, he says.

The result? You burn more fat. A study published in British Journal of Nutrition It found that those who ran on the treadmill while fasting burned 20 percent more fat than those who ate first.

It can increase your endurance

Brisk cardio can support your endurance goals. That’s because it trains your body to rely less on using fast-burning carbs and sugars for energy and instead use fat for fuel, Schlottman explains. Because your body has more fat stores than glycogen, this ability can prevent athletes from “bonking” or “hitting the wall.” In fact, a study published Journal of Applied Physiology Those who exercised while fasting had greater endurance gains than those who exercised at the same intensity while fed.


Be aware that burning fat for fuel is a less efficient process, so will the same workout at the same intensity to feel Tough, sports dietitian Natalie Rizzo, RD, previously told Well+Good. Not everyone can happily work on an empty stomach. If exercising without eating is so miserable that it keeps you from exercising, forget it and just have that pre-workout snack.

Rizzo also cautions that everyone’s body responds differently, and that regular fast cardio workouts for extended periods of time can lead to vitamin deficiencies, mood swings and reduced immunity. Be sure to listen to your body, and adjust your technique if you feel that fast cardio workouts are backfiring.

Also, “make sure you eat plenty of carbohydrates and a A balanced post-workout meal to recharge your energy and give the body the fuel it needs,” says Gardner. Failure to fuel yourself after a quick cardio session will interfere with your ability to recover properly, he says. That can undermine any gains you might otherwise make.

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