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Fat Loss and Fasted Cardio in the Morning

Cardio in the morning

A recent study shows there is no added fat loss when fasted cardio is performed first thing in the morning.

Countless trainers and magazines have written articles about the added benefit of doing fasted morning cardio, saying do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and you will burn more fat! but according to the latest study in Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, there is no benefit of doing fasted morning cardio for fat loss.

Diet and exercise results in an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure for loss of fat mass. Previously, it was thought that lower intensity exercise, conducted in the “fat-burning” zone, was superior for weight loss when compared to high-intensity training. This theory was based on the fact that higher intensity exercise elicits an acutely lower level of fat oxidation but burns more total calories than low-intensity aerobic exercise.

If you are burning more fat during exercise, it would make sense that fasted cardio is the way to go for losing body fat, but this does not take into consideration the overall bigger picture of total calories burned during exercise. For example, resistance exercise does not result in significant amounts of calories burned during exercise but the more significant increases in lean muscle results in greater fat loss than aerobic exercise. This is due to the increased lean muscle burning more calories at rest and enhancing fat loss as opposed to aerobic exercise burning more calories but minimal changes in lean muscle.

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Can High-Intensity Weightlifting  Replace High-Intensity Cardio? Researchers compared a high-intensity, high-rep squats, and deadlift weigh training workout compared to high-intensity sprint cardio cycling for eight weeks. This study used powerlifters and strongmen competitors. Each set took 16-30 seconds on average, and the participants performed 8-15 reps per set with a fast rep.  At the end of eight weeks, both groups increased leg strength to a similar extent as measured by leg extension test. Both groups improved cardiovascular fitness, but the sprint cycling groups enhanced cardiovascular fitness more.  High-Intensity weight lifting can produce substantial increases in cardiovascular fitness but may not be enough to replace high-intensity cardio.  The good news is that weightlifters can make significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness with high-intensity weightlifting!! If you want to optimize your gains, be sure to take Bang Master Blaster, a recent study found a 6.9 lb increase in lean muscle mass in just four weeks. #Muscle #Fitness #Fit #Bodybuilding #Model #Fitnessmodel #Bodybuilding #BangEnergy #EnergyDrink #Energy #PreWorkout #PostWorkout #BCAA #CrossFit #Protein Study: Androulakis-Korakakis P, Langdown L, Lewis A, Fisher JP, Gentil P, Paoli A, Steele J. Effects of Exercise Modality During Additional "High-Intensity Interval Training" on Aerobic Fitness and Strength in Powerlifting and Strongman Athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Feb;32(2):450-457.

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Many trainers hypothesized that depleted glycogen stores after an overnight fast increased fat mobilization and enhanced fat loss. The new data from existing laboratories supports the notion that weight loss and fat loss from exercise is more likely to be enhanced through creating a significant caloric deficit over time, rather than exercising in fasted or fed states. In other words, fat loss over a 24-hour period is much more physiologically relevant to fat loss than doing a bout of fasted cardio for an hour.

One interesting, consistent find is that acute exercise in the fasted state has been shown to result in greater fat oxidation than exercise performed in a fed state; however, the research is currently showing that this does not increase calories burned over a 24-hour period. Thus, fat burning must be considered over the course of days – meaning not on an hour-to-hour basis – in order to get a meaningful perspective on its impact on body composition. Based on the findings of the investigation published in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, fasted exercise, compared to fed exercise, does not increase the amount of weight loss and fat mass loss. Additionally, there was an excellent review paper written by last year by Brad Schoenfeld in the Strength and Conditioning Journal titled, “Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss”. This review states that there is no evidence to support cardio on an empty stomach to enhance fat loss.  The review paper provided an excellent summary of the literature to date debunking the myth that fasted morning cardio burns more fat.

The current research indicates that it is better to avoid training in a fasted state with moderate intensity exercise if fat loss is the target. In sum, the review article does not support cardio in the morning on an empty stomach enhances fat loss. Studies have shown that consumption of food before exercise increases the thermic effect of the bout; thus, leading to greater energy expenditure post-exercise compared to exercise in a fasted state. This suggests that fed, compared to fasted exercise, may be more efficacious for weight loss. Also, an acute bout of fasted compared to fed exercise has been shown to result in a significantly greater loss in muscle protein, which may lead to a significant loss of lean mass if this practice is performed over week or months. Additionally, training on an empty stomach accelerates muscle tissue breakdown which may be considered counterproductive for fat loss.

Hackett, Daniel, and Amanda Hagstrom. “Effect of Overnight Fasted Exercise on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology 2.4 (2017): 43.

Schoenfeld, B. Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal. Vol. 33(1); Feb. 2011.

Romijn JA,Coyle EF,Sidossis LS, Gastaldelli A, Horowitz JF, Endert E, and Wolfe RR. Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity.Am J Physiol 265(3 Pt 1): E380–E391, 1993.