Why You Should Stop Believing The Fasted Cardio Myth

Why You Should Stop Believing The Fasted Cardio Myth

The popular belief that aerobic exercises performed early in the morning on an empty stomach helps burn more calories is an outright fasted cardio myth.

Fasted cardio literally means putting your body to action after waking up in the morning. You do not eat any meal.

The theory behind the fasted cardio myth is that the body is forced to use carbs and fats already stored to produce energy for the cardio session.

This is claimed to aid in weight loss or maintain average weight, but this is not the case.


Why You Should Stop Believing The Fasted Cardio Myth

study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed no difference in people who practiced fasted cardio and those who didn’t.

One of the fasted cardio myth that people should not believe is that this burns more fat. 

A study conducted in 2012 had 12 healthy males who were put on a trial in different groups – fasted cardio and fed cardio.

Researchers observed the 12 participants in three separate trials. In the first trial, the 12 men fasted while exercising for one hour.

 On the second day, they took a meal and exercised. There was no eating for at least five to nine hours of the day in the third trial.

In fact-finding, the researchers found out that there was a lot of appetite suppression for those who took a meal before exercising compared to those who fasted.

However, the difference in total energy between the two groups remained unchanged.


Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., RD, and the author of “Power Eating” gives more credence to the fasted cardio myth.

She holds that burning more fat for the body is a different thing in reality than in theory, where it seems appealing.

She explains that fasted cardio is physically painful to exercise in because the fasted cardio myths exclude the fact that fewer calories are burned in total from fat.

 With other exercises, more calories are burned.

The theory behind this was that fasted cardio tends to add the proportion of calories burned. Still, it decreases the total amount of calories burned at a specific rate of exertion.

She concludes that when the body is under fuelled by fasted cardio, weight loss could be a mirage.

“Weight loss doesn’t occur with under-fueled training. It happens when you give your body what it needs to perform its best,” says Susan.


According to Denise Pate, a doctor of internal medicine at Medical Offices in Manhattan holds that cardio on an empty stomach in the morning is okay if done in moderation.

The doctor cites that fasted cardio has more cons than pros. Word of advice is that before you start on fasted cardio, it is good to check all tick boxes.

Dr. Pate says that some of the benefits of fasted cardio include increased lipolysis. Lipolysis is the process when the body gets energy from breaking down fatty cells.

Fat oxidation also happens courtesy of lipolysis when glycogen levels in the body go low.

Fasted cardio is also helpful in regulating blood insulin levels when they drop as your body rests. At this point, the body uses fat as energy instead of carbohydrates.

Fat loss triggers these processes.

However, there are instances when fasted cardio creates lightheadedness due to low blood sugar levels.

Muscle loss is also bound to happen because fasted cardio gets energy from different parts of the body.

What fasted cardio does is taking away the energy from muscles.


Your body needs high amounts of energy to keep you in good shape while performing your morning cardio.

The right foods to give your body energy are critical. Failure to take something before cardio could make the whole exercise a flop.

Usually, the body will burn calories and nutrients while you are asleep. Working out without eating anything will deprive the body of all energy.

Eating before a workout does not mean that you take a huge meal. A simple fruit such as a banana, apple, orange, or mango will replenish your healthy sugar levels.

Oatmeal, fresh berries, nut butter, a whole-grain turkey sandwich, and plenty of water is also recommended to keep the body hydrated.

For longer cardio sessions, yogurt, eggs, cheese are good protein options.


The body is sensitive to what the body is fed with. It determines how much the body will churn out in terms of performance.

In this regard, avoid granola or protein bars because they contain a high amount of sugars.

High fiber foods are great for the body, but you should avoid them before morning workouts because they are hard to digest. They make exercising uncomfortable.

Red meat and other fatty foods contain a lot of unhealthy fat. It could be bad for your workout because it makes you feel tired. After all, the body is inhibited from converting fat into energy.

Usually, these fats are saturated, and they become hard to digest or be absorbed by the body.

Smoothies packed with a lot of sugars are not a good option for the body. They give the body a short span of energy and then crash.

Fizzy drinks add gas to the stomach causing indigestion and flatulence. Spicy foods should also be avoided as they cause heartburn.


The fasted cardio myth raises an important question: when is the best time to work out, on an empty stomach or fed.

To begin with, the choice to try a fasted cardio or eat before working out depends on several things, among them your personal body fitness goals and health status.

Fasted cardio is advised against people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes because it lowers blood sugar.

Nonetheless, studies have shown that fasted cardio burns 20% more fat than when fed. However, this does not mean that you lose more fat overall than a person who does cardio when fed.

The beauty of fasted cardio is that it utilizes fats to produce energy for the body other than glycogen or sugar.

It is gratifying for the fed state when performing long stretches of cardio, Geoffrey Woo and Zhill Olonan stated in one of the studies. 


Weight loss is a deep subject, and for this reason, it fuels the fasted cardio myth. From studies, it is evident that fasted cardio is not favorable to people who have underlying conditions.

Besides, there is no much difference between a fed cardio and a fasted cardio. 

The preference of what to choose for your weight-loss boils down to your personal goals and your health status. 

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