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Fasted Training - Does It Actually Work?

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OK, so a popular trend at the minute seems to be fasted cardio. Everyone is talking about it and some have tried it but do you know the ins and outs as to why and how it works? Probably not and this is why it might not be for you or why it could be the best thing you have ever done. Fasted cardio is an effective way to lose body fat and accelerate weight loss but it needs to be done correctly so that you lose fat and not muscle.

May people are under the impression that fasted cardio is simply training without food in your stomach and although this is partly right it is more to do with the ‘state’ that your body is in and how it utilises the food that you have taken in because when you eat your food gets broken down, these parts can then be used by different components of the body. When you eat your body also releases insulin and this hormone can stay elevated in your system from 3 to 6 hours after you have eaten or until your body has finished absorbing the nutrients that it needs. When your body is doing this it is known as being ‘fed’. But, when your body is not being ‘fed’ your insulin levels remain low and your body then becomes ‘fasted’. The body is an amazing piece of kit and it moves between these 2 states on a regular basis throughout the day depending on when you eat.

Now, relating this to fat loss, your body will only burn fat when it is in a fasted state because when your body is fed it doesn’t burn the fat you consume, it stores it. This is because while your insulin levels are elevated it hinders the breakdown of the fatty acids that you are eating, it makes sense really – why would your body burn the fat it has saved when you have just replenished it with new a new food source? 

Your body uses food as fuel – we should all know this and so it will always take an easier approach. As the image displays, insulin levels are high after eating but then dips in-between meals and this is when the body will turn to your fat stores for energy to keep you working on a daily basis. So if we store more fat than we burn then we gain weight but if you burn more than you store you lose weight, right?

Throw exercise into the mix and then fat loss through fasted cardio is obviously accelerated, but this can only work if you are following a healthy diet, it’s no good doing an hour of fasted cardio and then rewarding yourself with a cake now is there?

Fasted cardio as mentioned is one of the best forms of weight loss because it attacks the fat stores and utilises them as energy – bonus! But it also has another perk, it can help to get rid of the stubborn areas of fat that have been bothering you for months on end and no amount of running or throwing weights around has even touched. Generally for women it’s the hips, thighs, butt and stomach areas and for men usually lower abs and/or lower back area. Your body uses chemicals to break down fats into energy, these are called catecholamine and they trigger the release of energy in the fat cells so that you can burn them off and in order for the catecholamine to reach the fatty areas you need a good blood flow. Notice the fatty areas are generally cooler to touch? This is because there is a lower blood supply to that area compared to other areas like the chest or arms. This is a major hindrance when looking to burn fat in that area, however, when your body is in a fasted state blood flow to these stubborn areas is increased and so the chemical breakdown is a lot easier for the body.

So what type of fasted cardio should you be doing? It all depends on the overall goal and so it is completely individual to you, it has been seen though that shorter interval fasted training can result in good fat loss quicker than low intensity, long sessions. Not only this but keeping your fasted cardio shorter is always a welcome break at 5am in a morning and it can actually help you to keep your strength and preserve the muscle that you have spent so long painstakingly building. So 25-30 minutes fasted interval cardio at high intensity 3-4 times a week can massively accelerate fat loss and also reduce fat in the stubborn areas, seems a no brainer to me!

To aid with fasted cardio supplements are always a winner but must be taken in moderation, things such as the following can give you that extra boost:

Caffeine – helps to increase the body’s energy expenditure and can improve muscle endurance.

Creatine monohydrate – Helps to produce energy, helps with blood flow and has been known to increase endurance and help with recovery time.

Personally I have used a few different brands of pre-workout but one I am currently using is amazing:

http://www.megafreaksupplements.com/applied-nutrition-abe-all-black-everything-315g/

Use discount code megafreakkirsty at the checkout

So bottom line….

Fasted cardio at high intensity for 30 minutes 3 days a week minimum is a must for anyone looking to lose body fat. So get the alarm set for 5:30am and get out of bed! Not only will you start to look better but you will feel better too, it’s a great start to the day to clear your head, pump the body and prepare yourself for the next training session!

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