Q: Right now my main goal is to burn body fat while keeping as much of the muscle I built over the winter intact. Then, once you’re done, have a meal that contains only protein and essential fatty acids — no starchy carbohydrates or fruits.
About two hours later have another meal that contains low-glycemic-index carbs- — along with a complete protein, of course — and you should quickly begin to see the results you’re after.
Even though this is more a strength oriented website, most athletes still do some form of cardio and, let’s face it, most of us do it to look good. For ages, people have gotten up at ungodly hours and performed cardio following the logic that since they were exercising with an empty stomach, the body has no other choice but to burn fat. While it is true that the body will use mainly fatty acids as an energy source when performing any exercise on an empty stomach, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose more body fat. If you feel the need to separate cardio from weight training, at least have some BCAA’s beforehand to avoid catabolism.
You have probably heard that if you exercise on an empty stomach,  like running before you eat breakfast, that you will burn more fat than if you exercised following a meal. I meant to write about this subject a few weeks ago, but put it aside until I was reminded of this common myth at the NYC TSI Personal Training Summit 2 weeks ago. Exercising on an empty stomach to burn more fat, was one of the myths she had discussed during the presentation, and I told her I would give her a shout out because I thought she was so refreshingly smart and level headed when it comes to nutrition.
Anyways,  when exercising on an empty stomach,  the body will rely on a higher % of calories from fat, however the quality of the workout will be sub par.
So you are burning a smaller percent of fat as fuel but because you had actualy energy going into the workout you were able to push harder, lift more, run faster,  BURN MORE. Everyone is different when it comes to nutrition and meal size, but there’s one commonality,  you should eat before a workout!! According to Paul Kriegler, corporate registered dietitian at Life Time Fitness, there's not a strong amount of evidence that suggests saturated fats or cholesterol can be linked to rising obesity rates and weight gain.

While the study that Kriegler mentioned did find that a diet consisting of less simple carbohydrates (like from white rice, white bread, and candy) was associated with better health outcomes, the idea that carbs can make you gain weight is not true. While I understand this trainer’s thought process and the physiological mechanisms he is referring to, in the real world the result of such a practice is almost always a severe loss of muscle. Some fitness professionals have given out advice stating that if you exercise on an empty stomach your body will rely on it's fat stores for fuel. First, there is a drop in performance so the overall amount of calories being burned is lower than if the athlete had consumed some food beforehand. Foods (glycogen and amino acid) are anti-catabolic and so they help prevent muscle loss during exercise. Otherwise, do it after you hit the weights; your glycogen stores will then be empty and fatty acids will be used for energy.
You’ll have more energy, burn more calories, and wont pass out on the elliptical or treadmill mid workout.
According to Holland, most research shows that fat burn is consistent whether you eat before or after a workout.
One study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that subjects who followed a calorie-controlled low-carb diet that allowed for unlimited amounts of protein and fat, lost the same amount of weight as subjects who followed a diet that limited fat intake to 30 percent of their total calories each day. A trainer at my gym told me not to eat for about two hours after I’m done to keep burning more body fat. Your solution is rather simple and will allow you to experience the best of both worlds — rapid loss in body fat and effective maintenance of your lean tissue.
That will keep your insulin levels very low, which will allow for a prolonged fat-burning effect from your cardio while at the same time providing necessary amino acids and fats for muscle maintenance and sustained energy. Well, this sounds great and you may think that would make sense, but what actually happens is your body will utilize it's proteins (or lean muscle tissue) for energy.
Despite the fact that I believe that cardio is unnecessary to get lean (there, I said it), let’s have a closer look at cardio in a fastened state.

If muscle is lost, that means your metabolism will slow down, hence you will have to diet stricter to achieve the same results. Besides being a dietitian to the stars, you will also see her on TV trying to battle widely held nutrition myths. However, the results found that the lower-carb, higher-fat diet did yield better health outcomes like improved blood lipid profiles, blood pressure, and waist circumference. After one week of doing that, I feel as if my muscles look smaller and flatter and that I’m losing all that I worked so hard to gain. So while someone who does cardio in the AM might use up more fatty acids than someone who does cardio in the PM, they still burn the same amount of calories.
Without it you will eventually lack energy, experience brain fog, and feel depressed and moody." For weight loss and overall better health, she suggests choosing carbohydrates that come from nutritious sources like vegetables, fruits and whole grains. As a natural athlete, you are bound to lose some muscle during a diet as is (if everything goes well, you will lose 1lbs.
Ever try to push yourself when you felt like you had no gas in the tank,  yeah  it probably wasn’t your best workout. Diabetics would fall into this category and have to be careful with the timing of exercise and food to keep their blood glucose levels steady.
The better bet, as Talbott mentioned earlier, is performing high-intensity interval workouts, which studies have shown can help you to burn more calories and fat throughout the day and will ultimately lead to greater fat loss over time. A good rule of thumb is to plan your snack further out if you are doing a very intense workout.

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