Whether cardio on an empty stomach can speed up fat loss is a commonly debated fitness topic. Two fuel sources—carbs & fats—are used to generate energy for muscle contraction during exercise. When you deplete glycogen stores by fasting overnight, or going several hours without refueling, fatty acids break down in the mitochondria to be used as a secondary energy source. Results: After 20-30 minutes of exercise, the rate of fat burn was higher in the fasted group than in the glucose or fructose group.
The Take Away: This particular study suggests that more fat was burned by the group that performed MODERATE activity on an empty stomach… DURING THE EXERCISE ITSELF. Researchers from Italy investigated the contrasting reports on whether training in a fasting condition enhances weight loss. Eating increased both oxygen consumption (VO2) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) significantly, 12 hours after the cardio, VO2 was still higher for the group who had eaten, although RER was significantly lower in the FED test, indicating greater fat burn. The group that ate before the moderate cardio session continued to burn significantly more calories up to 24 hours after the exercise bout. During intense exercise that approaches your maximum effort, most of your energy comes from glycogen. Hi Marc, I used to do it on an empty stomach and it is a lot different than when you have something on your stomach, you feel that you have more power, so my question is if I am going to workout first thing in the am, considering there is not much time to get ready for work and take daughter to school, how long before the workout should one get the protein juice or the fruit?
Marc – What about doing High Intensity Interval Training on an empty stomach in a fasted state in the morning?
I’ve found a bunch of articles on this topic, but this is the best, most comprehensive one I’ve ever read!
I have found that not eating before any type of exercise or activity directly affects the performance of that task in a negative way. I have recently been told to do cardio (low intensity for one hour) each morn on an empty stomach and trying to decide whether it’s worth the extra effort I need to put in to do that. HI, I would like to know if drinking coffee like 4 times a day interrupts my weight loss program?
Also to comment on the last 2 posters, coffee wont hurt you at all as long as your drinking it as is.


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.
For endurance exercise performed at a moderate intensity, you obtain 50–60% of energy needed from glycogen (which is stored energy from carbs) and the rest from fats. Adaptations to skeletal muscle with endurance exercise training in the acutely fed versus overnight-fasted state. I always hear people doing cardio on an empty stomach and how great it is, but I could never do it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and just having a light snack before working out may be beneficial for the workout but not nutritionally.
If you are the type of person that feels like a pre-workout meal has no substantial influence on your energy or work output than high intensity intervals might be permissible for you. If you have a sensitive stomach try a less ripe banana as they have less sugar or half of a grapefruit. At a minimum, it takes me 15 to 30 minutes longer to warm up physically (this probably also accounts for the mental fatigue as well). The last two meals have carbs only in nuts and my breakfast has carbs in the form of oats and lts of protein.
My question is …i do high intensity jogging for 45 to 55 minutes during late evenings rather than mornings…is it ok?
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.


Research shows that people who burn fat during their workouts actually burn less fat the rest of the day. I always felt like I didn’t have the energy or drive that I typically do when I have a preworkout meal and it would bother me. It seems like new studies come out every day that encourage people to perform high intensity intervals due to the post-exercise calorie burn.
Just remember, your body will also burn through muscle as well as fat if glycogen stores are depleted. 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. Overtime, fat burning is not an immediate process, rather, it occurs over the course of, not a few hours, but a few days.. I think people who are below their normal body weight are closer to an empty stomach than others. 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.
As you burn more carbohydrates during your workout, the body will burn more fat post exercise. Doing cardio on an empty stomach if you aren’t able to sustain adequate energy levels, your workout will suffer. I was wondering, since you mention it in your article, how significant is the calorie burn following cardio? As a natural athlete, you are bound to lose some muscle during a diet as is (if everything goes well, you will lose 1lbs.



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