If you're like me, then perhaps you have tried different forms of cardio in or out of the gym. I've hit the treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals, you name it. Burning fat while gaining muscle or simply to just maintain an ideal physique is what 99/100 of us want out of our routines. I'm always pushing to gain more lean mass while limiting unnecessary fat stored in my body. I got to a point where I wasn't feeling the effects of my pre workout supplement anymore because I was consuming food prior to my workouts. I work out in the morning, and was consuming way too much food prior which left my feeling water-logged and sluggish.
I decided to hit the weights or cardio on an empty stomach so I wouldn't feel bloated and would feel the full effects of my pre workout. I started noticing that my muscle fullness, endurance, and pumps were nearly non-existent, while my fat loss seemed to have stagnated. I started drinking a protein shake with around 4-6oz of water prior to my workouts and have noticed significant positive changes. My endurance, blood flow, and strength definitely increased during my sessions which is always a plus.
Doesn't fasted cardio/training help burn more fat?!
Any type of fasted cardio or training will help you burn more fat DURING the exercise time, BUT your intensity may decline very noticeably. This leaves your body's ability to burn fat post exercise compromised. Over a period of time, fat burning is not an immediate process, as it occurs over the course of hours, even days. When you are in a fasted state (ex. when you wake up after a night's rest) your glycogen levels are depleted while leaving your body more carbohydrate reliant. Doing fasted cardio or weight training will burn more muscle in the long run than torching fat. And I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem like anything I want to be a part of.
NOT THE GAINS!
Studies have shown that burning more carbs during workouts (i.e. you aren't fasted) you get the "after burn" effect which entails that you are burning more fat post workout as opposed to during the exercise on an empty stomach. Strange how that works, huh?
I've done fasted cardio for an extended period of time and the results were mediocre, as my fat loss left me with something to be desired. To break my fast before the gym, i drink a protein shake with only half the usual amount of liquid. You could also eat a banana, apple, oatmeal, protein bar, cup of yogurt, rice cake with peanut butter, or something similar to satiate your hunger. If you feel as if fasted workouts/cardio is working for you then by all means stick with it! I just feel as if my workouts leave me feeling more engaged while I have broken my overnight fast, along with noticeably more endurance. So make sure you're eating something to break that "fast" before you hit the gym or do any type of cardio, don't let your gains be losses!