What Is a Fasted Workout, and How Does It Improve Your Health?
If you've been training for any period of time, chances are you've heard about fasted workouts, but what does it really mean?
A lot of people wonder if exercising without eating first can help them lose weight. Some say that fasted cardio is a very effective fat-burning tool, while others say that it's ineffective or even dangerous.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of fasted workouts and learn whether it's worth including them in your workout routine.
What is Fasted Workout?
Fasted cardio or workout is the practice of doing cardio on an empty stomach, when the body is in a fasted state.
For most people, that means first thing in the morning before breakfast (unless you practice intermittent fasting). The body may tap into glycogen stores while you're doing this type of cardio, but is it actually effective for burning fat?
Types of Fasted Workouts
Fasted workouts are performed in a fasted state. However, that doesn't mean they're the same as intermittent fasting, nor does it mean that they should be confused with post-workout or morning fasting.
In fact, there're three different types of fasted workout protocols:
- A workout done before breakfast (the morning fast).
- A workout done after an overnight fast (the evening fast)
- A workout done on an empty stomach in between meals (the post-workout meal).
How to Perform Fasted Workouts?
It's pretty much what it sounds like: Going for a run or working out for eight hours without eating or drinking anything.
You can drink water during fasted workouts, but you should avoid coffee, tea, and other non-caloric beverages. The only exceptions to the no-drink rule are sports drinks (preferably one with a mixture of carbs and electrolytes), which help maintain proper hydration during exercise.
Consuming alcohol before or during a workout slows down the body’s ability to burn fat for energy. That defeats the purpose of working out fasted in the first place.
Benefits of Fasted Workouts
Fasted workouts can be a great way to improve health and fitness. Fasted cardio are especially beneficial for people who want to build muscle, lose weight, and improve their cardiovascular fitness. Some of its benefits are:
1) Build Muscle: One study found that exercising while fasted can help you gain more muscle than exercising on a full stomach.
2) Lose Weight: Studies show that high-intensity exercise done in a fasted state may burn more fat than low-intensity ones done in a fed state.
3) Improve Cardiovascular Fitness: The effects of fasted exercise on cardiovascular fitness are still being studied. Early studies suggest that it may help with lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol level (both risk factors for heart disease).
Is Fasted Cardio Worth It?
Research on fasted cardio is limited, but it seems to show that they it can have some real benefits. For one thing, fasted cardio can help you burn more fat and build more muscle by increasing the body’s production of HGH (human growth hormone).
For example, a study done in 2018 found that people who did two hours of cardio after 12 hours of fasting lost about 11% more weight than those who ate before working out.
Another study published in 2017 found that men who did cardio fasted for five days per week gained more muscle strength than those who ate before doing their workouts.
Fasting has been around as long as humans have been around, but only recently have people started studying its health benefits scientifically. Recent research shows that intermittent fasting can improve many aspects of health, including weight loss, brain function, longevity, and more.
The bottom line? While there isn’t enough evidence yet to say definitively whether or not skipping meals before exercising is better than eating beforehand — or if it makes any difference at all — it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. If you want to try fasting for yourself, make sure not forget the aforementioned tips.
If you’re looking for a way to push yourself during a workout, fasted cardio is definitely worth trying.
It can help you reap the benefits of an entire day without food (like improved cognitive function or better sleep) while also giving you added energy during your workout. Don’t forget, though, that this is still a form of fasting — so be aware of how much water you're drinking.
The best way to determine whether or not you should try fasted workouts for fat loss or other purposes is to try it yourself and see how your body responds.