This is a topic which we regularly have to attend to when it comes to questions that come through when doing Q&A's through the Results with Lucy Instagram profile: Is fasted cardio the best approach to working out when aiming to lose weight and create great body composition results.
Firstly, ‘fasted cardio’ essentially means that we are completing aerobic exercise, with an empty stomach, in an attempt in our case to generate better weight loss results versus having eaten some time before the session.
I really wanted to dispel the myth that you must only do fasted cardio in order to lose weight, as it’s strictly not true ❌ Weight loss occurs as a result of adding up all the calories consumed through food and drink over a long period of time like 1-2 weeks, and also subtracting all the energy we’ve used up during exercise and daily movement, digesting our foods, and the energy needed to carry out all bodily processed needed to keep us functioning and well 🧘♀
Within the exercise section, this fasted cardio session simply assists with adding more calories to the ‘calories burned’ part of the process, and the research to date suggests that whether or not you are fasted vs. not fasted has little if any effect on weight loss overall as a whole.
There is also a debate that because carbs are a really important part of our ability to exercise effectively, that if they are reduced to the point where you’ve been in a fasted state for some time before your workout, that you’re actually less likely to exercise to the same intensity and/or duration 🤔
…which could mean less calories burned
…which means potentially less of a calorie deficit created
…which means less of the whole thing you set out to do in the first place: weight loss!
See what I mean?
We need to be focusing on the main contributing strategies which have the MOST EFFECT on our ability to lose weight:
- The correct amounts of food! (Whether we like it or not this is one of the most important factors!)
- The correct nutrients within the food we consume! (Having optimal amounts protein and fibre each day can help us feel fuller for much longer for example!)
- Working out regularly! (Do what you LOVE not what burns the most calories per hour… this means you’ll do it forever!
- Our lifestyle (Are you choosing the pub quiz a couple of times a week instead of playing for the local hockey team a couple of times a week instead?)
- Our habits (Are you walking the dog every day or just standing still flinging the ball every day? Are you setting time aside to plan your meals for the week every Sunday or are you making impulsive decisions every day based on a rumbling stomach instead?)