Fasted Cardio: What is it?

Don't skip breakfast in hopes of enhancing fat loss before your morning workout. Use these two pre-workout meal strategies to lose weight the right way!

When you're trying to lose weight, the idea of skipping breakfast before an early-morning workout might make sense at first. With no other energy source available, "training fasted" will make your body burn more fat, right? Yes, but it could also increase muscle loss and reduce overall performance, neither of which will help you lose weight in the long run.

Fortunately, there's another way. Instead of skipping breakfast and potentially causing muscle loss, you can eat in the morning and still lose weight! It all begins with doing one very important thing every morning: Eating protein before your workout.

Consume 20-30 grams of whey protein, chicken, lean meat, or deli meats, and your body will be ready to perform well and burn fat using either of the following two strategies.

Strategy 1: Learn How To Train "Low"

Training low refers to training with "low" levels of carbohydrates. When you consume carbs, your body breaks them down into sugars. These sugars either enter the bloodstream for immediate fuel (glucose) or are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen to use for later. When you train low, your body relies on the carbs you stored overnight instead of on carbs you eat in the morning.

In fact, your body uses a significant amount of the glycogen (stored carbs) in your liver to maintain energy levels during sleep. With glycogen already in short supply, your newly awaked body has to start looking elsewhere for energy.

You might think your body would start using the glycogen stored in your muscles for fuel. But, no, it burns fat instead, meaning that you will still have ample glycogen stored in your muscles for your morning training.[1] To explain why your body chooses fat over muscle glycogen, we need to get into just a bit of science.

Your body prefers stored fats over stored carbs mainly because of two "signaling" proteins called AMPK and MAPK. They send messages around your body to start activities on a cellular level. These proteins have a powerful, positive impact on several factors that regulate how your body uses fuel during training adaptations. In effect, these proteins rev up the machinery in the cells responsible for using fat as fuel. Over time, this can lead to more fat burning!

What Not To Do

Simple: Don't train fasted. Training while fasting was a staple in the bodybuilding realm for decades. But just because everyone was doing it—and, unfortunately, many still do—doesn't mean it's a good idea.

You can increase fat loss in the morning by carefully considering how you prepare for your pre-workout meal. With a breakfast high in protein, you can lower your carb intake or increase your fat intake to create the right conditions for achieving your goal, whether it's fat loss or muscle building.

It's important to note that you get the benefit of these diet choices only when you follow them consistently over a long period of time. Change will happen, but it won't happen overnight.