Fasted cardio sounds really interesting and it can instantly set your hopes high for good weight loss. And why not, the feeling of doing cardio during the fasting state can be count for losing fat fast. So how much the idea of doing fasted cardio for weight loss is true scientifically? Can the fat burn be really enhanced simply by working out in a fasted state? Is fasted cardio is really what you looking for? If you are seriously concerned for your weight loss, you really cannot afford to miss this article.

fasted cardio

Wish to lose pounds then get set to understand everything you need to know on fasted cardio. The fasted cardio is the most used technique among the fitness community over the years to lose the stubborn fat. This technique has been employed by various athletes including the endurance athletes and even the beginners to shed pounds.

What is Fasted Cardio?

The fasted cardio as the name suggests is doing cardio in a fasted state. The fasted cardio is often misunderstood as working out on an empty stomach. Cardio on an empty stomach is a lot different from doing fasted cardio. Having an empty stomach doesn’t necessarily means you are in a state of fasting. Let us elaborate this to make you understand better.

what is fasted cardio

When you eat or when you supply your body with the food, it is called as the feeding state. During the feeding state, the body breaks down the food into smaller molecular units namely glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. These smaller molecules get absorbed by the small intestine. And these get ready to be transported by the insulin to different cells for different purpose.  The insulin levels are on peak during the feeding state.  The feeding state remains for 3-4 hours depending upon what you ate and how much you have ate.

After 8-10 hours, your body enters into a state where it is not processing the meal or the post absorptive state. This post absorptive stage is often referred to as fasted state in general. During this time, your insulin levels are at baseline. And this is the time; your body burns fat to produce the fuel it requires for its functions.  Sounds simple, right?

Many people jumped to fasted cardio instantly after reading this information. Well it is not that simple. A good weight loss program requires a lot more planning on both the foods to lose weight and on the exercises to lose weight.  You should also know what type of fasted cardio needs to be done to lose weight effectively? Be patient, we are covering all the details in this article.

Is Fasted Cardio a myth or really good to lose weight?

Fasted cardio can become a great helping hand if you master this weight loss technique correctly. You can easily get lean and ripped by incorporating fasted cardio in your schedule. There is a thing you need to understand here. Fasted cardio has been found very effective in targeting the problematic areas where you actually struggle to lose fat.




You must be very lean and ripped but have you ever noticed your areas like your lower abs, lower back and especially thighs? These are the areas generally every one of us struggle to lose fat. In case if you are struggling on losing fat from thighs. You can check our detailed guide on the exercises to lose thigh fat fast. Coming back to the topic, fasted cardio can help you lose 20% more fat compared to that on the feed cardio. These results have been concluded from a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition in the year 2013.

Should you do fasted cardio?

The question, whether should you indulge in fasted cardio or not? Can fasted cardio really help you lose fat? Let us break this ice for you. When you workout in a glycogen depleted state or in a fasted state, fat oxidation and lipolysis rate increases. This increment helps your body to both transport and burn fat cells to produce energy. This way you burn more amount of fat during fasted workouts.

should you do fasted cardio

A study also suggests that fasting can increase blood flow in your abdominal region by 50% which further increase the abdominal lipolysis. As you know, the problem with your stubborn fat is that there is reduced blood flow in that specific region. Because of which you are unable to burn fat in that area. You can now clearly estimate how fasting helps in oxidizing more fat.

Also read: The convenient way of fasting without changing much in your lifestyle

And on the top of it, working out in a fasted state can simply be count for icing on the cake. Knowing this, you can simply understand why fasted cardio is so much beneficial to target the stubborn fat. However, there is more to understand on whether should you do fasted cardio or not?

Fasted Cardio-The downside of working out in a fasted state

You would not like the idea of burning fat on the cost of losing muscles. Do you? Well this is one of the major downside of doing fasted cardio. Doing morning cardio on an empty stomach increase the chances of degradation of muscle tissues. When you wake up in the morning, your body turns to catabolic metabolism. You have high levels of cortisol hormone. And coupling it with training even worsens your situation to a large extent. Furthermore, it takes a lot more time to recover after such fasted workouts. So should you anyway do the fasted cardio if you are going to lose muscle?

The answer to this is both yes and no. If your only goal is getting more muscles, you should definitely stay away from fasted cardio. But, if you are looking for a pronounced fat loss in the problematic areas, it can really offer you an extra edge. We have earlier mentioned that you are not going to be benefited by just doing fasted cardio. A fasted cardio coupled with the right workout and good post workout nutrition is the only bet to get a ripped and a lean physique.

Read: What to eat after a workout? Post workout nutrition explained



The dilemma on Fasted Cardio

There are studies that indicate working out in fasted state burns similar amount of fat as you may burn by doing in a fed state. You definitely burn large amount of fat during a fasted cardio. But, the amount of fat burned in both state gets even out after 12 hours of training.  The calories burn after eating a pre workout meal is high during the post recovery period. And the calories burnt during a fasted workout are high in the workout period.

After reading this, you can really bobble your head. What is the use of working out in a fasted state, if the amount of fat burn is same in both the cases? Is there any need to do cardio with less energy and less fuel? Obviously, if you are not eating before a workout, there will be lack of fuel. And you will have a lower athletic performance. So should you do exercise on an empty stomach?

Let us break this dilemma on doing fasted workout. The fasted workout doesn’t aim for how much fat you burn? But it aims on targeting the fat loss from most problematic areas including your lower back, hips, thighs and abs. The most stubborn fat that you struggle to lose can be dealt effectively by doing fasted cardio.

 How to get more out of fasted cardio?

The fasted cardio is a great way to target the stubborn fat. But, you would also not like to lose a lot of muscle during the process. You will need a sweet spot where you can do fasted cardio without losing muscle. However, it is not possible that you retain all your muscles during the fasted cardio. But definitely, there are ways you can retain maximum muscles if you go by below mentioned tips.

What type of workout to do in a fasted cardio?

The steady state workout or a long duration workout has a bad reputation in preserving muscles. The long duration workouts lead to more muscle breakdown. Long workouts can impair both your strength and muscle gains, as suggested by the American College of Sports Medicine. So should you switch to short duration workout? No, it will not help you burn the desired amount of fat. The recommended workout during fasted cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

hiit on fasted cardio

The HIIT provides you with a sweet spot of high intensity training coupled with short interval of rest. This type of training is highly recommended to churn out maximum fat burning results during the fasted cardio. There are numerous studies on the positive effects of HIIT during fasting. A one such study indicates that HIIT is very effective in targeting abdominal body fat during intermittent fasting.

Well, if you go by the major concern with fasted cardio, you wish to burn more fat while retaining maximum muscles. So, how can HIIT workout help you preserve more muscle than that with traditional workouts? As we have said, long cardio workouts are not suitable for burning fat and preserving muscle mass. The HIIT workouts are for short intervals and with maximum intensity. These workouts are found effective in burning most fat and retaining the lean muscle mass at same time.

How to plan your HIIT Workout in fasted cardio?

You are suggested to include resistance training with HIIT workouts. It will help you build strength and preserve muscle mass while losing fat. The fasted cardio should be done moderately in your workout regime and no more than 30 minutes per session. And you are not suggested to perform fasted cardio on daily basis.




If you are in a plan to get lean and ripped, you can include fasted cardio on alternate days. You can also incorporate fasted cardio once in a week if you are planning to get bulk. It can really help you achieve lower body fat percentage that you always desire.

Do you need Supplements for Fasted Cardio?

A HIIT workout combined with right supplements can get you an effective fat loss. If you have gone through the above article, you have noticed the negatives in the fasted cardio. These negatives can be easily altered by combining the right supplements with your workout. However, these supplements will not do any fat loss for you but will support your fat loss without losing muscle.

Fasted Cardio with Whey Protein


Supplementing with whey protein on a fasted cardio can serve you many added advantages. You are required to eat good amount of protein if you are on a cutting phase. This requirement of high amount of protein can be met by adding a whey protein to your diet. Moreover, if you drink a whey protein shake after your cardio workout, it helps you to retain maximum amount of muscle.

Read: What to look for in a whey protein before buying one today?

Fasted Cardio with BCAA


BCAA is an ardent necessity if you are working out in a fasted state. The branch chain amino acids or BCAA provides your body with the amino it needed for protein synthesis. The protein synthesis helps in preserving your muscle mass and helps in repairing them. It is recommended that you include bcaa before workout to help prevent major muscle loss.

Fasted Cardio with HMB


HMB or β-Hydroxy β-methylbutyric acid can help you preserve your muscle mass during fasted cardio. The HMB is a powerful supplement and should be taken prior workout. Including this before your fasted workouts can help you prevent muscle breakdown.

Fasted Cardio with Caffeine


Including caffeine before your fasted workout can help you boost the catecholamines levels in your body. The catecholamines stimulate fat burning enzymes in your body. Further, these fat burning enzymes help in burning more fatty acids by making them readily available during a workout. Moreover, you don’t feel lethargic or on less fuel when working out on an empty stomach.

 Fasted Cardio with Yohimbe


Yohimbe during a fasted workout helps you get lean and promotes fat loss in stubborn areas. It makes the body utilise the available fat stores by blocking the alpha receptor activity in the fat cells. You can include yohimbe with caffeine for an extra punch and making your body a fat burning machine. However, you can also consider adding a fat burner that has both caffeine and yohimbe for more convenience.

The bottom line on doing fasted cardio

If you wish to target the fat stores in the stubborn areas of your body, there is no best option from doing fasted cardio. However, working out in a fasted state has a major downside on losing muscle mass. But it can be dealt by employing the right workout and the necessary supplements to support your goal.

The fasted cardio has been shown effective in the cases where the individual has already low fat percentages and looking to target only stubborn areas. You can consider fasted cardio if you have your fat levels below 10% body fat for male and below 20%, if you are a female.


Author: Mannu Jain

Mannu Jain is an Entrepreneur by choice who has started Supplements Town in the year 2013. He has spent his precious years in the health and Fitness Industry which have incorporated him with lots of information and knowledge from the industry leaders and the consumers. Keeping up his former interest of blogging, he has put forward this health and fitness website to share his learning with the world to keep them both healthy and fit.