Fasted cardio vs Fed cardio: is there really a difference?

Fasted cardio vs Fed cardio: is there really a difference? words Al Woods

Everyone who works out has come across these terms. While which one is better is still being debated, in this article, we will explore whether these two are actually as different as we think they are, or not.

Fasted Cardio

This type of workout is common among those who want to lose body fat. This is done by working out immediately after waking up on an empty stomach. Fasted cardio leads to the burning of body fat. The science behind the process is that when your stomach is empty, it is easier to trigger hormones in your body that lead to the breakdown of body fat and thus help one to lose weight. Under normal circumstances, i.e. when we eat before working out, our body releases insulin. This hormone is involved in the absorption of glucose, which is a significant component of our food. Exercising on a full stomach can reduce the effect of insulin on our body, thus making it difficult to lose body fat.

However, there are two problems with fasted cardio. The first one is that it results in a higher nitrogen loss as compared to fed cardio. The second problem with fasted cardio is that it reduces the amount of excess post-exercise consumption of oxygen. In easier words, excess post-exercise consumption or EPOC is the number of calories burnt after a workout. If this is reduced, the number of calories burnt post workout is also reduced.

Some benefits of fasted cardio are as follows:

•    When you work out on an empty stomach, the glycogen in your body depletes quickly. This helps in mobilizing more fat, thus resulting in fat loss.

•    Eating before working out means more insulin in our blood. As insulin reduces the amount of fat mobilization, the amount of fat burnt is also decreased to an extent.

•    Not eating before working out means there are fewer carbohydrates in your body. As the amount of glucose is inversely proportional to the amount of fat mobilized by the body, it is easier to burn fat on an empty stomach.

•    Not eating before working out also means not having to burn out what you ate before the workout.

Fed Cardio

All those who want intense training cannot imagine working out on an empty stomach. Eating before working out not only gives you energy for starting your session but also increases both the time and the intensity of your workout. Those who try fasted cardio often hit the wall pretty soon as compared to the ones who have a meal before they work out. The science behind this is that to exercise with increased intensity, our body requires a source of energy which is glycogen. When we eat right before a workout, the body gets that energy, and this results in a longer and more intense workout.

If however, one does not eat before working out, the energy resources get depleted quickly, thereby reducing the length of the workout. So for all those who intend to train with increased intensity, fasted cardio is not an option.

Some benefits of fed cardio are as follows:

•    The first benefit of fed cardio is that it can be done at any time of the day. While fasted cardio puts the restriction of working out in the morning, fed cardio exempts you from such restrictions. This means it is more convenient as it can be done whenever one finds the time.

•    When you work out after a meal, your body will have more glycogen and energy. This means that you will have more stamina to perform the workout as opposed to fasted cardio. This also means if the amount of calories consumed remains the same in both cases, you can actually burn more calories by working out more with the increased amount of energy you get during fed cardio.

•    Studies have revealed that individuals who perform fed cardio preserve muscle, which in turn leads to more calories burnt as compared to fasted cardio, which may result in muscle loss.

•    The most significant benefit of fed cardio is that it is incredibly flexible. Since it frees you from the need of having an empty stomach to workout, you can easily fit it in your schedule. This means fewer reasons to avoid cardio!

What is the difference and which one should you opt for?

Both types of cardio are different in terms of how they work. Experts at Click Pharmacy believe that there is not much difference between the two when it comes to weight loss. Your desired results are usually dependent on how well you manage the number of calories you burn, so whether you do it with fasted cardio or fed cardio, it really does not matter.

It also depends on which one suits your body type better. For example, bodybuilders usually prefer fasted cardio as opposed to fed cardio because it helps them achieve the desired results faster, while many other people prefer fed cardio.

Moreover, it also depends on which one suits your lifestyle. This is perhaps the most important one! If waking up early in the morning motivates you and sits well with your lifestyle then Fasted cardio is for you. On the other hand, if eating before working out gives you more energy and motivation for the workout, then go for Fed Cardio. Some people find it easier to work out in the morning and get done with it, while others prefer doing it whenever they find the time. The good news is that there is not much difference between the two in terms of weight loss!

In the end, it comes down to how efficient is your workout session, and the choice between the two is only dictated by how well your body responds to either of the two. So, never go for what may be working out for the leanest guy at your gym; instead, try what works best for you before opting for either of the two.


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