Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days as more and more celebrities have sworn by this diet. It also helps that some research has already established its health benefits and its positive effect on weight management. However, diet alone is not the secret to fitness. It should always be coupled with regular exercise.
Interestingly, some think that fasting before a workout is a good way to easily shed pounds. But does exercising on an empty stomach really benefit the body?
Mindbodygreen recently went out of its way to find the answer to the question. And after speaking with experts in sports dietetics and exercise physiology, it has found out that this setup is not actually that beneficial.
Per the experts, fasted cardio or exercising on an empty stomach could really burn a lot of calories. However, since one would feel the urge to eat a meal after an intense exercise, that person could end up eating calorie-loaded meals.
For instance, one person may burn up to 300 calories of fat when exercising in a fasted state. But when that person comes home and eat an 800-calorie meal, he or she would defeat the purpose of doing fasted cardio to lose weight.
“Burning fat does not equate to losing body fat,” Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, author of “The Sports Nutrition Guidebook,” said. She added that while many people believe that working out while fasting could help decrease body fat efficiently, that is actually not the case in most cases.
Nevertheless, exercise physiologist John Ivy, PhD, said that there is indeed an advantage to doing fasted cardio and it has something to do with the hormonal changes that happen during the early hours of the day.
The low insulin levels and elevated testosterone levels during the early hours could help burn solid fat. Clark also pointed out that this is why athletes do fasted cardio a few times in a week.
The experts noted that fasted cardio can be effective for those who really want to burn fat and lose weight. But it won’t be more effective than exercising after being fed. Both ways may lead to the same amount of weight loss. However, the latter is still more recommended by experts since fasting on an empty stomach could lead to concentration problems because the brain is deprived of energy. Concentration problems could then lead to accidents and injuries.