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Does Fasted Cardio Really Work?

Arnold

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Get Shredded!

Jim Stoppani explains high intensity cardio and why fasted cardio doesn’t really work​

Cardio is the bane of many people’s existence. Some love, many hate it – but unfortunately it’s an extremely important part of staying healthy. In the bodybuilding world, cardio is even more reviled as it can lead to burning off hard earned muscle if you go too hard with it. Beyond general health for the heart and lungs – many struggle with burning fat and cutting weight with cardio. In our latest GI Exclusive, Jim Stoppani breaks down in detail different cardio exercise methods and which ones are most effective at burning fat.

When it comes to cardio, there are many options and exercises that can be considered. Do you simply just run? Or do you try cycling, rowing, swimming, HIIT? The list goes on. We partnered with Barbend and turned to Jim Stoppani to discuss in detail the different methods of cardio and which ones can bring the best results when trying to cut fat. Most specifically, our conversation focuses on high interval cardio vs paced cardio and we discuss fasted cardio. Let’s jump into it.

What is the most effective way to lose weight with cardio?​

Jim Stoppani starts off by explaining the history of exercise science. Studying deeply into exercise didn’t really take off in earnest until the 1980s. During that early period, it was believed that there was a “fat burning zone” for cardiovascular exercise.

This was due to a study that showed high intensity cardio would burn carbs while slower even-paced cardio would burn fat over a longer session. The goal, of course, was to burn fat. So scientists recommended that longer even-paced cardio was best for losing weight.

Jim Stoppani explains that this was a misconception that was later revised. It is true that high intensity cardio burns carbs (or glucose) rather than fat. But this is not a bad thing. In fact, the more carbs and glucose you burn, the more fat burning your body will go through after you exercise throughout the rest of the day. Essentially, but depleting your glucose supply, your body then uses fat for energy throughout the rest of the day. It gives you a boost to your metabolism.

A great example of this was shown in a study Jim Stoppani mentions during our conversation. The study tested two groups of people. One group did 30 second sprints for 6-8 sets. The other group did 30 minutes of paced cardio instead. In the end, it turns out that the 30 second sprints (amounting to about 2 minutes of exercise) was equivalent in terms of fat loss to 30 minutes of running.

So what about fasted cardio? Should you run on an empty stomach for greater fat loss?​

Now that we know which kind of cardio works best for fat loss – what about the nutrition before you exercise? Many believe that doing cardio on an empty stomach, aka fasted cardio, helps to burn more fat. Jim Stoppani disagrees with this tactic. While fasted cardio seems to have some effect – it’s barely enough to be strategy that will transform your fat loss journey.

This goes back to what Jim Stoppani was explaining regarding high interval training. The most effective way to burn fat is to spend as much glucose as possible during the actual exercise. The fat burning happens later. Due to this – fasted cardio doesn’t really work. Fasted cardio will bring you right back to your body burning fat directly for energy as you will be low on glucose stores from fasting.

Since more significant fat loss happens after exercise if you do high intensity training – fasting really isn’t effective here. You won’t get the metabolic boost that helps burn fat throughout the day.

However, fasted cardio can be helpful and give a slight boost if you’re trying to get shredded as possible short term. What Jim Stoppani means by this is for, let’s say, bodybuilders looking to be dry and shredded on stage – fasted cardio can be great for giving you a fat loss bump right before competition.

If you are already low on fat percentage, focusing on fasted cardio can possibly provide a little boost of making your skin look even thinner and your muscles conditioned a bit more. You’ve already done the long term hard work of cutting fat for months – now in the final week you can trim a little off the top, so to speak, by focusing on burning fat directly during a cardio workout.

Wrap Up​

You can watch Jim Stoppani speak in detail regarding cardio including high intensity training vs paced running and his thoughts on fasted cardio by watching the latest GI Exclusive interview segment above. You can also see more of Jim Stoppani’s explainer videos by stopping by the Generation Iron Fitness Network every Monday for new episodes!

 

JJB1

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No offense meant to the OP but anyone who has trained most of their life and prepped for a dozen contests will tell you without a doubt that fasted cardio works beyond anything else for fat loss, assuming diet is precise, and especially if the fasted cardio is done with HGH and nootropics/stimulants. All of these “experts” arrogantly think they can post something and get followers/sales/whatever their true end game is to better their situation. And, it works on those without much experience or those who feel they need to turn to others for the answers. To those of us who have been around and tried it all, I’m straight up saying he’s full of shit!
 

HFO3

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100% YES.
 

Gatz

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It's a great and healthy way to start the day, everyday.
 

Clockwerk

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I've read conflicting articles about fasted cardio. You can read some of those articles at the Nation Library of Medicines website. I personally hate cardio with a passion. But, when I'm in the process of dieting down I utilize fasted cardio as tool to push me through. I think everyone is different and it may not be the answer for some, but you can't deny the results from the countless stage ready body builders that swear by it.
 

Bft84

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No fasted cardio is not better for fat loss


Shelby Starnes says fasted cardio isn’t better for fatloss

And here’s Layne Norton who has coached tons of people and is a bodybuilder himself

 

CoachCabo

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Shelby Starnes prefers ridiculous drugs to burn fat. Maybe he knows his shit but he should be called “Sepultura Starnes”.

I read the article. It doesn’t dispute fasted cardio being beneficial. In fact it almost seems to confirm this:

”However, fasted cardio can be helpful and give a slight boost if you’re trying to get shredded as possible short term. What Jim Stoppani means by this is for, let’s say, bodybuilders looking to be dry and shredded on stage – fasted cardio can be great for giving you a fat loss bump right before competition.”

If it works in this case, why not always?
The article fails to take a position on the best type and time for cardio for fat loss. The only intent seems to be disputing the usefulness of what the majority of bodybuilders already know.
 

Matt88

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I love fasted cardio. I feel like it really benefits me more than non fasted cardio. I don't have any fancy scientific explanation. Purely personal experience
 

FARMATON

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Short term effects, long term damage.* (*Which is sadly the standard for the industry of "coaching".)
Fasting - yes, fasted cardio, no.
Ask 10 people you'll get at least 5 diff answers. Research and decide whats best for you. :)
 

Bft84

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Shelby Starnes prefers ridiculous drugs to burn fat. Maybe he knows his shit but he should be called “Sepultura Starnes”.

I read the article. It doesn’t dispute fasted cardio being beneficial. In fact it almost seems to confirm this:

”However, fasted cardio can be helpful and give a slight boost if you’re trying to get shredded as possible short term. What Jim Stoppani means by this is for, let’s say, bodybuilders looking to be dry and shredded on stage – fasted cardio can be great for giving you a fat loss bump right before competition.”

If it works in this case, why not always?
The article fails to take a position on the best type and time for cardio for fat loss. The only intent seems to be disputing the usefulness of what the majority of bodybuilders already know.
That’s not always true with Shelby. I’ve known several women to work with him and none of them were on any amount of ridiculous drugs.
Have you known first hand anyone to work with Shelby or seen first hand his protocols?
It’s not that it doesn’t work but it doesn’t work any better than fed cardio. And there’s evidence that might now be as effective because you’ll have less energy so the cardio won’t burn as many calories.
 

Montego

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I personally haven't seen a drastic benefit in myself with fasted cardio as opposed to post training or before my last meal even during contest prep.

I think it comes down to what works best for the individual given their goal, how you want to feel throughout the day and how well you are recovering from training.

There is definitely something to be said about fasted cardio and your basal metabolic rate through the day though. I'm ravenous the entire day after I do cardio fasted in the morning but, I also have more energy at the start of the day since I've got moving around.

Post training is probably easier for the majority of people but, it CAN cut into recovery from training IF you're not taking it into account in your diet throughout the day.

Before the last meal.... The most shredded I've ever been was when I followed this idea but it was also my first show and I didn't have nearly the amount of tissue I do now. Doing it before the last meal was a bit of both combined. I would wake up starving and at times I wasn't recovering looking back, even though it was only low intensity.

Just like diet, the best type of cardio is the one you can stick too. I recommend my guys do cardio fasted in the morning because of what I mentioned about believing it increases calorie burn through the day but, as long as you do whatever cardio you choose and, you increase or decrease times /intensity depending on how you're responding, you'll get there.
 

CoachCabo

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That’s not always true with Shelby. I’ve known several women to work with him and none of them were on any amount of ridiculous drugs.
Have you known first hand anyone to work with Shelby or seen first hand his protocols?
It’s not that it doesn’t work but it doesn’t work any better than fed cardio. And there’s evidence that might now be as effective because you’ll have less energy so the cardio won’t burn as many calories.
“Not always true” means it sometimes is, no?
Yes to both. From women who used him but quit because of what they considered recklessness.

I think it wasn’t pointed out the strain on joints or in my case the inability to do things like HIIT. LISS as they call it now is my only option and even then, only recumbent bike for durations.
In prep I do both fasted in the morning AND post workout cardio.
 

Montego

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“Not always true” means it sometimes is, no?
Yes to both. From women who used him but quit because of what they considered recklessness.

I think it wasn’t pointed out the strain on joints or in my case the inability to do things like HIIT. LISS as they call it now is my only option and even then, only recumbent bike for durations.
In prep I do both fasted in the morning AND post workout cardio.
Too much cardio brah
 

Wiseguy

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Ive been doing fasted cardio for years and it 100% works for me and will continue doing so.
 
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