Fasted Cardio: Should You Try It for Weight Loss?

March 15, 2023

Fasted cardio has been a big fitness trend where you perform cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach. This practice has gained popularity in recent years as many people seek to maximize their weight loss efforts. But is fasted cardio really effective? In this,  we'll explore what fasted cardio is, whether it's good for losing weight, and the pros and cons of incorporating it into your fitness routine.

What is Fasted Cardio?

Fasted cardio is the practice of performing cardio exercise, such as running or cycling, after an overnight fast. This means that you haven't eaten anything for at least 8-12 hours before working out. The idea behind fasted cardio is that since you don't have any food in your system, your body will be forced to use its fat stores for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates.

Is Fasted Cardio Good for Losing Weight?

The idea that fasted cardio helps you burn more fat and lose weight faster is based on the theory that when you exercise on an empty stomach, your body is forced to use fat as its primary energy source. While this is true to some extent, the reality is that fasted cardio doesn't necessarily lead to greater weight loss than exercising after eating.

Studies have shown that while fasted cardio can lead to a greater percentage of fat burned during exercise, it doesn't necessarily translate into greater overall weight loss. This is because your body will eventually need to replenish the energy stores it used during exercise, and it will do so by increasing your appetite and causing you to eat more.

Additionally, fasted cardio can cause you to lose muscle mass, which can be counterproductive if you're trying to lose weight. When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body will break down both fat and muscle for energy. If you're not careful, this can lead to a loss of muscle mass, which can slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight in the long run.

Pros and Cons of Fasted Cardio

Like any fitness trend, fasted cardio has its pros and cons. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating fasted cardio into your fitness routine:


  • Fasted cardio can be a time-efficient way to fit exercise into your busy schedule, since you don't have to wait for your food to digest before you start working out.
  • Some people find that exercising on an empty stomach helps them feel more focused and energized during their workout.
  • Fasted cardio can lead to a greater percentage of fat burned during exercise, which can be beneficial for athletes who need to maintain a low body fat percentage.


  • Fasted cardio can cause muscle loss, which can be counterproductive if you're trying to build or maintain muscle mass.
  • Exercising on an empty stomach can lead to low blood sugar levels, which can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue.
  • Fasted cardio can cause you to overeat after your workout, which can cancel out any calorie deficit you created during exercise.

Fasted cardio can be an effective way to burn fat during exercise, but it's not necessarily the best way to lose weight in the long term. If you're looking to lose weight, it's important to focus on creating a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. Additionally, make sure to listen to your body and adjust your exercise routine as needed to avoid muscle loss or other negative side effects.

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