Morning Fasted Cardio: Is it for you?


Starting your day with a cardio workout is something fitness experts have promoted for a long time. So, why do we want to be doing cardio in the morning?

The basic idea is that your body has three sources of energy; carbohydrates, protein (muscle) and fat. Usually when you do cardio, your body will use a combination of these, depending on your diet, intensity, duration, heart rate and other factors. Ideally, we want to be losing as much fat as possible while minimizing muscle loss. However, during traditional cardio, fat is not always burned efficiently, as glucose or carbohydrates are generally the preferred fuel source of the body.

Now, here is where morning fasted cardio comes in. When we wake up, our body’s carbohydrate reserves (in the form of glycogen) are depleted. So if we were to do some fasted morning cardio, we would be burning mainly fat! Further, in the morning, levels of the hormone cortisol are high, and insulin levels are low, further promoting the body to utilize fat reserves. 

There are a host of other benefits of morning fasted cardio as well, including:

  • Studies have shown that this type of exercise can target stubborn fat, including the hips and thighs for women, as well as abs and lower back for men.
  • Starting your day out with a cardio session will provide you with endorphins and a feeling of accomplishment for the rest of the day!
  • This type of exercise has also been shown to continue to burn fat throughout the day, not just during the exercise. 

Now that you know why we do it, here is how to do it:

  1. Perform either interval or steady state training for no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. Eat a good breakfast with plenty of protein to re-energize you and ensure you don’t lose that muscle you’ve been working on with PumpUp!

It should be noted that within the fitness world, fasted cardio is a controversial topic because it may promote the breakdown of muscle. This is why we recommend keeping sessions relatively short (ie. no more than 30 minutes) and supplementing it with some protein!

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About the author:

Michael is a fitness enthusiast who works daily to achieve his fitness and athletic goals. He works as a personal trainer at Golden Glide Fitness, and has his honors bachelors degree in Medical Sciences. He works constantly to build his expertise in both nutrition and training.