The Final Word on Fasted Cardio for Fat Loss – Pros, Cons, and What To Do

Ok, so we both know what you’re here for… You are desperately scouring the internet to see if waking up at the crack of dawn, before you eat ANYTHING, to do fasted cardio for fat loss is worth your time at all.

I swear to you, this topic is probably one of the most hotly debated subjects in the case of what, and how one should approach cardio training for fat loss.

Look, I’d be lying to you if I said that I hadn’t performed fasted cardio myself – or that I’m not doing it now in fact.

But my reasons for doing it are less about wanting to use it as a means to burn more fat… It so happens to be more convenient for me, and I feel better hitting up hard core training before having eaten anything shortly before.

But, there are people who swear by it – and folks who say that it’s useless. Therefore…

You are TOTALLY confused and don’t know what the hell to do – FOR YOU… 

So let’s go ahead and give you some clarity to figure it out.


Fasted Cardio and Efficacy – What the Actual SCIENCE Says…

If you’re a “fasted cardio for fat loss” type of fan, you’re really going to hate me.

Well, maybe not HATE (and hopefully not me, lol), but you’re going to dislike what I have to say next.

So in 2014, famed and respected industry researchers Brad Schoenfeld, Alan Aragon, and James Krieger…

Now hold up.. Waymint…

Let me stop right here for a moment to just let you know that these 3 men have literally written the BOOKS on all things science and training. Like, LITERALLY, their work appears in textbooks in colleges and universities, and in the pages of the study materials for top training certifications like NASM and NSCA!

So they are the real deal…

Well those 3 guys, and a team of 2 others, did a study to look at fasted cardio and whether doing it fed or fasted would bring about the most fat loss.

The researchers gathered a group of 20 women described as “healthy young female volunteers”, and split them into two groups. 10 of them did cardio fasted, performed in the morning, after not having eaten a single thing since their last meal. After they finished their cardio (1 hour of steady state), they were given a protein shake.

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The second group was given this same protein shake BEFORE doing their 1 hour of steady state cardio in the morning. Both groups were put on a regimented diet for weight loss, and monitored through self-reporting and a research assistant.

They all followed this program set up for 4 weeks, and the results were taken afterwards to see who was the winning team.

Well it turns out BOTH groups lost about the same amount of weight, and more importantly, amount of fat. The fasted group DID NOT lose any more weight nor fat than the fed state group.

So now keeping this in mind, let’s explore what that can mean for YOU…


Do Your Cardio Fasted if It’s More CONVENIENT for You

So here’s the thing…

Fat loss is governed by being in a caloric deficit. PERIOD. Regardless of how much you train, when you do your cardio, if you eat or not before training. The first course of action is that you simply must maintain a caloric deficit!

If that means that performing your cardio fasted makes you feel better, and seems to work well for you… GREAT! Then do it. At the end of the day, the more important thing about doing what works for you, makes you look forward to it, and thus can do it for the long term.


At the End of the Day – It’s About What You EAT

As I mentioned above, and what was shown in the study, the game of fat loss is all about your diet. I mean, YES training of course plays a major role. But as I know you well know, if your diet ain’t right, you ain’t seeing NO changes.

Point blank!

So you need to get, and STAY on your plan. You need to make sure you are eating in a caloric deficit. And that doesn’t mean starving yourself. Simply eating less than your body needs to maintain  your weight.

Confused about how to figure THAT out?

No problem! Click here to check out this other article I’d written about this VERY topic.

And if you want a little more info, I went a step further and did this step by step video that you can check out too.


Something to Consider – The Con of Fasted Cardio for Fat Loss

Now, if you’re the type who is really concerned about keeping muscle while you lose fat, you might want to reconsider  performing fasted cardio at all.

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It’s actually thought to be catabolic (meaning it breaks down muscle tissue). And thus, if you are doing this over long periods of time, you could well be setting yourself up for a diminishing returns type of situation.

More cardio, less muscle, slower metabolism, and you getting stuck on a nasty plateau – instead of that fit lean physique you want so badly.

One way you can avoid this is by having some BCAA powder for a boost of amino acids prior to training. This can offset the catabolic affect of fasted cardio greatly.

I even like to have a little in my sports drink (like Gatorade or Powerade), shake that up with some creatine and I’m good to go!

In this way, your body has some easily digestible and fast acting nutrients that can preserve muscle, and give you a little bit of an energy boost to train.

You know, if you are looking for some more great, super easy tips that you can apply to your training RIGHT NOW, then you need to get your hands on my FREE fat loss report – The Ultimate 4.

In this free report, I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite training and nutrition tactics that have not only transformed MY body…

But that of my clients as well – of any level, goal, and fitness background.

If you’re trying to simply learn ALL you can about what works, what doesn’t, and what simply can just work FOR YOU, then you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Click here to get your hands on my kick azz free report right here!

And while you’re at it, take a moment to tell me what YOU think about this topic, and what you like to do FOR YOU, in the comments below.




Schoenfeld, B., Aragon, A., Wilborn, C. D., Krieger, J. W., & Sonmez, G. T. (2014). Body composition changes associated with fasted versus non-fasted aerobic exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,11(1), 54. doi:10.1186/preaccept-1860458401143511

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