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Effects of Fasted Cardio on Muscle Wasting and Fat Loss


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Effects of Fasted Cardio on Muscle Wasting and Fat Loss

sean peterson

Health experts have continued to promote exercising as part of the healthy living. As a result, many people have began doing various regular exercises with fasted cardio being the most convenient and utilized form of exercise.

When I first heard about fasted cardio it seemed like a great idea to maximize the fat burning effect during my workouts. After all, in a fasted state your body would have no choice but to use fat for energy, right? It turns out our bodies are slightly more complicated than that. Your body sees the lack of food and increased exercise as a threat and in response, reduces your total energy expenditure.

Most people do the fasted cardio early in the morning or late in the evening. However, research has shown that the fasted cardio does not work effectively despite contributing to increased fat loss which is the goal of many individuals. Fasted cardio promotes muscle wasting which means it only works well in people who use the performance enhancing drugs. The performance enhancing drugs does well in protecting the muscle mass during the exercise whilst ensuring the fat is burnt down. However, most of the performance enhancing drugs are illegal among the professional athletes. 

Fasted cardio pushes the human body to certain limit of stress thus compelling the body to increase the levels of cortisol hormone. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the body during a stressful situation and strives to increase the glucose concentration in the blood through the gluconeogenesis process. Normal level of cortisol in the body contributes to breakdown of fat or fat loss due to its role in enhancing the liver to convert glycogen to glucose. However, high levels of prolonged cortisol lead to proteolysis (breakdown of proteins) and muscle wasting. That is initiated by activities that utilize a lot of energy and causes a lot of stress to the body. So the body reacts to such situation by trying to adjust and provide the body with needed energy for metabolism and maintenance. Routine fasted cardio stresses the body and hence causes the body to regularly have higher levels of cortisol which contributes to muscle wastage. Therefore, as much as fasted cardio helps in losing fat, it does promote wastage of muscle which is highly discouraged.  

It is always important to look at the research when considering whether or not to adopt a new fad workout or celebrity diet. It is important to remember we are all different and should do what works best for us while using the available information to formulate our own plans.