Fasted Cardio Research and Bodyweight Cardio Workout

Today we’re going to cover one of the biggest myths in fitness. The one that says:

You should do cardio on an empty stomach to burn more fat.

I bet you know where this is going…after all, I just called it a myth.

Well, first we have to go all the way over to Italy, to hear from researchers who had a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition Exercise and Metabolism (21:48-54, 2011).

The Italian researchers wanted to see what would happen when eight healthy young men did the following workouts:

Workout A: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning without eating

Workout B: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning AFTER a small meal

24-hours after exercise, the results found that eating before cardio increased both calorie burning AND fat burning.

That’s right, eating before the workout increased fat burning in the 24-hours after exercise.

The scientists concluded that “fasting before exercise does not enhance lipid utilization; rather, physical activity after a light meal is advisable.”

The truth about fasted cardio is that it is NOT a magical way to boost fat burning.

But the REAL TRUTH about cardio in general is this:

You’re not going to get the best results from slow cardio, fasted or fed. We’ve covered that dozens of times in our TT newsletters here, and you already know to skip it and use interval training or bodyweight exercises instead.

For example, you could try this, the infamous 5 rounds of 5 minutes from the TT Bodyweight Cardio 3 program.

Day 3 – Workout B
• Start with the general bodyweight warm-up circuit
• Do each exercise for 1 minute and then move to the next exercise without rest.
• Rest 1 minute at the end of each round before moving to the next round.

Round #1
• Jumping Jacks
• Bodyweight Squats
• T-Pushups (alternate sides)
• Repeated Vertical Jumps
• Prisoner Lunges

Round #2
• Pushup
• Prisoner Squat
• Squat Thrust
• Duck Under
• Burpee

Round #3
• Seal Jump
• Spiderman Climb
• Get Up
• Side-Step
• Run in Place

Round #4
• Split Shuffle
• Side to Side Jump
• Side Plank (30 seconds per side)
• Total Body Extension
• Run in Place

Round #5
• Seal Jump
• Close-Grip Pushup
• Lateral Lunge
• Mountain Climber
• Side-Step

Get the complete exercise photos and descriptions, along with the rest of the Bodyweight Programs on sale this week only at this special bodyweight workout website.

Burn fat WITHOUT slow boring fasted cardio,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS – Just say no to slow boring cardio on an empty stomach.

  • Brad

    Hi Craig,

    Just thought I would check if you had read the book “Ready, Set, Go” by Phil Campbell. He talks about how you can also maximise growth hormone and weight loss after intense workouts by limiting your intake of fructose/glucose and not spiking insulin.

    A lot of people promote the post workout recovery formula of carbs/protein in a 4/1 ratio and this is beneficial if your main focus is recovery to be able to train at high intensity the next day because it will help to spike your insulin and drive glucose and protein into your muscle cells, but if your focus is fat loss, then avoiding this insulin spike may actually help to increase levels of growth hormone which would be more beneficial for weight loss.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts especially as most of your clients would be more concerned with weight loss rather than elite level athletes who don’t need to lose weight but are more interested in recovery.



    • Search for the interviews I’ve done on this blog with Berardi, Isabel, and Brad Pilon. They all agree with me that people don’t need to consume sugar after training if fat loss is the goal.

      But its not about the growth hormone…that’s minutiae. It’s simply about not consuming added sugar.