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Cardio on an Almost Empty Stomach

Don’t know if my favorite Michiganian poster Steve McGregor is out there. It’d be great to get his feedback, but all are free to comment… I’m going into a seven week cutting program, having gained over thirty pounds in the last nine months, thanks to Nandrosol and Massive Eating. I have been doing morning cardio on an empty stomach, then taking a post-workout drink immediately. Question: if, before the cardio, I take forty grams of protein, with very few carbs, how much have I mitigated the fat burning benefits of cardio on an “empty stomach”? Is this a valid strategy to help retain muscle? I’m 44, a little over six feet, was 212 at approx. 13% BF, now 204, with most basic lifts holding steady or improving. Currently on Androsol. Many thanks.

i wouldn’t think that taking in protein prior to your cardio will hinder your fat burning capacity at all. in fact it might help you to more easily release the glucagon and prevent muscle wasting as you mentioned. i never do any workout on a completely empty stomach. just be careful not to eat so much as to make your stomach upset. cardio can disrupt the digestion process, so you will have to fine tune your meal timing and quantity to suit your individual needs. hope this helps. kevo

The “fat-burning” benefits of doing cardio on an empty stomach is highly exagerated, that is, if your protein shake doesn’t turn into a peanut butter smoothie. The main reason for this “empty stomach” approach has to do with the negative effects fat and carbohydrate intake can have on the hormones that control fat storage and utilization (increase in insulin and somatostatin). A protein-only drink before morning cardio should help magnify the “fat-burning” effects of cardio. (increase in norepinephrine and glucogon) What I think would work best would be to slam down 30-40 grams of pure hydrolyzed casein 15-30 min before your cardio session. Why hydrolyzed casein instead of hydro whey you ask…, because hydro casein was used in the study where after 12 weeks, lean mass gains were doubled and fat loss increased 50% versus the hydrolyzed whey group, and casein in another study was found to effectively inhibit protein breakdown. This should really minimize the catabolic effect of your cardio session

  1. Boirie Y, et al. “Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1997 Dec 23;94(26):14930-5.

  2. Demling RH, DeSanti L. “Effect of hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers.” Ann Nutr Metab 2000;44(1):21-9

Guys, I appreciate this feedback.

Venom, is there a pure hydrolyzed casein product on the market that you’d recommend? I nearly live on MRP’s, but as you know, they’re mostly a casein/whey blend. And those honking, bottomless tubs o’ whey are so cheap, I find myself buying more whey than I’d like. Thanks.

So what you are saying is that if a person normally does cardio in the morning on a truly empty stomach, that they could burn more fat with less muscle loss if they ingested some protein with no carbs? What about just some glutamine or BCAAS?

i am on a diet right now, and am contemplating just that, glutacene clone right before morning cardio on an empty stomach.

alpha male - i am not sure if the glutamine or bcaas will trigger a glucagon release or not thereby increasing fat mobilization, but it could help to prevent muscle wasting. i remember reading somewhere that in times of calorie restriction glutamine can be used as a fuel source. if you supplement with glutamine your body might not have to go to the muscle to get it. hence the reason why glutamine is often touted as a really good anti-catabolic. i don’t know about the glutacene. what you want to be is catabolic and NOT anabolic during cardio. anything you can do to get the glucagon to come out and play will help the fat loss. don’t really be so worried about the muscle wasting though it’s not as easy to catabolize your muscle with cardio as it is often made out to be. kevo

You can get the hydrolyzed casein from the protein factory. Just make sure it is hydrolyzed, so it can be quickly assimilated. Beware of the taste though, it’s horrible. (Just like any pure hydrolyzed Protein). I would say you try this for 2 to 3 weeks and then, if you want, add in the L-glutamine (or Glutamine peptides), and then measure your results. This way you can see if there is any benefit to spending your money on the glutamine, or putting it towards a pleasant tasting post-workout drink like Surge.