T Nation

Fasted Cardio Good Idea?


I've always heard that running in the morning on an empty stomach is the most effective. However, I'm afraid of muscle loss. My goal right now is to try to gain muscle while minimizing fat gain to a mininium. I was wondering if

1) Doing 2-3 miles of cardio in the morning will be ok for this goal.

2) Is it ok to do cardio in the morning everyday when trying to put on muscle?



Ok? Yes. Effective? No.

Do a quick search through the forum threads using the search function - there's been a lot of discussion about this recently, the threads should show up near the top of the search (if the engine is decent).



Consider doing HIIT/sprinting style workouts instead of long bouts of cardio.


Search the archives for "The Running Man", by Christian T. He describes an effective muscle-preserving, fat-loss cardio workout.

Doing cardio on an empty stomach is one of those controversial areas - I have books that say "it's great", and I read in many forums that it's not.

To me, it makes sense to provide fuel for all workouts so as to minimize the bodys natural catabolic response; let the "fat loss" occur during the post-workout recovery phase. I thus agree with the majority on here: don't do any training (cardio or strength) on an "empty" stomach.




Morning fasted is GREAT if you keep it low intensity. Not running but simply walking. It will aid in keeping fat off. Byut if you up the intensity like running you will melt the muslcle off.

LL has talked about this a lot. He calls it " Non Panting" fasted cardio.

Hope that helps.


I like short, high intensity fasted cardio immediately upon waking. 10 minutes of rope jumping or Tabata squats for 4 minutes.

I don't feel that the extra few minutes of being in the fasted state is going to have that much of a catabolic effect if you get a P+C meal in immediately after the cardio.

You could always take some bcaa's or regular amino acids before doing the cardio if you were real concerned about muscle loss.


Fasted cardio helped me lose the last 12 pounds of fat I had to lose to get to my goal. I swear by it.

However, it's supposed to be low intensity. You're just going for a few hundred calories of easy walking. Not HIIT.


I read somewhere (Chris's blog?) that there is a T-Nation roundtable article in the works on this very subject.


I still like the HIIT version, albeit very short durations of 5-10 minutes. I've seen it work wonders with several clients. I'll have them do another HIIT toward the end of the day too. All on non-weight training days, of course.