T Nation

Fasted Cardio, Intermittent Fasting and Workout Nutrition

#1

Hello,

i have heard Christian mention fasted cardio quite a few times lately. Its role to “teach the body to use fat for fuel” is its foremost advantage as far as i understand him.
On the other hand, avoidance of cortisol elevation and the use of insulin to trigger protein synthesis are a main topic of his latest articles.

What i dont really get is the intensity in which the cardio is still beneficial for fat loss.
Are we talking one hour walk or half an hour boxing? Probably its rather the walk, since the way i box, its mainly an anaerobic, heart bursting, cortisol explosion (and he mentioned high intensity was not that great for fat loss) . But would a 20min run at 160 bpm max still be ok?

I considered Intermittent Fasting, but since the early morning is the only time i can workout, it probably would not work (if i still want to have dinner with my family).

All things considered, would dinner at 8pm, an hours walk at 5am (or half hours run at 5.30) followed by workout carbs and a workout at 6am be a good compromise of “fasted cardio” and proper workout nutrition if the goal was fat loss?
Or is the cardio not fasted enough and do the carbs follow the “cardio” too closely to have a benefit?

#2

When will you eat and when will you fast ? ( time to time )

#3

This is real simple.
Do you frequently lift and carry around excess muscle?
If not then fasted cardio isn’t difficult to achieve but once you factor in lifting and excess muscle it’s for most a recipe to fail.
You will never be properly recovered then battle yourself to push through each type of workout while noticing the weight loss is feeble even though you’re deep into a caloric deficit.

IMHO the best option is to double or triple cardio sessions.
If you do 1 hour 3 times a week you do 2 to 3 1 hour sessions each day, 3 times a week. What seems to be the popular case is people lose a lot of weight, they hit the wall but their calories are still really low and their activity level is high so they start screwing with these various schemes marketed through books, videos and the internet.

If you’re down to an aesthetic 5, 8 or 12 pounds change absolutely nothing in your diet and eating patterns.
Increase the number of cardio sessions you do on cardio days and no, don’t try to increase the duration of the cardio sessions themselves.

I’ve been obese and lean many times in my life and it’s always the same nightmare towards the end. I’ve fasted to the point I was emaciated, the bones cut through my face but I still had stomach flab that clearly wasn’t a puddle of skin; it was fat.
At some point in all of the dieting and fasting you come to terms with it; you’ve damaged your body through diet and obesity and only the prehistoric genes of running like an animal through the jungles, deserts and forests will repair you.

There’s this point where you’re weighing everything you eat, setting a time for when to eat, setting a strict time for when you workout etc. etc. etc. but you’ve hit the wall and after having good to superb results, it all suddenly beings to fail.
Add more cardio sessions and change nothing else.
Your body will just fight you the more extreme you get with calories and activity designed in association with those calories. If on the other hand you’ve been running this way for 6 months, 12…4 years?
Your body will give you a catastrophic backlash to these changes to an already intense eating and activity level.

So again, add more cardio sessions but maintain the current duration you use for a cardio session.

#4

What if you have a job?

1 Like
#5

How much do you have to lose? Why chose to do fasted cardio? What are the other “leaning out” things you’re doing?

I could tell you what CT advised for me but I was already lean when starting, with an objective of losing only 10-15 pounds

#6

What if you have a brain?

#7

Define your cardio.
Running.
Rowing.
Cycling.
Walking.
Swimming.
Elliptical.
Stairs.

Eliminate something like an hour of television, video games etc.
Most people that just don’t have the time in truth waste an absurd amount of time on the computer, boob tube and video games but won’t admit it. I think it’s rare to be the person that works 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week that is also in the gym 3x a week on top of that.

Anyway sitting on a rowing machine for an hour twice a day isn’t a hard fit or grueling physical struggle; it is however boring week after week if it’s your only cardio.

#8

Agree.

Push. I honestly don’t know about this one way or the other.

Wholeheartedly disagree (at least for me).

No arguments here.

Not trying to be a jerk at all, but are you in your 20s by chance?

#9

I’m 41.

#10

Ok thanks. I guess we just don’t agree on the point of feasibility. Different strokes

#11

I’d still bet we’re on relative pages.
I can run for an hour straight @5mph without killing myself.
That 2-3 times a week isn’t difficult but 3x a week twice a day and I’d quit after a month, 2 tops, granted it would only take that long to put me into single digit body fat or extremely low double.

On a different token I have a magnetic rower that on 10 you burn approximately 0.3 calories per repetition. That 3x a week 2x a day for an hour isn’t straining it can just get boring. Even coupled with an 8 hour work day and routine strength training it’s not exerting.

Relative to all this yesterday I did an uphill farmer’s carry in 2 sessions.
A 50 degree inline for 100’ per lap @65lbs per hand x2, rested, 2x again, rested and x1.
90 minutes later I went back and repeated that only @40lbs per hand. Again if this is your cardio coupled with 8 hour workdays I wouldn’t expect anyone to last more than a 1-2 months before chronically feeling like garbage especially when the result is producing caloric deficits.

This is why I mentioned “what’s your cardio”.
Walking for an hour twice a day 3x a week coupled with an 8 hour workday is nothing unless you’re in your 60s.
Doing any of this while fasted, and I’ve done my share, is IMO unsustainable aside from dangerous. If it’s a 1 to 2 month crash course burn sure but a 6 month weight loss plan and then general weight maintenance?

Just my personal opinion but having been obese off and on a moderate and regulated caloric deficit without crash course tactics is the best way to go and IMO methods like fasted cardio are a crash course tactic much like these guys that do a 100% no food fast for 30 days and lose 70-100lbs.

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#12

Thank you all for replying.
This Post was about understanding what CT means by “training your body tu use fat for fuel” and the practical implementation of insulin and cortisol timing.

So far i figured out that the “fat for fuel” thing is about slowly raising intensity and duration on the cardio elements you use in your training. Other than that i assume its directed more to fat people than the lifter who only has a couple of kilos to loose.

When you consider this, the fasted cardio i mentioned is not supposed to be too intense but rather a means to increase your metabolism.

The main problem i wanted to adress is how to go about a smart way to loose a couple of kilos of fat and not about piling as much cardio on top of your day, until your kids forgot how you look and your wife divorces you. I cannot imagine how I (or anyone) would workout and do additional 3 hour of cardio per day.
I mean lets calculate… Wake up at 5am, get ready and walk the Dog (or jogging), start Workout at 6am, finish at 7am, shower, kiss the wife and leave at 7.30. Finish work and get back home at 18.00. Buy groceries and play with the children or cook and have a meal til 20.00. Try to get the Children to brush their Teeth and go to bed and its 21.00 to 21.30. Now do the dishes and walk the dog a final time, and try to get ready to be in bed by 22.00 or 22.30 so you still get 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep til 5.00…
More cardio is hardly possible for most people with families.
Last year i tried to do that (1-1.5 hours of cardio a day) and realized that it was not worth the time/effort i put in because fat loss just stops after a time. After my cut my metabolism had slowed down so much that i jojo’ed in a couple of weeks.
So i would take the advice to double or triple anyones cardio with a grain of salt.

So back to my fat loss strategies.
In my case it was around 5-8kg fat for a well defined Sixpack (i dont carry any worthwile fat on my limbs)
During the last Month i lost around 4kg Bodyweight. It was mostly Water at first because i started my diet being sick with the stomach flu and could not eat for a couple of days. Now that my glycogen stores have filled partly back up, my weight stayed low and i can see some fat reduction and faint lower ab separation.

I cut pre and postworkout carbs on most days (unless i feel depleted) and dropped calories for lunch and dinner for a total deficit of 500 kcal on weekdays. On weekends i have to compromise more so its around 200-300 deficit.
My normal scedule is 5-6 workouts per week with a couple minutes of low intensity (120-130 bpm) boxing when i get through my workout in under 45min. On two weeks it was just 3 workouts due to external circumstances. I hope i can get the frequency up again consistently.

#13

Noooooooo! Do you have any carbs in your diet? This is where they should be!
If you want to do fasted cardio in this case around 30 mins at around 130 bpm, jogging, fast walk, whatever…
The days when I can’t I just add 15-20 mins cardio at the end of a session. Just add cardio at the more convenient time.

#14

Yes i do. Aiming for around 90-100g. I get one third of that at breakfast. At the moment i have more control over dinner (anyone with a spouse thats not into fitness, or even pregnant, might understand) so i can easily get my workout nutrition in and still hit my macros.
Thanks for your reply, i was about to make the decision wether to get back to a scoop of maltodextrin in the morning and your reaction made the difference.
Not focusing on carbs around workouts was my biggest mistake during the last couple of years and i have to take care not to fall back to that habit.

#15

Yeah don’t worry I used to do the same , also being a carbphobic. But this time around getting my carbs only in the meals just before and after workout has made a big difference.