this is the kind of response I was hoping for. I’m not looking for people to outright agree with me, more to flesh out the issue and provide some real world insight.
You mention that low intensity cardio, since it relies primarily on fat for fuel, should work independent of being in a fasted state. I’ve often wondered about this myself, yet the reality is it works well for me under those conditions.
Over the years I’ve gravitated towards a combined approach largely because it is very difficult to recover from excessive sprint sessions, assuming your weight training as well. If you were on higher calories that might offset the recovery issue, but the majority of people implementing them rarely are.
More to the point of the post, I’ve seen alot of people get extremely passionate about lauding the benefits of one system over the other - say the wrong thing in some circles is like picking a fight. I just don’t think such rapant dogmatism has its place in trying to achieve the body composition you’re after. But, proove me wrong, I’m prepared to listen.
At the end of the day, no matter if you are learning from the guru’s here, your gym teacher, or Richard Simmons, there is no absolute, except the you need a caloric deficit to trim fat and a surplus to gain muscle/weight (I am talking “natural” state here). Besides that, there are only rules of thumb and guidelines to finding what works best for each of us. I love how Lowery clarified that there is only evidence, not proof, when it comes to fitness.
You may have found what you do works great for you, but your original post was more of a summary in general, applicable to everyone, when it cannot be applied wholesale.
Back to specifics, I have also done fasted AM cardio vs. lifting plus cardio in the afternoon. I noted no real difference in results, except that it was easier to push myself on both the weights and the cardio later in the day as I had plenty of energy stores to deplete and little chance of going hypoglycemic (which I have to be careful of).
Those of us who are predisposed to hypoglycemia can induce it (sometimes severely) doing cardio/lifting on an empty stomach and/or fasted. Hypoglycemics tend to have an over-reaction of cortisol (due to stress or hunger), so we can get severely catabolic quickly and do more harm than good.
Therefore, I can only tolerate about 30 minutes of cardio or even intense lifting on an empty stomach/fasted state. I’m more recently finding that if I just reduce the carbs in my peri-workout (pre and post) shakes, still using them religiously, and cut cals through out the rest of the day, I’m able to stay more energized for my workout. This allows me to look more forward to the workout, burn more cals because I feel good, push myself in strength movements, and protect my LBM. If I can achieve a 500-800 cal deficit/day by doing things this way, it will lead to the same bodyfat losses as if I had done this fasted.
Having said all that, I lift intensly 3/week (EDT kicks ass!!), I do incline walking fasted 2/week, and I throw in another cardio session just randomly (i.g. splitting wood). Some days I do a fasted and an afternoon cardio session, but always low intensity. I too used to work in more HIIT but found I just had no recovery ability to hit the weights with and soon burned out.
So, that’s my situation, since you wanted a more personal take on the subject.
Client-wise, as long as they lift at least twice per week and do cardio 3-4 days per week, it doesn’t matter when they do it, they always improve their body comp.