T Nation

Morning Cardio


I've heard conflicting opinions on this -- Is doing cardio first thing in the morning (before breakfast) a good way to burn fat, or is too much muscle lost in the process?

Currently I'm doing an hour of weights and half an hour of cardio (5 days a week), but I'd like to split it into a morning cardio session and an evening weights session.



See what works for you. Dr Lowery likes it,while Dave Barr doesn't. Never seen much of a difference either way. For myself I'm usually starving when I wake up so not eating something right away is not an option.


It depends on the person (I know, not the answer you were looking for right?). My advice is, if you're looing to get lean, try it but watch how much muscle mass you lose in the process (if you do lose any). There was a recent round table discussion on this.

They also discussed maybe taking some BCAAs before to preserve muscle.


Check out this article by Dr. Lowery:


He comes down on the side of morning cardio and gives some nice graphs as evidence (hey, you can't argue with graphs, can ya'?).


We should never be completely fasted. As soon as you're protein starved, you start breaking down muscle. Throw a catabolic activity like cardio on top of that and you're begging to waste away. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to prevent this muscle catabolism, because all we have to do is eat a little protein. When it comes to cardio, eating protein before will preserve muscle tissue without impacting fat loss. Metabolic Drive! is the perfect protein for this, because its slow entry into the blood limits the amount of amino acids that'll be used for energy.

Dave Barr. Like I said I don't think there is gonna be a huge difference in your results either way.


I think an important thing to consider in this debate is the intensity of cardio.

You can't just call it "cardio" and assume one answer will fit all activities.

I believe the idea is that low intensity cardio, which is predominantly fueled by fats, won't induce much, if any, muscle catabolism over a short period of time.

I'd go with the morning cardio just for the psychological boost of knowing that you are leaning out right then every day!


Morning cardio may be the greatest thing invented...next to peter pan reduced fat peanut butter...