T Nation

Why Do Cardio in the Morning While Cutting?


In some way, it does makes sense that doing cardio in the morning while the glucose levels are very low and you've been fasting for several hours, would go directly into the fat stores and burn the fat.
But in the long run... does it matter? Isn't the total calories burned in the session that matters? Calories in calories out rule?


You may be right. If someone didn't want to get up earlier to do cardio maybe they could do it at night or in the afternoon but just do 5 minutes more.

I think if someone were to attempt to reach their peak of physical perfection and they didn't meet it in a certain amount of time...I don't think the time they did their cardio would matter too much.

I'll mention that I do exercise in the morning.


I was just going to post a fasted cardio question but I'll just ask here and hope it's not a total hijack.

I'll wake up and have 2 or 3 cups of coffee and then jog for a mile and then do sprints. I know the high intensity work comes with a chance of some muscle breakdown. I have 2 questions - what should I consume after these sessions - currently a scoop and 1/2 of low carb Metabolic Drive - and is the 1/2 - 3/4 cup of fat free milk about 6 grams protein enough prior to prevent muscle breakdown. And yes I'm aware that it's not technically "fasted" cardio if I'm consuming something prior. I just don't do well waking up and starting to exercise right away. I need some time to wake up.


I think concerns about cardio eating up muscle are highly over stated.


That's what I've always thought.

About the post workout feeding - I'd actually be ok waiting a few hours for lunch to eat so in terms of fat loss should I just skip the post workout shake?


BCAAs + Fasted cardio ftw


I definitely wouldnt recommend doing HIIT while fasted in the morning..low intensity cardio (130bpm or less) is probably ideal for cutting the most amount of fat, while saving the most amount of muscle..I would say take a fat burner prior or just drink black coffee (my preferred method) and sip BCAA's during..


I think they are GREATLY overstated.


But why?

Isn't it all about being in a calorie deficit?
Isn't it the TOTAL AMOUNT OF BURNED CALORIES that matters?


I'm sorry but I'm wondering if you're supporting me or if I said something wrong.


OP - In the end it mostly does seem to come down to calories in v calories out to a great extent. Things like fasted cardio are more like minor tweaks to maximize the benefits of your efforts, but are not the main thing IMO. If you like training in the am (I really do myself), then you will very likely get an added fat loss effect if you do it fasted, with 6-10g BCAA prior. If you don't like training in the am, it's not really a magic bullet or anything IMO, so don't worry about it. Maybe just try it for a month and see what you think.

I really liked weighted carries (i.e weight vest, heavy pack - around 40lbs) and/or swimming for this, but that's just me. Sprints were OK for me too, a couple of times/week, but I found I could do the lower intensity stuff pretty much daily without affecting my recovery, sprints not so much. The major benefit for me was the ability to increase my total volume significantly by doing am/pm sessions.


Cornholio, the calories burned are coming from two completely different sources though..If you are doing it fasted in the morning right when you wake up those calories that are being burned are coming from ones bodyfat, but if you eat all day then do cardio at night those calories that are getting burned are just coming from that bowl of oats or whatever you recently ate...


Calories in < calories out will, physiologically, undisputably, result in 'WEIGHT' loss, not neccassarily fat loss. To use an extreme example, if you where, hypothetically, someone who required 2500 calories for exact maintainance, 0 weight change, if you where to do intense heavy lifting when you woke up, fasted, then just before bed, eat 2400 calories, well 2400<2500, you think you are going to loose fat? fasted cardio is a good way of ensuring that your 'weight' loss is coming in the form of fat loss, because when insulin level are lowest, your body is better suited to use fat as energy. What people also have to realise is, it isnt a 24 hour hour nominal process, while you might use an average of say 3000 calories a 'day' you arent using them at a constant rate, if you are sedentary for a 12 hour period, and consume most of your daily calories, you are eating more calories per hour than you are using. and your body can only store so much before it puts it away as fat. its a continuous process.


Calories in < calories out will, physiologically, undisputably, result in 'WEIGHT' loss, not neccassarily fat loss.quote]

This answers your question. /end thread.


There has long been a debate about whether it really matters what time of day one should perform cardio in order to burn fat and not muscle. Professional trainers switch beliefs every other week, so there is no real concrete consensus in the fitness community as to when one should perform cardio for optimal fat loss.

I would say that if you are only concerned with losing weight (and not losing small amounts of muscles tissue) then yes the best option is to run in the morning because your body does not have any nutrients to burn and must either pull from your stored fat or muscle tissue. If you eat and then run, the body will burn the calories that have just been put in your system and not the stored fat.



It's yes and no.

You want to maintain/protect muscle while in a catabolic state. So you take BCAAs during these times to spare your muscles from breaking down while simultaneously using fat for energy.
Like someone else said the calories in-calories is true for weight loss, but throughout the day your body is in different states hormonally, and it's best to take advantage of this natural(?) rhythm for optimal(?) body composition, health, performance, and progress.


I get it.
So if I decide doing cardio in the morning, how much BCAA should I be taking? And is there any other supplies worth taking before the session?


When I go for ~1 hour ruck, I'll take 5-10g.


I always drink some coffee before and during my cardio session, as well as Xtend(bcaa's)