Fasted Cardio vs FED Cardio: The Big Debate

Fasted Cardio vs FED cardio 

The ever growing debate...

Is fasted cardio really more beneficial for fat loss than performing cardio after eating food?
To put it simply... NO. It really isn't, however, lets look into it in a lot more detail.

Why people think fasted cardio is superior to fed cardio:

When you perform an exercise in a fasted state because there is no glycogen present your body turns to an alternative source of energy... fat. Hence why a lot of people believe you burn more fat and lose more weight if doing cardio fasted. Correct, to a certain extent. You may burn more fat as energy in this short period of time however daily calories consumed and calories burned will determine if you lose body fat or not. Depending on how much you have eaten in the previous 24 hours your body is going to be primed to using fat stores as energy as it is readily available if glycogen stores are empty. BUT, if calorie expenditure is the same over the whole day then you do not burn more overall fat tissue.

Time efficient:

From personal experience, probably the biggest benefit of performing fasted cardio is the fact that it does not intervene with your daily plans. By getting up before breakfast to do your cardio it is time that you would only otherwise spent likely lying in bed for longer. Performing your cardio before breakfast means you can get on with your day ahead without having to factor in cardio at some point. 

Benefits of FED cardio

There of course also a lot of benefits of performing FED cardio. Firstly not being restricted on having to do your cardio in a fasted state means you can carry out your cardio at any time of the day regardless of how much food you have eaten. This can make things a lot more flexible rather than regimented into doing fasted morning cardio every day. 

High-calorie output:

When performing cardio with calories and glycogen present you will have a higher energy output due to having more energy stores. Meaning as long as total calories are the same you may actually burn more calories in a day if performing fed cardio at a higher output than fasted cardio 

Studies have in fact shown that fasted cardio doesn't have any worthwhile benefits over fed cardio, There are even cases which prove fed cardio is, in fact, more beneficial than fasted. This being due to the fact that eating carbohydrates can help you exercise longer and more intensely and actually help preserve muscle which leads to a higher calorie expenditure. 

Final thoughts

Whether you perform your cardio fasted or fed it really doesn't matter. Personal preference really is the determining factor. Overall calorie expenditure for the day is what matters so whether you create that calorie deficit through fasted cardio or fed cardio is completely up to you.