Fasted Cardio Is NOT Optimal For Fat Loss

fasted cardio

Working out on an empty stomach is a favourite fat loss technique.

However, today I’m going to show you why fasted cardio isn’t the optimal way to burn body fat.

But before we start, it’s important I clarify something.

Fasted cardio is great for fat loss.

I’ve done it, and so have countless others around the world.

But nowadays, barely any of my clients use this technique.

fasted cardio


Because times have changed, and sports research has moved on.

There is a superior way.

Today I’m going to introduce you to something I call “The Fuel Tank Method” and I’ll show you how my clients use it to enhance their fat burn during early morning cardio.

Earlier this week, I received this e-mail from website member Alex:

“Hey Russ,

I hear so many contradicting things regarding the best time to do cardio and whether you should eat beforehand or not.

It’s at the stage where some of my work friends are telling me there is literally no point me doing cardio unless it’s first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. How true is this?”

fasted cardio

Fasted Cardio – Really?

This technique dates back decades and is a proven method for burning body fat at an enhanced rate.

By training on an empty stomach, the theory is that the body is forced to metabolize fat and, as a net result, we’ll burn more body fat.

However, the constantly evolving world of sports science means you have to keep your ear to the ground as a trainer if you want to stay on the cutting edge.

And over the last couple of years, a superior method has been unearthed.

Sadly, many people are still unaware of this new method because we have thousands of trainers still dishing out the old advice. So make it your responsibility to share the facts in today’s post after reading it.

Whether it’s cardio or weights, training on an empty stomach is yesterday’s advice.

fasted cardio myth

The Fuel Tank Method

So what is this new method which promises to increase your fat burn?

It’s really rather simple.

Instead of hitting the gym on empty, grab yourself a protein shake around 20 minutes prior to training.


In doing so, it will:

  • enable you to work harder while training
  • increase your calorie burn
  • and deflate hunger until after you’ve finished your session

Training with a full tank of fuel surpasses the benefits associated with early morning fasted cardio.

fasted cardio

Fasted Cardio – What Does Science Say?

So let’s cut to the facts here.

A 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise was the first to reveal that consuming a serving of whey protein before exercise increased metabolic rate and calorie burning significantly. (1)

fasted cardio vs protein

But wait, it gets even better.

The study compared pre-workout protein vs an empty stomach as well as pre-workout protein vs pre-workout carbs.

They found that in both cases having protein before a workout got the best results.

So having protein prior to hitting the gym is actually superior to having other foods or no food at all.

does fasted cardio burn more fat

Another study went even further into this subject.

They directly compared two groups of subjects during separate 36 minute moderate intensity cardiovascular workouts – the only difference being that one group were training on an empty stomach and the other group had a serving of protein beforehand.

The protein group burned more calories – and more fat – for 12 hours afterwards and were still burning off calories at an accelerated rate a full 24 hours after their workout had finished. (2)

fasted cardio

That’s right.

List I said, performing cardio on an empty stomach is now yesterday’s advice.

To see which whey protein shake my clients and I personally use before training, click here.

fasted cardio
Outside the gym, actor Adam Baroni smashes some HIIT sprints.

The Exception

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that nearly all of my clients use this technique.

Nearly all?

Why not all?

Well, there are certain training principles which just don’t gel with this method. One in particular is intermittent fasting.

Now, intermittent fasting comes with it’s own set of benefits for burning fat.

Click here to read more about those.

But as the popular choice when following intermittent fasting is to schedule your feeding window for later in the day, those who want to perform early morning cardio have no choice but to do it on an empty stomach.

And there’s really nothing wrong with that.

After all, consuming a whey protein shake – or BCAA’s – would break their fast.

But for those who don’t adhere to IF as a training principle, whey protein is the way to go.

If you enjoyed this piece on fasted cardio, share it with others. I appreciate it.

Jump on my email list – bottom of post – for more free tips like this from me. If you need a new workout routine to smash in the gym, you can access all of my full programs here. They are free, too.


1. Hackney, KJ, et al. “Timing Protein Intake Increases Energy Expenditure 24 H After Resistance Training.” Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise: May 2010.
2. Paoli, A, Marcolin, G, Zonin, E, Neri, M, Sivieri, A and Pacelli, QF. “Exercising Fasting Or Fed To Enhance Fat Loss? Influence Of Food Intake On Respiratory ratio And Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption After A Bout Of Endurance Training.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab: Feb 2011.

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