Fasted Cardio is awesome and I love it. Here’s how I learned to embrace it with ease! Since there has been a lot of debate over whether it’s good, bad, or just ugly, I’m here to lay down the truth.
Fasted Cardio is highly debated, but something I personally love. Its when you don’t eat anything and then go do cardio. Basically, you are exercising on an empty stomach. This is something I’ve done all my life, but I didn’t learn until I was older that there was a name for it. Since the debate rages over whether Fasted Cardio is good, bad, or ugly, I’m going to share the facts. Learn how and why to embrace the practice with ease!
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As you all know, I’ve been running since I was in high school. I started running for field hockey and would run early in the morning during my summer breaks. For some reason, if I ate anything before running, I would gag and it would upset my stomach throughout my workout. So I never ate anything and honestly never thought anything of it. I always ran on an empty stomach.
This practice made sense to me and still does. But people love to debate it to death, and a brief history on this “rage” of fasted cardio shows why. In recent years intermittent fasting has become popular. The idea that you eat only during a certain period of time is a current dieting trend. You eat all of your meals in an 8 hour span and then you fast the rest of the day. This is not much different than simply structuring your meals and having a meal plan, but people love the hot new thing. When this first became popular, I started hearing about fasted cardio and realized this is what I do. I was WAY ahead of the times!
Fasted cardio is so much easier than you think it is. Don’t let the name or the associated diet fad scare you off. Just hearing it, I know people are like “Oh man, I’ll be so hungry.” Normally this exercise practice is done in the morning and normally I’m not hungry when I first wake up. I don’t need to eat right when I get up and as long as I get out the door within 30 minutes of waking, I’m normally good for a nice run. Do you honestly eat immediately? Are you extremely hungry within an hour of waking? Choosing this practice comes down to making a small change.
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Okay, you’ve decided you’re going to give fasted cardio a try. Now embrace the morning workout. If you run outside like me, then get up, drink a glass of water, do your business, and go for a run. Anything 7 miles or under is perfect! You won’t feel hungry before you’re done. I have run 9 miles before without eating anything in the early morning, which is more challenging. Commitment to the full workout is key.
When I get back from a fasted cardio run, I always drink a whole glass of water and eat a handful of almonds or nuts. I need hydration and some light sustenance. Sometimes I’ll eat a spoonful of peanut butter. I highly recommend consuming some sort of good fat. Your body needs the energy. This will help your body replenish and allow you to shower right away after a run, so you don’t have to rush to eat. I call this my morning routine.
What if you go to the gym? I used to do the same thing when I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill, or did another form of cardio or weight training. I would not eat until after my workout. If you feel like you need to eat right as you’re leaving the gym, then pack yourself some nuts, fruit, or even some protein powder for a shake. It just takes a little planning. But eating before you go will slow you down, because your body is burning those calories. This easily makes you lethargic at the worst time possible.
Since I’ve always done fasted cardio, I don’t even think about it. Eating before a workout is not an option. My body is extremely used to this practice and revolts if I do otherwise. But if you’re new to it, then ease yourself in. This is the only way to form a new habit that will stick.
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Say you normally run 5 miles, but you always run later in the day. Start out by going for a 2-3 mile run in on an empty stomach. This will ease your body into it. I find that with hunger, the majority of the time it is a mental thing. Our bodies do not need to eat that often. Remember, Gandhi went 21 days without food. Yes, a full 21 days, so you can easily get up in the morning and do cardio before eating your breakfast.
Embracing fasted cardio is a mindset. It’s really that simple. If you don’t normally wake up to workout, then it can seem daunting. But once you get yourself into a consistent rhythm, morning or night, you will wonder why you ever thought you couldn’t do it!
Remember to drink a lot of water and to be completely honest with yourself. Changing your fitness routine will make your body sore! I also find that I’m much hungrier when I run in the morning, than if I run later in the day or don’t run at all.
Practice mindful eating and make sure you take care of yourself. You can always bring water with you on your runs. That goes the same for your running group or the gym. Do what is best for you and remember that fasted cardio is easily embraced. It’s fun and definitely worth adding into your fitness routine.
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Mandi Mellen is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Host at BuzzChomp. She’s an Actress, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in her Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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