Fasted Cardio, or more generally, Fasted Training, is another way for saying “working out on an empty stomach”. When it comes to fat burning, I am a massive proponent of fasted training first thing in the morning – with some changes via supplementation.
These changes are what USPLabs calls the Fasted Training Protocol, and we are happy to announce some incredible information to you today Over at the USPLabs forum, the team is taking applications to work with them on their fasted training protocol. You can read more about it at this thread here. If USP accepts your application, you will get one-on-one, personal coaching, as well as over $500 in free supplements!!! So read the rest of this article, and if you’re interested, sign up now!
Fasted Cardio and The Fasted Training Protocol
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But first, I must say that it’s not just about fasted cardio. It’s about ALL types of fasted training – including resistance training (weightlifting). And you better be doing HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, as well! This is explained all the way at the bottom.
In the most basic of senses, it’s easy to see why we like working out on an empty stomach (first thing in the morning – after your nightly ‘fast’): You have nothing in your belly to burn off, and can immediately switch to burning your fat stores instead!
That is only the case, however, if you make sure that you don’t burn your muscle stores instead. To combat this, it’s always great to have branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in your stomach and bloodstream. BCAAs are the building blocks of proteins, and consist of three essential amino acids that cannot be created by your body yourself – you need to ingest them via food and/or supplementation. These three aminos are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
So in the most basic form of this protocol, you wake up and take your OEP dosage. Immediately start getting ready for the gym, and 10 minutes before you begin working out, start sipping on your Modern BCAA.
Crush your workout, which we hope is full of resistance training (weightlifting) as well as HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training – more fat burning than low intensity steady state cardio), all while finishing your Modern BCAA throughout.
After your workout, you can consume a low-carb whey protein shake (I personally prefer pure whey protein isolate shakes), and then get moving to your breakfast, which should consist of protein, fats, and carbs from whole foods.
A favorite meal of mine is 3 eggs + 3 egg whites, any and all organic vegetables you want to mix in there (spinach, onion, tomato, all-natural salsa, etc), and 8oz sweet potato cooked in a tablespoon of macadamia nut oil or coconut oil. Now THAT’s a post-workout meal to refuel you!
If you are accepted into the program, however, the team from USP Labs can tailor the program to you and your carb sensitivity. USP also has a slew of other supplements they may throw into the mix. Anabolic Pump is one such supplement that can be taken 15 minutes before your carb meals (ie my sweet potatot) during this protocol.
Fasted Cardio Research
So does this stuff really work? When it comes to fat burning… YES. If you want to see some research, one great one is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20837645. Basically, this study had three groups of men in their twenties: Fasted Trainers, Fed Trainers, and a non-training group of controls for the study.
They were fed the same things, just at different times. This diet was high in fats, carbs, but low in protein, and WELL above maintenance — so they were going for weight gain (obviously not our favorite diet). The fasted cardio trainers worked out on an empty stomach. There was a good mix of hard endurance activity, but no weightlifting unfortunately.
The fasted cardio group OBLITERATED the fed group. They gained far less weight, had better glucose tolerance, and far better insulin sensitivity!
The poor control group fared the worst… so working out on a full stomach is better than not working out at all. But this study goes to show that fasted training can help make up for a poor diet.
Fasted Training For Fat Burning
Now imagine what we can do with a quality diet?! Imagine what happens if we have shut down the eating of starchy carbs after 4pm on the day before?! (Keep eating those green veggies later at night though!)
This plan flat-out works, especially when combined with a REAL, whole-food diet with meals such as my example one above.
So head over to the USP forum now, sign up for the application, and check it out yourself.
As a personal note, I am only a fan of this protocol when it comes to burning fat — not bulking. When I’m bulking, I get a bit crazier with my feeding. Many people at USPLabs will gladly disagree with that statement, but seeing as though OxyELITE Pro is a fat burner (the #1 fat burner, at that), I’d say that you should be highly interested in fasted training since you’re on this site!
A Note on HIIT Cardio
I’m not going to get into the research behind HIIT, since that’s subject to its own post, but instead of doing a boring 30 minutes on the cardio machine do this on the eliptical trainer:
Start with 5 minute warmup at easy resistance (12/20 for me)… now get ready!
10 sets of the following: – 15 seconds of DEAD sprinting at very high resistance (18/20 for me) – 45 seconds of EASY elipitcal (9 or 10 / 20 resistance for me)
Cool down for 5 minutes on whatever you can handle.
After 10 minutes of that, you will be absolutely worked. This is a FAR better muscle-toning, fat burning exercise than your hours on the eliptical will ever be.
You can also do this with running sprints, and there are other timing schemes such as Tabata that you can look up. But I like the eliptical because it adds resistance. Do it at least twice a week and the results will be ridiculous. It’s not fun, but it’s also a lot less time consuming, and more effective to boot!