The Negatives Of Fasted Cardio

Part I of this series was about the benefits of fasted cardio and now I want to talk about the negatives of it.

The most common negative aspect that people hear about with fasted cardio is cortisol. With fasted cardio, your coritsol, a muscle wasting hormone, is going to be very high. You’ve consumed nothing anabolic with the traditional fasted cardio system and you have a potential bad situation for your muscles. Cortisol will lead to the use of amino acids for energy and since you’re taking none in, it’s going to be pulled from your muscle.

That being said, I do think being catabolic and the cortisol with fasted cardio argument is slightly over-rated. At times we focus too much on the details and what could happen as opposed to what actually happens. Again, keep in mind that we aren’t talking about doing interval training which would greatly raise the need for amino acids. We’re talking about a low intensity, steady state environment.

We can debate about which source of protein to eat pre-fasted cardio. Personally, my money is on branch chain amino acids and glutamine. I’ve talked about glutamine before in my fitness podcasts and why I didn’t like them but for fasted cardio, glutamine can prevent the breakdown of the branch chain amino acids for energy. A liquid branch chain drink will be rapidly digested and prevent any muscle breakdown.


So should you perform fasted cardio? Unless you plan to compete then the answer is without a doubt no. I personally doubt the benefits of fasted cardio over cardio done post workout. For one, I don’t think it’s life efficient. Most people don’t even have enough energy to get up in the morning let alone do fasted cardio. Even for the physique enthusiast, I doubt you’ll burn more fat in the morning then any other time. Now if you have a deadline and need to be ready then you’d add fasted cardio in on top of your post workout cardio.

Don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything by not doing fasted cardio.

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