In the age of Instagram, everyone’s favorite lifters’ and models’ daily lives have become publicized for all to see. A blessing and a curse really, watching Flex Lewis prepare for another Olympia defense and getting notifications he’s hopping on Insta live while he does his ritualistic fasted morning cardio, raises the question “should I being doing the same as the champion?” As most veteran lifters know the answer to such questions usually sounds like ‘it depends’ or ‘maybe’. I’ll cut the shit and discuss whether or not you should be implementing fasted cardio in order to maximize your efforts into getting shredded.
Cardio has a neat and nasty little trick that it plays on the body, while the elevation of the heart rate triggers the body to burn more fat, it also slows down the production of muscle tissue. AMPK is the driver of fat burning in the body, cardio stimulates AMPK to begin the fat burning process–almost like throwing a match on lighter fluid soaked charcoal. The problem with this process is that when AMPK is activated it shuts down muscle growth. As you can see this creates quite the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde division of whether or not adding fasted cardio to start your day will be beneficial for your physique goals.
Moreover, there is a reason why such successful bodybuilders as Kai Greene, Flew Lewis, and Jay Cutler all use fasted cardio in their show prep. They use it because of how effective fasted cardio is at doing what you want cardio to do. They are not doing cardio to become better at doing cardio, the point of their cardio routines is to strip fat off their muscle, plain and simple. The factors behind what makes AM cardio so effective is that when you are asleep, your primary source of fuel is fat. As anyone that has ever counted calories in their life knows that a gram of fat has over twice the number of calories as a gram of carb of protein. As a result of the increased caloric hit of fat, the body takes significantly longer to process that same gram of fat as it would the gram of carb or protein. It takes time to get the body to activate the fat burning furnace and when you wake up that furnace is already primed. On top of already being in a fat burning state when you wake up, by performing fasted cardio more of those enzymes and pathways are activated throughout the day. By jumpstarting your day with fasted cardio you have a much higher chance of burning more fat throughout the day.
As with most things there is always going to be that one dark spot on the otherwise sparkly resume, that is really going to make you question whether or not this is for you. Fasted cardio is generally boring, the body is most catabolic in the morning so avoiding any type of activity that promotes more muscle breakdown is generally prescribed (i.e. walking over running). So if you are the type of person that cannot stand the thought of walking on a treadmill or outside first thing in the morning prior to your first meal, you may want to rethink fasted cardio. Remember, there is a risk of muscle loss with any cardio activity, and when fasted, this risk is amplified. This risk can be eliminated with proper supplementation of anti-catabolic products such as Killer Labz Brute BCAA. As a plus with proper supplementation, if you are an athlete that wants to do more rigorous cardio (jogging, HIIT, stair mill, etc.) BCAA’s can allow you to train at a higher intensity fasted, without compromising more muscle loss. Due to the competing mechanisms of muscle growth and fat loss there should also be a significant time gap between cardio and any weightlifting session, about 3-4 hours to minimize disruptions for both goals. People that need to lift first thing in the morning due to time restrictions would not be good candidates for incorporating fasted cardio.
Fasted cardio is an awesome tool to help chisel out mass monster’s muscle gains, but knowing the risks involved in the process will help prevent losing any muscle mass. Adding in strategic and effective supplements will also aide in the maximization of fat loss but also prevent muscle wasting, products such as Killer Labz Brute BCAA and Exterminator can set you up on all of your shredding goals. A fat burner and BCAA stack can provide the ingredients to encourage more fat burn while also protecting lean muscle mass. While you may not be the next Mr. Olympia, there is a reason why fasted cardio has been a staple for tons of different bodybuilders at all varying stages of competition, it’s effective when done correctly. Shop for Brute BCAA by clicking the image below.