How to Critically Consider Metabolism Myths – Part 6

Increasing your metabolism sounds like the surest way to achieving fitness goals, but as we’ve discussed in the last five posts on metabolism, there’s simply not much you can do to increase metabolism.

The rate at which your body burns calories, and this means body fat, is almost entirely a result of your genetics. Don’t get caught up in trying to elevate the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis. A better method is to simply learn to eat less when physical activity is low and eat more when physical activity is high. If you’re a food lover, this can be a real challenge but it’s simply keep the work-load high and you can eat as much as you like. Learn to over-indulge only on occasion and you’ll achieve weight loss.

Today, we’re tackling a myth that has perpetuated the fitness world for years and years. It’s time we all know better.

Myth 6: Fasted cardio burns more fat than cardio after eating

Fasted cardio questionThe idea behind this myth is that by skipping breakfast and doing morning cardio in a fasted state, your glycogen will be depleted sooner and you’ll switch to fat burning all the sooner.

Sounds awesome – if only it worked that way.

It matters not if you burn more fat at the beginning of the day or later on. If you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat at some point. Being at a deficit means you’re giving your body fewer calories that is required to maintain weight for the day. If you haven’t calculated your Total Daily Energy Expenditure – start there. After that, subtract 2-300 calories every day and watch the weight drop off.

Back on point – If you eat 600 calories before doing morning cardio, then you will burn less fat while engaged in your cardio session than had you skipped eating – but at some point later in the day – assuming your dieting and eating at a calorie deficit – your body will have to burn more fat for energy because it hasn’t been provided with enough calories.

Fasted cardio will burn more fat sooner, but then leaving your workout and eating 600 calories right after immediately switches your body to using carbohydrates for fuel. It’s all just a matter of when fat burning will take place and that’s going to happen at some point if you’re not eating the amount of calories required by your body for daily maintenance.

Who cares if you burn fat sooner or later in the day?

This isn’t to say that you have to eat before breakfast either. There’s no advantage either way, so if you prefer to skip breakfast and workout fasted, have at it! If you prefer breakfast before training, don’t deprive yourself.

If you’re engaging in lengthy cardio sessions in a fasted state, you might consider eating for the sole purpose of preserving muscle. Long cardio sessions that are performed with no glycogen (for those going low-carb most days) have been shown to have a catabolic effect on muscle, utilizing more tissue proteins for energy.

No more fasted cardio for the sole purpose of burning fat. It’s another myth busted and another reason to simply make daily calories the primary consideration when trying to achieve fat loss.

Previous How to Critically Consider Metabolism Myths – Part 5
Next How to Critically Consider Metabolism Myths - Part 7