Will Fasted Cardio Help You Burn More Fat?

It’s hard to ignore all the fitness information out there saying that the latest way of eating or doing exercise is the BEST way to reduce body fat. Especially when they come with a side of “you should absolutely DO THIS for the BEST AND ONLY chance of fat loss”. Yeah.. I can see why it’s a little hard to ignore claims like that! 😂

One of the topics that keeps resurfacing is ‘fasted exercise’. There are so many claims saying that doing fasted cardio or training first thing in the morning is better for fat loss. But is it, really? 🤔


What Is Fasted Cardio?

For those that don’t know, fasted cardio (or fasted training) is when you exercise on an empty stomach. It’s typically done first thing in the morning after having woken up, without consuming any food over the 8-12 hours you just spent sleeping.

You are only allowed water to hydrate during your exercise, but that’s all until you are finished training and are able to eat post-workout!


Silhouette of woman running early in the morning


Why Are People Doing It?

Many people in the industry say that getting your heart pumping first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is the best way to burn fat. They say that this is because exercising in a fasted state allows your body to better access it’s fat stores and use those as its energy source, rather than using the carbohydrate-based stores that your body usually uses as its energy source.

Since we get our carbohydrate-based stores from the food we eat, the idea behind fasted exercise is that your body would be able to burn off the fat stores you’re trying to get rid of quicker since it’s using them directly for energy.


Does It Actually Work Better For Fat Loss?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you guys, there’s just not enough rock-hard science that supports the claim! And even the tests that have been done show marginal results at best, hardly being able to prove that the body drops fat quicker as a result of fasted exercise. 😲

When tested, the results show minimal changes in body weight and composition when comparing fasted exercising to exercising while fed. Researchers even tested different exercise intensities to see if maybe there was a correlation between the level of exercise intensity while fasted and overall fat loss, but again, the results weren’t meaningful. So if there’s no real scientific influence on weight loss, why do people enjoy it so much? 💭


What’s So Great About Fasted Exercise Anyway?

Some people find that training first thing in the morning is better for their mental health 💡 The idea of ‘being up before the rest of the world’ working on themselves and/or training in a near-empty gym can be an amazing feeling for some. Of course this can absolutely be done after eating some food, but some people prefer to get up, have a tall glass of water and head straight to the gym to start their day! 🏃‍♀️

If you love this regime and it’s working for you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it!

Fasted exercise can also be great if your routine (and your body) calls for a super early workout schedule. Personally, I walk ‘fasted’ in the morning because I am up at 5am and can’t stomach food at 4:30am haha! But again, it's a preference that suits ME and I know my body responds well to that decision.


BARE Lean Peanut Butter Toast with Strawberries, Coconut and Honey Recipe


When Should You Absolutely Eat Before Exercise?

If you’re training for prolonged periods of time where intensity and sustained energy is what you need to finish, typically you will need the energy (from food) to support and give you the stamina your body needs. 🏋🏻‍♀️

Even if you're training normally and half-way through you’re feeling lethargic and without energy, you could benefit from having even a banana or a light pre-workout snack like these Peanut Butter Bars before you exercise. The key is to listen to what your body is telling you. You may even find that you need more than a light snack before training! 

The Take Away

The truth is that we are all different. We have bodies that perform better training in different ways because our body’s are UNIQUE. But it’s good to keep in mind that we also personally prefer training in different ways too, which should be a huge determining factor in choosing a regime that works for you 💛

My years of being a Personal Trainer had me training women who absolutely needed to eat before they exercised, and then others who would literally feel like they were going to vomit if they ate within an hour and a half of exercising. Some feel their bodies are too sluggish training in the afternoon because of having eaten 2 full meals before getting to training, while others feel like they’re at their absolute peak during this time.


I guess what I’m trying to say is...

If you feel better with a banana or a bowl of oats in your tank before you train, you SHOULD! 👏🏼

If you feel better training at night after 3 full meals, you SHOULD! 👏🏼

And if you feel better training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, you SHOULD! 👏🏼


One way is not better than the other! The important thing is that you are listening to your YOUR BODY, sticking to a regime that best suits YOU, and most importantly that you are ENJOYING your routine. A training routine you enjoy while hitting your nutrition goals is going to be the reason you get results, not fasted exercise!



If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to your nutrition, it would be WELL worth checking out BARE Lean with 120+ recipes completely tailored to the energy requirements of YOUR body. I personally use it on my own journey, and I can’t tell you how much it has helped to have my nutrition completely taken care of and feel stress-free with my food! 🍳

If you have any questions about how BARE Lean can help you, please always feel welcome to reach out! Any question you have, my team and I are here to help! 💛


I hope you’re as keen as I am to finish this week off with a BANG! 🙌🏼

Leah xx