FASTED cardio FOR GAMERS?

FASTED-CARDIO-FOR-GAMERS

FASTED cardio FOR GAMERS?

FASTED-CARDIO-FOR-GAMERS

Hello friends, Casey here. I’m the registered dietitian for 1HP and have been working with professional teams and gamers for a while. I’ve been getting asked the following question lately: Are there any benefits to fasted cardio?

When gamers ask me this, they typically are referring to a protocol in which they skip eating anything in the morning, and then go do some cardio. The motivation is fat loss.

Let’s walk through a few scenarios to see what happens when people try fasted cardio…

LOSING WEIGHT WITH FASTED cardio FOR GAMERS – EXAMPLES

Scenario 1

James (fictional person number one) is out of shape and hasn’t exercised in a while. James learns about this hot new technique, fasted cardio, and decides to give it a go. He tries it out diligently and starts seeing some great results. He’s feeling better, has more energy, and is losing weight.

Did fasted cardio help him?

You bet.

But was it because it fasted?

Nope.

The benefits James saw were simply the result of adding in exercise to a sedentary lifestyle.

excersis
Scenario 2
calories
It was the caloric deficit guys, cmon

Jessica (fictional person number two) has a leg up on James. She goes for a jog every morning after breakfast. Despite this, she has struggled with weight loss. Jessica learns about this hot new technique, fasted cardio, and decides to give it a go. She stops eating breakfast and starts to lose weight.

Did fasted cardio help her?

You bet.

But was it because it fastedhttps://1-hp.org/blog/healthy-eating/nutrition/?

Nope.

Jessica started seeing weight loss because she found a way to reduce her caloric intake. The calories could have come from anywhere in the day. In this particular instance, they came from her breakfast.

Scenario 3

Thomas (fictional person number three) is similar to Jessica – he jogs every morning after breakfast and is looking to lose some weight. Thomas learns about this hot new technique, fasted cardio, and decides to give it a go. He stops eating his breakfast before his morning run and instead eats his same breakfast after.

And nothing happens…

a-equals-b-1hp
It’s all about balance. Calories in, Calories Out
Scenario 4
maximal-training-gamers

Lucy (fictional person number four) is similar to Thomas – she jogs every morning after breakfast and is looking to lose some weight. Lucy hates eating before she runs, but because she heard it’s important to fuel before working out, she forces herself to have it. The food makes her feel uncomfortable and bloated during the runs. She learns about this hot new technique, fasted cardio, and decides to give it a go. She stops eating breakfast before her morning runs and instead eats breakfast after.

Did fasted cardio help her?

You bet.

But was it because it fasted?

Nope.

Lucy’s stomach couldn’t tolerate the food before physical activity, which was reducing her capacity to train as hard as she wanted. Once the discomfort was removed, she could train harder. She saw results because of her increase in a training capacity.

LOSING WEIGHT WITH FASTED CARDIO FOR GAMERS – THE SCIENCE

SCIENCE & REASONING FOR FASTED CARDIO

We store fuel for physical activity in the form of glycogen. You can find it in your liver and muscle tissue. For exercise, the most important glycogen is the glycogen stored locally (in your muscles). The liver glycogen doesn’t come into play – it’s being used to regulate your blood sugar levels.

Your liver will be depleted of glycogen after 12-24 hours of no food. On the other hand, it will take over 72 hours of fasting for us to even notice a decrease in muscle glycogen [1, 2]!

From this information, we can see that our bodies don’t think we’re doing ‘fasted’ cardio by simply skipping breakfast before we eat. In fact, your muscles think they are completely full and ready to go!

Here’s a summary of each scenario:

1)     Adding exercise to an otherwise sedentary life will lead to significant improvements.

2)     Cutting calories helps you lose weight.

3)     There is nothing magical about fasted cardio if you keep exercise and calories the same.

4)     Pay attention to your body and don’t force food before exercise if you can’t tolerate it.

Despite there being nothing ‘magical’ about fasted cardio, if it is what gets you excited to do a run or take your nutrition more seriously – then go for it. And if you’re already getting results from it, then obviously keep doing it.

I loved this question. Please keep them coming and I’ll keep answering them for you. Have a great week.

Casey

References

1.      Hultman E. Physiological Role of Muscle Glycogen in Man with Special Reference to Exercise. New York, NY: The American Heart Association, 1967, pp. 1–114

2.      Vendelbo, M. H., Clasen, B. F., Treebak, J. T., Møller, L., Krusenstjerna-Hafstrøm, T., Madsen, M., Nielsen, T. S., Stødkilde-Jørgensen, H., Pedersen, S. B., Jørgensen, J. O., Goodyear, L. J., Wojtaszewski, J. F., Møller, N., & Jessen, N. (2012). Insulin resistance after a 72-h fast is associated with impaired AS160 phosphorylation and accumulation of lipid and glycogen in human skeletal muscle. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism, 302(2), E190–E200. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00207.2011

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