Fasted cardio vs fed state cardio: What’s better for faster weight loss?

To eat or not to eat before a workout? If that's what you end up thinking when you're trying to lose weight, know about fasted cardio.
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Avoid layers of makeup at the gym! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Vanshika Sharma Updated: 29 Aug 2022, 09:12 am IST
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What’s the best way to lose weight faster and get rid of stubborn fat? Well, the answer may lie in correcting your diet and fixing an exercise routine. But did you know that the timing of your workout regime can also make a difference? If you haven’t heard about fasted cardio and fed state cardio, let us tell you about it!

What is fasted cardio?

Fasted cardio is the fitness theory that working out on an empty stomach or after a prolonged period of fasting can lead to greater fat loss and fed state cardio means working out after eating a meal. While there are fitness professionals who adhere to their own theories, it is still a hotly debated topic in the fitness world. Every gym freak has this question on their mind – is fasted cardio to lose weight faster or not?

When you undertake fasted cardio, your body is in a fasting condition. This indicates that meal digestion has stopped. In essence, it refers to performing aerobic exercises without food. This typically occurs first thing in the morning after sleeping all night, but if you engage in intermittent fasting, it may also occur later in the day.

Benefits of fasted cardio:

* Fasted cardio spares you the need to prepare, eat, and digest a meal in advance if you are short on time.
* Fasted cardio enables those who engage in intermittent fasting to work out before their daily meal.
* Fasted cardio could be a good choice if you like working out on an empty stomach, especially if your stomach is sensitive or you feel more energised without a meal before a workout.

timing and fitness
Timing matters, whether it is to do with food or exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is fed state cardio?

The term ‘fed workout’ refers to either eating before a workout or working out while already fed. You can have a sense of being fed for anywhere between four and six hours after eating.

Benefit of fed state cardio:

* The advantage of working out when you’ve eaten is that you’ll have more energy to put into the workout.
* You will also likely be able to work harder and longer, which will result in higher energy expenditure.

Fasted cardio vs fed state cardio

Did you know that compared to fed state cardio, fasting cardio offers no discernible fat loss benefit, assuming daily calorie consumption is uniform. Yes, you have read it right! Compared to fed state cardio, fasting cardio offers no additional fat loss benefits because your body will begin using part of the stored fat as energy regardless of the strategy you utilize if you are in a daily calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is any shortfall between the amount of calories consumed and the number required to maintain one’s present weight.

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Weight management is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Fitness expert Miten Kakaiya of Miten Says Fitness (MSF) indicates that studies have shown that when you perform fasted cardio, your body will metabolise or burn a greater percentage of calories from fat than when compared to fed state cardio.

However, throughout the rest of the day, your body will end up burning a lesser percentage of calories from fat. Therefore, when you look at the overall fat loss during the day where calories are equal when you do a fasted exercise vs non-fasted exercise, you don’t see much of a difference.


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So, one can’t actually say that fasted cardio is better than fed state cardio. We must recognize that every person’s body type is different and any of them can be suitable for different body type. Now to find out which of the two is best for you, try out both the options and see which one is in your favour so that you can stay consistent.


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