The Early Bird gets the lean Body!
For many years Bodybuilders have enjoyed the benefits of what we call “Fasted Cardio” Like many of todays “New” diet and training trends THEY WORK. The fact is most of these diet and training trends are not new they are just new to being so publically used. The Atkins diet is perfect example of a diet that has been used for years and years in the Bodybuilding community leading up to shows before its public popularity in recent years. With that being said I just wanted to touch base on why we as Bodybuilders use fasted cardio and why we get such good results from it.
First lets define Fasted Cardio as simple as possible. Its basically performing exercise while the body is depleted of food and glycogen stores. Performing cardio or exercise under these conditions forces the body to look for other energy sources. The body knows it needs glycogen for energy as well as healthy functions of organs including the brain. When it can no longer get what it needs through ingested food because of its fasted state it targets body fat as the next available source. Here is why.
First thing after you’ve been fasting all night, your body’s natural hormones have the perfect profile for fat loss. After a good night’s sleep, you’ve got all of the following working for you:
Low Insulin Levels - After not eating for the last 10+ hours, your insulin levels are very low. This is good because fat cannot be mobilized in the presence of high insulin levels. With low insulin levels, your body is better able to release and transport fat to be oxidized.
Low Blood Sugar – Some people might think this is a bad thing, and it can be – if it ends up impairing your cardio performance. However, if it doesn’t, low blood sugar forces your body to draw on fat reserves because there is not enough glucose to power your workout.
Higher Growth Hormone Levels – Your growth hormone (GH) levels will be higher while you are sleeping. All throughout the night your body is pulsing out GH. Come morning time, your levels will be lower, but they will be higher than at other times during the day. Growth hormone and insulin are antagonists. When one is high, the other is low. Since your insulin levels are low upon waking, your GH levels are higher. Growth hormone is highly catabolic to fat cells – ie breaks down fat stores.
These three items as well as the right amount of exercise at the right level and time is a perfect fat burning environment. With that being said we also want to make sure we are targeting fat and not breaking down muscle. We want to make sure that we are working in a target fat burning range as well as useing supplements such as Glutamine to prevent muscle breakdown, and feed the muscle healthy food throughout the day after we have exercised.
I know that this only touches the surface but will hopefully shed a little light on the subject as well as a little education on where to find some further knowledge on such items. If you are looking to lose weight or just get leaner I highly recommend finding a trainer who has been or currently trains competitors to answer further questions. They have been their and done that and know the best ways to get your where you want to go. I would not say they are the only ones who have this sort of knowledge but I they are easy to find if in any gym anywhere. Trainers such as Alan Watkins, Dave Fuji, Dylan Ambrust, Rick Sosias, Cameron & Tracy Bodner, and Vinnie Lopez just to name a few are well educated in this area.
Bellow is a basic cardio program for a beginner who wants to try this out.
15min prior to cardio first thing when you wake up
Metabolic agent (Coffee, green tea, fat burner)
30 min cardio with your heart rate between 130-150 depending on your age and fitness level. M-F to start and you can always go up from there.
Be sure to eat a healthy balanced meal immediately following exercise.
That is it for this week! Next week I will show you how to get your body to burn fat for hours even after your Fasted Cardio session is over!