Fat Loss
empty stomach cardio

Why Cardio On An Empty Stomach Doesn’t Work

When I first started training many moons ago one of the biggest theories floating around the gym was that doing empty stomach cardio in the morning was going to burn up to 3x’s more fat because your body is glycogen depleted (low carbohydrate stores) and it will burn more fat because of this.

After sleeping for at least 8 hours and probably not eating a couple hours before that our glycogen levels start dipping as they’re needed for various functions in the body.

The theory is that by doing cardio in the morning while fasted it’ll be the optimum environment to burn fat instead of your carbohydrate stores.

But this is pretty much just another myth.

Why Empty Stomach Cardio Workouts Suck

When you use common sense and you do fasted cardio in the morning with low blood sugar you could easily become very nauseous. And feeling like you’re about to pass out and throw up at the same time is probably the last thing you want to feel like when you’re working out.

empty stomach cardio

Also most people won’t perform optimally with low-morning energy levels. If you’re a morning person then working out in the morning will be great for you, but if you’re a night owl you’ll be working hard just to dig yourself out of a ditch.

Yeah it’s possible that you could potentially burn more fat in the morning while in a fasted state, but the truth is in doing so you could also start to break down muscle tissue as well.

Of course, you should also be following a High Intensity Interval Training program like the one featured in my Flat Belly Formula system for your form of cardio because it’s going to be more effective for fat loss. This intense kind of training requires a lot of energy, and if your body is totally depleted it’s going to be rough to keep up.

Cardio On Any Empty Stomach Is Bad…So When Should You Do It?

I personally recommend most people to work out sometime in the mornings. Mostly because it prevents you from making excuses to skip your workouts later in the day.

How many times have you planned to hit up the gym after work only to find you made other plans throughout the day that made you ‘too busy’ to workout?

Getting your workout in the morning ensures that you get it done so you can go on with your life. Also there are other benefits such as improvements in stamina, mental focus and alertness that will keep you going strong for the rest of the day.

But if you’re really not a morning person then working out in the a.m. is probably not going to benefit you very much. Instead get an intense workout in the afternoon or early evening.

The key with doing cardio in the mornings is to NOT do it while fasted.

If you’re training in the morning then I’d recommend taking some Athletic Greens with some Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) to give your body some fuel as well as prevent the breakdown of your hard earned muscle.

You work hard in your training sessions, and you deserve to get the results too. Doing cardio on an empty stomach can cause more harm than good, and I highly recommend following the above tips instead.

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  1. Ryan

    August 17, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Hey Josh, thanks for all the great advise and workouts…i’m already down 12lbs in the past month from browsing your site!

    My question is about potatoes. I’ve read on here, and other places that they are bad for you if you’re trying to lose weight. But what about sweet potatoes and red potatoes? Are they any better than white potatoes?


  2. Erica

    October 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    How long do I have to wait before I can do my morning workout. I don’t have much time in the morning and thats why I eat after my workout on the way to work. Also I don’t work out more than 30 minutes in the morning.


    • Erica

      October 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      I meant to say how long after I eat breakfast do I have to wait.


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

      You can probably skip the breakfast and eat it after your morning workout.


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