For me there is nothing better than the achy ab feeling the day after a good session, but I used to find that I’d often spend ages doing various exercises to then be disappointed at little or no change. I then started combining around 20 minutes of cardio before my ab sessions which definitely brought more progress but I still wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.
This was around the time where fasted cardio was on the rise within the elite Instagram fitness world, with many raving about how it was the only true fat burner. It’s a theory which makes sense; if you’re exercising on a stomach where your insulin levels are low and food is no longer being processed then during exercise your body is going to use your fat molecules for power instead.
I was wary at first as the idea of doing an intense cardio and abs session on very little food made me worry about the sudden change in blood pressure and the risk of passing out. The first couple of times I tried fasted cardio I did experience that dreaded dizzy feeling, but once I nailed down a routine which worked for me I’ve never looked back.
The most important thing about fasted cardio is how and what you eat the day before your session. After a meal your insulin levels can remain high for 4-6 hours later therefore if you’re exercising straight after food then you have no chance of burning the essential fat cells. I try to stick to three medium sized meals without snacking. For breakfast I have some combination of egg, for lunch a salad with a protein base of chicken and then for tea usually a rice or noodle dish around 7/8pm. I try and make sure that throughout the day I have a fair amount of protein in my meals as once it has been broken down you get a sufficient supply of energy. This is particularly useful as the energy you get from these amino acids provide a longer lasting energy source than any other food group.
For my actual session I usually go around 9am and spend 20 minutes on the treadmill, finishing off with some sprints. I then go and do my ab routine which takes around 30 minutes. I’ve worked myself up to be able to do 50-60 minutes of fasted exercise, but initially when I started I was only able to do 30-40 whilst my body got accustomed to it. As someone who used to dread cardio I now find that physically I am in a much better shape when it comes to these sessions. I have more energy to push that little bit further as well as the ability to try more vigorous exercises which bring more results.
There are many articles and debates surrounding the accuracy of fasted cardio in relation to weight loss but I’ve found that if done properly it constantly proves successful.