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  1. #1
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    Question cardio on empty stomach??

    Is cardio first thing in the morning on a empty stomach good?

    Does it make u lose fat faster?

    Does it make u lose your hard earned muscle??

  2. #2
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    I do cardio 7-days first thing on empty stomach... well the only thing I have id about 16oz water, alcar and Hydroxycut. I have not lost any muscle that I can see but my BF% is dropping fast as anything.

    I am sure someone will give a better reason but my thinking is your blood sugar levels are at their lowest so your body must dip into your BF storage for fuel so you will burn more fat. Now does it effect muscles? I would guess at some level it might but I always hit a good protein shake right as soon as I am done with my cardio so it is kept to a minimum.


    Oldman

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    what if u take glutamine or amino acids before doing cardio first thing in the morning on a empty stomach, will u be able to keep the muscle ?

  4. #4
    Kale is offline ~ Vet~ I like Thai Girls
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    Here is a good explanation for you guys

    A.M. Fat Burn
    Author: Tom Venuto
    Date: Aug 01, 2001

    Even though morning cardio has been embraced by bodybuilders as a "tried and true" fat loss technique, there is definitely not a unanimous agreement about its effectiveness, especially in the scientific community. Most competitive bodybuilders are die-hard advocates of doing cardio first thing in the morning before eating their first meal. They believe it will cause them to mobilize more stored body fat and increase their metabolic rate all day long. There’s quite a bit of scientific literature supporting the a.m. fasted cardio theory, but generally, the exercise physiologists and scientists tend not to buy it. They subscribe to the energy balance hypothesis, which states; as long as you burn more calories than you consume in each 24 hour period, then the time of day you burn them doesn’t matter, nor does whether you burn them from fat or carbohydrate.

    If you have even the most rudimentary understanding of human physiology and physics, you have to concede that the timing of your cardio is not the most important factor in fat loss. When you do your cardio won’t make or break you. Simply doing it whenever it’s convenient and following a mildly calorie restricted diet is what’s important. However, there’s a very strong case for doing fasted a.m. cardio and if you want to gain every legal and ethical advantage possible in your quest to get leaner then it’s definitely something you should take a closer look at.

    The argument in favor of fasted early morning cardio goes something like this:

    1. When you wake up in the morning after an overnight 8-12 hour fast, your body’s stores of glycogen are somewhat depleted. Doing cardio in this state causes your body to mobilize more fat because of the unavailability of glycogen.

    2. Eating causes a release of insulin . Insulin interferes with the mobilization of body fat. Less insulin is present in the morning; therefore, more body fat is burned when cardio is done in the morning.

    3. There is less carbohydrate (glucose) "floating around" in the bloodstream when you wake up after an overnight fast. With less glucose available, you will burn more fat.

    4. If you eat immediately before a workout, you have to burn off what you just ate first before tapping into stored body fat (and insulin is elevated after a meal.)

    5. When you do cardio in the morning, your metabolism stays elevated for a period of time after the workout is over. If you do cardio in the evening, you burn calories during the session so you definitely benefit from it, but you fail to take advantage of the "afterburn" effect because your metabolic rate drops dramatically as soon as you go to sleep.

    Research supports this theory. A study performed at Kansas State University and published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that a kilogram of fat is burned sooner when exercise is done in the fasted state in the morning than when it’s done later in the day. The researchers measured respiratory gas exchange, caloric expenditure and carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism, and found that the amount of fat burned during aerobic exercise amounted to 67% of the total energy expenditure in the morning after a 12 hour fast. This is substantially higher than the 50% expenditure achieved when the same exercise was done later in the day or after eating. A similar study from The Journal of Applied Physiology looked at the effects of aerobic exercise on lipid oxidation in fed versus fasted states. The researchers concluded, "our results support the hypothesis that endurance training enhances lipid oxidation in men after a 12 hour overnight fast." Yet another scientific paper, Optimizing Exercise for Fat Loss," reports, "The ability of exercise to selectively promote fat oxidation should be optimized if exercise is done during morning fasted metabolism."

    Despite the fact that increased fat burning from morning aerobics seems logical and is backed by research, the majority of scientists and exercise physiologists vehemently deny its effectiveness. They are quick to point out that you can find a study to support almost any theory you want to advocate. Interestingly though, even the most dyed in the wool academics agree that you’ll burn more fat in the fuel mix as compared to sugars. The real controversy lies in whether this fact has any impact on overall fat loss in the long run.

    Exercise Physiologist Greg Landry, MS, author of "The Metabolism System for Weight Loss and Fitness," explains, "I agree that you burn a fuel mix that is a little higher in fat if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. However, I think the real question is, does that matter? I believe we have a ‘pool’ of calories stored in different forms in the body (fat, glycogen, etc.), so ‘burned’ calories all come from the same pool. Thus, it really doesn’t matter that the fuel mix has a little more fat in it at a given time. If it’s pulling from fat stores at that time, then it’s pulling less from glycogen stores and thus future consumed calories will be a little more likely to be stored as fat because glycogen stores are a little fuller. So it’s all a wash."

    Lyle McDonald, an expert on bodybuilding nutrition and author of "The Ketogenic Diet," agrees. He argues that the body will compensate later in the day and is simply "too smart" for strategies like this to ever work: "All that research says is that you burn a greater proportion of fat this way, which I agree with 100%," says Lyle. "The majority of research shows that as far as real world fat loss goes, it doesn’t really matter what you burn. Rather, 24-hour calorie balance is what matters. Because if you burn glucose during exercise, you tend to burn more fat the rest of the day. If you burn fat during exercise, you burn more glucose during the day. The end result is identical. If that weren’t the case, then athletes like sprinters who never ‘burn fat’ during exercise wouldn’t be shredded. Basically, they burn so many calories that they remain in balance and don’t gain any fat. So, while morning cardio probably provides some psychological benefits to bodybuilders who are programmed to do it that way, I can’t say that I think it will result in greater ‘real world’ fat loss, which is what matters."

    When it comes to "real world" fat loss, few people have more experience than Chris Aceto. A successful bodybuilder and nutritionist to some of the top pro bodybuilders in the world, Aceto is a firm believer in morning cardio. He unequivocally states, "The fastest way to tap stored body fat is to do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach."

    Aceto believes that looking at calories only in terms of energy in vs. energy out is "limited thinking." He asserts that there are more factors involved in "real world" results than just energy balance. This all comes back to the old argument, are all calories created equal? "Absolutely not!" Aceto declares. "A calorie is not just a calorie and exercise physiologists ‘freak out’ when they hear this."

    "These guys are working from the assumption that it’s just a matter of calories in vs. calories out, period," Chris continued. "With that line of reasoning, they’d be forced to say that if I consume nothing but candy bars and Coca-Cola, and take in 100 calories less than maintenance, I’d lose weight. We know it’s not that simple. You also have to account for ratios of carbs, protein, and fat. Then there’s meal frequency too: From real world results we know you put down more muscle mass from 5 or 6 meals a day than from 3 meals a day. There are more things involved than just calories."

    Whether or not morning cardio in the fasted state increases "real world" fat loss is still the subject of controversy, but there are many other reasons you might want to consider making it a part of your daily routine. Landry, despite his doubts about whether the fuel source matters, admits, "If I had to pick a single factor I thought was most important in a successful weight loss program, it would have to be to exercise first thing in the morning."

    Here are some of the additional benefits of doing cardio early in the morning:

    1.It makes you feel great all day by releasing mood-enhancing endorphins.

    2. It "energizes" you and "wakes you up."

    3. It may help regulate your appetite for the rest of the day.

    4. Your body’s circadian rhythm adjusts to your morning routine, making it easier to wake up at the same time every day.

    5. You’ll be less likely to "blow off" your workout when it’s out of the way early (like when you’re exhausted after work or when friends ask you to join them at the pub for happy hour).

    6. You can always "make time" for exercise by setting your alarm earlier in the morning.

    7. It increases your metabolic rate for hours after the session is over.

    Of all these benefits, the post-exercise increase in your metabolic rate is one of the most talked about. Scientists call this "afterburn" effect the "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption" or EPOC for short.

    Looking only at the number of calories and the type of calories burned during the session doesn’t give you the full picture. You also need to look at the increased number of calories you continue to burn after the workout is over. That’s right - work out in the morning and you burn calories all day long. Imagine burning extra fat as you sit at your desk at work! That’s the good news. The bad news is, the degree of EPOC is not as great as most people think. It’s a myth that your metabolism stays elevated for 24 hours after a regular aerobic workout. That only happens after extremely intense and/or prolonged exercise such as running a marathon.

    After low intensity exercise, the magnitude of the EPOC is so small that its impact on fat loss is negligible. Somewhere between 9 and 30 extra calories are burned after exercise at an intensity of less than 60-65% of maximal heart rate. In other words, a casual stroll on the treadmill will do next to nothing to increase your metabolism.

    However, EPOC does increase with the intensity (and duration) of the exercise. According to Wilmore and Costill in "Physiology of Sport and Exercise," the EPOC after moderate exercise (75-80%) will amount to approximately .25 kcal/min or 15 kcal/hour. This would provide an additional expenditure of 75 kcal that would not normally be calculated in the total energy expended for that activity. An extra 75 calories is definitely nothing Earth shattering. However, it does add up over time. In a year that would mean (in theory) you would burn an extra 5.2 lbs of fat from the additional calories expended after the workout.

    One way to get a significant post exercise "afterburn" is high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is done by alternating brief periods of high intensity work (85% or more) with brief periods of lower intensity work. Studies on the effects of HIIT have demonstrated a much higher EPOC, which can add substantially to the day’s calorie expenditure. In one study, scientists from the University of Alabama compared the effects of two exercise protocols on 24-hour energy expenditure. The first group cycled for 60 minutes at a moderate intensity. The second group performed HIIT, cycling for two minutes at high intensity followed by two minutes at a low intensity. The group that performed the HIIT burned 160 more calories in 24 hours than the low intensity group. That means the HIIT group would burn an extra 11.8 pounds of fat in one year if they did HIIT five days a week instead of conventional training.

    Ironically, weight training has a much higher magnitude of EPOC than aerobic training. Studies have shown increases in metabolic rate of as much as 4-7% over a 24-hour period from resistance training. Yes - that means bodybuilding does burn fat – albeit through an indirect mechanism. For someone with an expenditure of 2500 calories per day, that could add up to 100 - 175 extra calories burned after your weight training workout is over. The lesson is simple: Anyone interested in losing body fat who is not lifting weights should first take up a regimen of bodybuilding, then – and only then – start thinking about the morning cardio!

    A common concern about doing cardio in the fasted state, especially if it’s done with high intensity, is the possibility of losing muscle. After an overnight fast, glycogen, blood glucose and insulin are all low. As we’ve already concluded, this is an optimum environment for burning fat. Unfortunately, it may also be an optimum environment for burning muscle because carbohydrate fuel sources are low and levels of the catabolic stress hormone cortisol are high. It sounds like morning cardio might be a double-edged sword, but there are ways to avert muscle loss.

    All aerobic exercise will have some effect on building muscle, but as long as you don’t overdo it, you shouldn’t worry about losing muscle. It's a fact that muscle proteins are broken down and used for energy during aerobic exercise. But you are constantly breaking down and re-building muscle tissue anyway. This process is called "protein turnover" and it’s a daily fact of life. Your goal is to tip the scales slightly in favor of increasing the anabolic side and reducing the catabolic side just enough so you stay anabolic and you gain or at least maintain muscle.

    How do you build up more muscle than you break down? First, avoid excessive cardio. Aceto suggests limiting your cardio on an empty stomach to 30 minutes, and then it would be "highly unlikely that amino acids will be burned as fuel." He also mentions that "a strong cup of coffee should facilitate a shifting to burn more fat and less glycogen. If you can spare glycogen, you’ll ultimately spare protein too." You might also want to consider experimenting with the thermogenic ephedrine-caffeine-aspirin stack (or it’s herbal equivalent).

    Second, give your body the proper nutritional support. Losing muscle probably has more to do with inadequate nutrition than with excessive aerobics. Provide yourself with the proper nutritional support for the rest of the day, including adequate meal frequency, protein, carbohydrates and total calories, and it’s not as likely that there will be a net loss of muscle tissue over each 24-hour period.

    Third, keep training with heavy weights, even during a fat loss phase. Using light weights and higher reps thinking that it will help you get more "cut" is a mistake: What put the muscle on in the first place is likely to help you keep it there.

    Still petrified of losing your hard-earned muscle, but you’d like to take advantage of the fat-burning and metabolism-boosting effects of morning cardio? One strategy many bodybuilders use is to drink a protein shake or eat a protein only meal 30-60 minutes prior to the morning session. The protein without the carbs will minimize the insulin response and allow you to mobilize fat while providing amino acids to prevent muscle breakdown.

    In conclusion, it seems that morning cardio has enough indisputable benefits to motivate most people to set their alarms early. But let’s talk bottom line results here: Does it really result in more "real world fat loss" than aerobics performed at other times of the day or after eating? I have to believe it does. Experience, common sense and research all tell me so. Nevertheless, this will obviously continue to be an area of much debate, and clearly, more research is needed. In the meantime, while the scientists are busy in their labs measuring respiratory exchange ratios, caloric expenditures and rates of substrate utilization, I’m going to keep waking up at 6:00 AM every morning to get on my Stairmaster.

    References

    1. Aceto, Chris. Everything you need to know about fat loss. Club Creavalle, Inc. (1997).

    2. Bahr, R. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – Magnitude, Mechanisms and Practical Implications. Acta Physiol Scand. Suppl. (1992) 605. 1-70.

    3. Bergman, BC, Brooks, GA. Respiratory gas-exchange ratios during graded exercise in fed and fasted trained and untrained men. Journal of Applied Physiology. (1999) 86: 2.

    4. Brehm, B.A., and Gutin, B. Recovery energy expenditure for steady state exercise in runners and non-exercisers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. (1986) 18: 205,

    5. Brybner, BW. The effects of exercise intensity on body composition, weight loss, and dietary composition in women. Journal of American College of Nutrition, (1997) 16: 68-73

    6. Landry, Greg. The Metabolism System for Weight Loss. Greg Landry. (2000).

    7. Maehlum, S., etc al. Magnitude and duration of post exercise oxygen consumption in healthy young subjects. Metabolism (1986) 35 (5): 425-429.

    8. McCarty, MF. Optimizing Exercise for Fat Loss. Medical Hypothesis. (1995) 44: 325-330

    9. McDonald, Lyle. The Ketogenic Diet. Morris Publishing, (1998).

    10. Melby, C. et al. Effect of acute resistance exercise on post exercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate. J Applied Physiology, (1993). 75: 1847-1853

    11. Wilmore, Jack, Costill, David. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. (1999) 2nd ed. Human Kinetics

    12. Tremblay, A, et al, Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism (1994) 43: 818-818

    13. Treuth, M.S., Hunter, G.R., & Williams, M. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise. (1996) 28, 1138-1143

    14.Wilcox, Harford & Wedel. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, (1985) 17:2

  5. #5
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    thats a good artical

  6. #6
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    answered all my questions

  7. #7
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    QuieTSToRM33 is offline Anabolic Member
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    great read

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    Cardio on an empty stomach is over rated bullshit. You can get lean regardless, all that matters is if you do it or not. The bottom line is at the end of the day if you've burned more cals than you've consumed, then your on your way. And why would anybody who is not simply fat as hell want to speed the process up faster than losing 2-3 lbs/wk anyways??? Too easy to lose muscle. I just laugh at all this am cardio hype, because if you really start talking to competitors and getting to know their regimen, you'd be shocked at how many of them have paper thin skin, tight and toned muscles, and never get on a treadmill in the morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stayinstacked
    You can get lean regardless, all that matters is if you do it or not. The bottom line is at the end of the day if you've burned more cals than you've consumed, then your on your way.
    Your right, but cardio on an empty stomach helps u burn it faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by stayinstacked
    because if you really start talking to competitors and getting to know their regimen, you'd be shocked at how many of them have paper thin skin, tight and toned muscles, and never get on a treadmill in the morning.
    Alot of pro bodybuilders do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

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    Quote Originally Posted by freak_of_nature_86
    Your right, but cardio on an empty stomach helps u burn it faster.



    Alot of pro bodybuilders do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

    I suppose it works well for some and mediocre for others. It's always stripped muscle off me fast, and I benefit more from the extra hour of sleep in the morning to help prevent catabolism and support fat burning as well. I like my cardio PWO, but I suppose its alot to do w/ body type and opinion/results

  11. #11
    oldman's Avatar
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    Cardio on an empty stomach is over rated bullshit.
    So if it works for me and not for you it is BS? I have done cardio at different times. After breakfast, after lifting and first thing in the AM on an empty stomach and I have seen better fat loss in the past 7 weeks doing it this way than any of the others so to me that is NOT BS.


    Oldman

  12. #12
    Hriliu999 is offline New Member
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    ��������������This is article is by far the most practical for the general public

    The Fasted Cardio Roundtable
    Featuring Christian Thibaudeau, Dr. Lonnie Lowery, David Barr, and Dr. John Berardi
    Moderated by Chris Shugart



    It's a subject that always leads to a heated debate: cardio performed in the morning on an empty stomach. Is this the fastest way to lose fat, or is it a sure way to "eat up" all that hard-earned muscle? We sat down with four ******** experts and decided to find out.


    ********: Several years ago, fasted cardio was touted as being the quickest way to drop excess body fat. The general suggestion was to wake up, drink some water, then do your cardio before eating.


    But then many experts started harping about muscle loss in this state. They said that fasted morning cardio was just too catabolic. So, fasted energy systems work: good or bad? Lead us off, Lonnie!


    Dr. Lonnie Lowery: From a biological perspective, fasting for a few hours or overnight does result in much lower insulin concentrations in the blood. This facilitates fat oxidation because insulin, as a necessary storage hormone, indirectly degrades the secondary messenger "cyclic AMP" within adipocytes or fat cells.


    Cyclic AMP is a signal to break things down within a cell such as glycogen (stored carbohydrate in muscle tissue) and yes, triacylglycerols (stored fat in muscle and fat tissue). So in weight loss situations, well-timed lower insulin concentrations can be helpful.




    There are even data suggesting that its effects linger for many hours, making the first few waking hours an advantageous target. That is, we don't always want cAMP being degraded, and prior to breakfast it won't be. This isn't to say insulin is bad by any means; we need it to preserve protein balance and maintain muscle mass, as well as for other critical bodily functions. We just don't need it elevated at certain times.


    Conversely, cAMP can indeed be preserved by methylxanthines in coffee and tea, as they interfere with a cAMP destroyer called phosphodiesterase. So why aren't heavy coffee/tea drinkers all extremely lean? Because much of the fat that's broken down and mobilized circulates throughout the bloodstream of a sedentary person and eventually gets re-esterified or rebuilt into stored fat. It doesn't get taken up by contracting skeletal muscle and burned on its trip through the blood.


    ********: So mobilizing the fatty acids from adipose tissue isn't enough?


    Dr. Lowery: No, moderate intensity exercise (muscle contractions to take up the circulating fatty acids) is necessary.


    It should also be noted that exercise itself, particularly after fasting for a couple of hours, stimulates cAMP naturally by way of hormones such as epinephrine (adren****). This is a better long term approach to fat loss because excessive, ongoing coffee/caffeine intake can lead to higher cortisol concentrations over time, which ironically could worsen central body fat gain according to relatively new research. Not to mention cardiac arrhythmias (skipped beats), sleeplessness, anxiety, and the other classic side effects of excess caffeine.


    Lastly, the intensity of the exercise bout affects whether fat or carbohydrate is used as a fuel source. This is the well-known crossover effect. Intense exercise is too rapid/demanding to allow for fat breakdown/oxidation. Carbohydrate (glycogen) must be used. Hence, fasting or drinking a cup of coffee prior to intense exercise isn't as helpful.


    There's a school of thought that moderate, non-panting exercise in a mostly-fasted state can be done frequently and effectively for direct fat burning and subsequent body composition improvements. A cup of coffee or green tea would be helpful in such a situation biochemically, although there's no research to my knowledge directly investigating the all-important end result of better fat loss over time.


    And there's an opposing and equally valid school of thought that more intense exercise also leads to leanness over time, as well as cardiovascular benefits. The choice becomes situation specific.


    Now, when physique is paramount, I prefer fasted or mostly-fasted (half a scoop protein in water or coffee), non-panting AM cardio for 45-75 minutes that facilitates rather than harms recovery. (About 60% of VO2max keeps one below neuro-endocrine thresholds.)


    It doesn't feel like a workout because it's not meant to be one. It doesn't add to training volume or risk overtraining and staleness, which, by the way, hits about half of individual sport athletes.


    This approach also directly mobilizes and burns fat stores without draining biological resources toward cardiovascular adaptations. I don't want to be a runner. (Many bodybuilders don't care about much other than highly visible muscle mass.)


    ********: Holy crap, Lowery, leave something for the others to talk about! Okay, Barr, let's hear your opinion. Is fasted cardio good or bad?


    David Barr: It's horrible! We should never be completely fasted for any reason. As soon as you're protein starved, you start breaking down muscle, which directly contradicts our goals, whether they be fat loss, muscle growth, or athletic performance.


    Throw a catabolic activity like cardio on top of that and you're practically begging to waste away. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to prevent this muscle catabolism, because all we have to do is eat a little protein.


    When it comes to cardio, eating protein before the session will preserve muscle tissue without impacting on fat loss. While some of the protein will be "burned off" as energy, the amount of muscle saved will more than make up for any minor alterations in fat calorie expenditure. Low-Carb Grow! is the perfect protein for this, because its slow entry into the blood limits the amount of amino acids that'll be used for energy (i.e. oxidized).


    As for the other macronutrients, it's fine to be fasted as long as you're strictly going for fat loss. Understand that at first you'll feel the energy depravation, and may even want to prematurely cut your cardio short. If this occurs, then using something like Spike or especially HOT-ROX will not only enhance energy levels, but directly increase fat loss.


    ********: Thank you, you Biotest whore. What are your thoughts on morning cardio, Thib?


    Christian Thibaudeau: Well, I'd first like to say that nothing is 100% good or bad. Morning cardio is no exception. When faced with such a subject, I always end up doing a pros and cons list and go from there. This way I can better organize my own opinion and give the readers a chance to make up their own minds.

    First, let's look at the pros of fasted morning cardio:

    Pro #1: Morning cardio could potentially increase the amount of free fatty acids (FFA) used up as fuel. This is not due to performing cardio in a glycogen depleted state though, since this isn't happening here. Unless you go to sleep in an already depleted state, you won't wake up in such a state.


    During sleep almost 100% of the energy expended comes from fatty acids because of the extremely low intensity of the activity and because of the natural hGH burst which occurs 30 minutes or so after you enter the deep sleep phase (hGH increases fatty acid mobilization).


    So you really aren't depleting your intramuscular glycogen stores during the night. You might be tapping your hepatic glycogen stores slightly, but even then that can't account for much since at best this contains maybe 200-300kcals of stored energy. So it's a fallacy to believe that when you wake up your muscles are emptied of their glycogen.


    However, since fat is the primary energy source during your sleeping period, chances are that upon waking you have a greater amount of free fatty acids available. Since you don't have to mobilize them (they're already freed up) they become easier to oxidize for fuel and are thus more readily used up during morning cardio.




    Pro #2: Fasted morning cardio could also potentially be glycogen-sparing for the same reason as stated above: the greater availability of FFAs reduces the reliance of glycogen for fuel during low-intensity energy systems work.

    Pro #3: Fasted morning cardio could lead to an improved fatty acid mobilization during exercise and increase insulin sensitivity afterwards. This might be true of exercise at a low level of intensity (50-75% of max VO2) since this decreases insulin levels via the stimulation of adrenergic receptors. A lower insulin level can increase fatty acid mobilization.


    However, a higher intensity of work (above 75% of max VO2) can actually have the opposite effect. So in that regard a moderate or even low intensity of work would seem to be superior in the morning as far as fat mobilization goes. (Galbo, 1983, Poortmans et Boiseau, 2003)

    To counterbalance the reduction in insulin production during exercise at a moderate intensity, insulin sensitivity is increased, especially in the muscle. Since insulin sensitivity is already high in the fasted state, morning cardio could allow you to significantly increase glycogen storage and reduce the storage of carbohydrates as body fat.


    So in that regard, morning cardio in a fasted state could increase fat loss during a cutting period and allow a bodybuilder in a bulking phase to significantly increase his carb intake without gaining more fat.


    ********: Okay, all that sounds good, so what are the cons?


    Thibaudeau: If fasted state cardio could potentially increase fat mobilization, it's also potentially more catabolic to muscle tissue. This is due to an increase in cortisol production during fasted exercise. Since cortisol levels are already high in the morning, this could lead to more muscle wasting than during non-fasted cardio.


    In fact, cortisol levels could increase muscle breakdown and the use of amino acids as an energy source. This is especially true if high-intensity energy systems work is performed. If an individual uses lower intensity (around 60-65% of maximum heart rate), the need for glucose and cortisol release are both reduced and thus the situation becomes less catabolic.

    I personally do believe in the efficacy of morning cardio, but not in a completely fasted state. For optimal results I prefer to ingest a small amount of amino acids approximately 15-30 minutes before the cardio session. A mix of 5g of BCAA, 5g of glutamine (yeah, I know that Dave Barr won't agree with me on this!), and 5g of essential amino acids would do the trick in preventing any unwanted muscle breakdown.

    However, I'll also play devil's advocate and say that morning cardio won't be drastically more effective than post-workout or afternoon cardio work when it comes to fat loss. Personally, I prefer to split up my cardio into two shorter sessions (morning and post-workout).


    ********: Interesting. Now let's hear what Berardi has to say.


    Dr. John Berardi: Geez, is there much left to say? These guys hogged all the sciency sounding arguments so I'll just shoot straight and to the point.


    I wish there were a simple "good or bad" answer to this question, but there isn't. Things are never this simple. After all, I believe that AM cardio performed on an empty stomach is incredibly awesome for fat loss in certain situations and should be avoided at all costs in others. How's that for an answer?


    Here are the circumstances in which I think fasted cardio is awesome and in which I think fasted cardio isn't so awesome:


    • AM fasted cardio should be done when you're only interested in body comp and you have either a mesomorphic or endomorphic body type.


    • AM fasted cardio should never be done when you're an anaerobic athlete requiring strength and power or you simply have an ectomorphic (naturally skinny) body type.


    To make it even simpler, here's a chart to determine if AM fasted cardio is for you:




    Is AM fasted cardio for you?



    YES



    NO




    You're an ectomorph




    X




    You're a mesomorphic strength/power athlete




    X




    You're an endomorphic strength/power athlete




    X




    You're a mesomorphic bodybuilder/exerciser



    X





    You're an endomorphic bodybuilder/exerciser



    X




    ********: Good points, JB. Okay, that was a lot to absorb. Does anyone have any comments or brutal attacks on the other experts' answers?


    Dr. Lowery: First a brutal attack: Dave Barr is an insulin-oholic. Forget Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), he should start IA for size-crazed bodybuilders who can't get away from their obsession to take up more space at any cost. But what do you expect from a guy who lives on Pop Tarts?


    Okay, enough slamming. Actually, David is a very bright, very cool guy and I identify with his need for size. I'd personally be hesitant though to indulge in large amounts of protein while attempting to perform mild cardio in a mostly-fasted state.


    Proteins are certainly insulinogenic, even if there's co-stimulation of glucagon. That creates the risk of body fat protection prior to our uphill walking. But David wants to spare muscle at all costs (even if it's potentially slowing fat loss) so I do know where he's coming from! It's just interesting to see our individual perspectives and how they affect our reasoning.


    Christian and I are on the same page, I think. I admit that I too have turned to 5g glutamine and/or a few grams of protein out of muscle preservation paranoia. Can I prove that it helps? Nope. But the underlying physiology is convincing. It's like the argument as to whether early AM cardio (or longer duration cardio) is really superior to other types. You won't find it in the literature, but biochemically it's compelling. I want to torch fat directly.


    Lastly, I think John summarized pretty well what we've all been saying. The choice of fasted cardio is relative to goals, intensity, and even how we define "fasted" (i.e. a few grams of protein looks helpful in the early waking hours). I agree that no bodybuilding-oriented ectomorph in his right mind should be prioritizing fat loss over muscle preservation!


    I'd reiterate though that there are indeed performance athletes (e.g. football linemen) who could use fat-specific weight loss but are nonetheless power athletes of a sort. These guys could use light to moderate aerobic work/fat loss that doesn't add to their existing load of two-a-days with the team, with concomitant weight room efforts.


    Thibaudeau: Good points, Lonman. In regard to the adequacy of morning, semi-fasted cardio for different types of individuals and situations, I think JB brings up an interesting point. While I do agree with his general overview, I'll side with Lonnie's opinion that some performance oriented athletes can indeed perform AM fasted energy systems work.


    Endomorphs can indeed thrive on morning cardio provided that the intensity and duration are both reasonable. Performing a low-intensity activity (for example, walking on the treadmill at 3.0mph with a 10 degree incline at around 65% of your max heart rate for 30 minutes) will hardly have any negative impact on subsequent performance and muscle mass.


    This is especially true if a proper pre and post-cardio nutrition approach is used. Obviously, if the intensity and/or duration are much higher, then yes, morning cardio can be destructive to performance and muscle mass.


    I personally found that athletes actually perform better a few hours after a low-intensity/short-duration morning cardio workout. It could be psychosomatic or due to a "loosening up" of the body, I don't know. But I've seen it time and time again with my athletes.


    I'm currently training a bodybuilder who's four weeks out as we're doing this roundtable and he's right at 30 minutes of morning cardio at 65%. He trains four hours later and he's constantly increasing his front squat and several other lifts.


    I'd like to bring up one other point: energy systems work can be detrimental to muscle mass and performance regardless of the time it's performed if intensity or duration is excessive. This is why I always prefer to use a split cardio approach. If an athlete is scheduled for 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio on a day, I'd rather have him perform two daily sessions of 30 minutes. Morning cardio allows me to do that without messing up the individual's schedule too much.


    In any case, if body composition is the goal, I don't recommend ever going over 45 minutes per session unless we're well below the 65-70% intensity mark (for example taking a long, slow walk in the woods).


    Barr: If the insulin-oholic whore may have a word... Lonman, I see what you're saying about proteins stimulating insulin, but there's another reason why I opted for Low-Carb Grow! before the cardio. That's because it's very unlikely that the prolonged trickle of amino acids, from the casein into our blood, will increase insulin levels. Subsequently, it won't inhibit fat loss! Sweet deal.




    As far as glutamine supplementation goes, it's been shown that 35g of glutamine a day had no effect on fat loss or muscle mass in athletes during dramatic short term calorie restriction (Finn et al., 2003). This study period wasn't very long and didn't involve morning cardio, but importantly shows that there are no major anti-catabolic effects of glutamine. The fact that wrestlers were used lends credence to this study, because they're often the most catabolic dieters around!


    More importantly, I'm still uneasy about the effects of pre-workout glutamine on fat burning and glucose utilization. After all, glutamine is readily converted to glucose and could therefore provide energy with which to hinder fat burning.


    Supporting this idea, a brand new study showed that aside from the differential effects on insulin stimulation, we might as well use glucose pre-workout if we're going to use glutamine (Iwashita et al., 2005). Sadly, this study used a huge dose of glutamine administered via IV, so the data aren't directly transferable, but it reinforces the gluconeogenic role of glutamine. In other words, glutamine acts like glucose calories when consumed prior to morning cardio, and could subsequently inhibit morning fat burning.


    If you're on Fear Factor and you need to drink a nasty amino acid shake to defeat your large-breasted opponents, then you should consume glutamine. Otherwise it doesn't look good for glutamine and morning cardio.


    Okay, that wasn't very PC of me, but Mr. Hyde tends to come out when the topic of glutamine comes up. As far as the other amino acids acting as gluconeogenic precursors, I believe that the slow GI delivery will limit this.


    Dr. Lowery: Barr makes a good point about the gluconeogenic nature of glutamine: it can raise blood glucose. But then the vast majority of amino acids are glucogenic ultimately, so we're back to the total dose thing. Hence taking a few grams of glutamine prior to AM cardio doesn't seem "insulin risky" when getting serious for a competition. (Not everyone goes this deep into a diet with concomitant over-reaching in the gym, I concur.)


    I've been reviewing a fair amount literature lately on amino acid intake (including glutamine) and body comp changes, so I'm glad you pointed out the short duration thing. It's a real difference between much research and free-living athletes that may not benefit for months. Heck, if we do go with acute data, there's even the one glutamine study suggesting a GH boost which would be helpful to lipolysis. (Interpret as you wish.)


    And as for Grow!, I haven't seen time course data on that trickle effect (e.g. slow-acting casein in the blend) but if there's no initial rush from the whey isolate, it'd be helpful here. Of course, I like the idea that there is an initial rush of amino acids, followed by the lingering casein effect.


    Thibaudeau: As Dr. L. mentioned, glutamine is glucogenic (it can be used to produce glucose). However, it comes to a matter of glycemic load. If you're ingesting 5g of glutamine pre-cardio, at the most this means that 5g of glucose will be produced (it more likely closer to 2-3g). This is a very small quantity which shouldn't affect insulin release significantly. And it certainly won't interfere with body fat mobilization and utilization.


    As I see it, it's just enough to maintain stable blood sugar levels when exercising, so it should help protect muscle glycogen stores. This is beneficial, especially if you have a strength training session planned later that day.


    Anyway, in the morning I recommend low-intensity energy systems work (around 65-75% of max heart rate) which should predominantly use fat for fuel. So in that case, any glucose formed from glutamine shouldn't interfere with fat loss.


    Dr. Berardi: Okay boys, I've gotta elbow in now since you're all wrong! Okay, I'm just kidding. In all seriousness, I've got four points to make.


    1) It's always about body comp.


    There are few – nay, very few – individuals out there that are interested in either muscle gain or fat loss at all costs. Remember, not even the NFL lineman wants to sacrifice muscle mass or strength and power to lose some fat. Nor does the skinny bastard want to lose his cuts in the name of raw, flabby bulk.


    So, with this said, it's important to conduct any discussion of fat loss or muscle gain with the caveat that, ultimately, it's optimal body comp that everyone's after.


    • The NFL lineman wants to be a bit leaner without sacrificing muscle size, strength, and power. (But, remember, in some cases, he doesn't want to be leaner. His bulk helps plug up the line and create a pretty big barrier to getting to his quarterback.)


    • The O-lifter wants to be lighter while maintaining or increasing muscle power (and although the CNS drives the muscle, muscle mass is still correlated with power).




    • The pre-contest bodybuilder wants to drop fat while preserving muscle fullness (and this includes contractile protein as well as muscle glycogen, intramuscular triglycerides, and intracellular water).


    • The skinny bastard wants to be bigger while still retaining some degree of leanness – creating a muscular appearance.


    The point? Rarely does a person strive for extreme muscle gain or fat loss at all costs. He's usually looking for a balance of muscle and fat, a balance ideal for his sport or aesthetic desires.


    In fact, it's for this reason that we actually measure the muscle:fat ratios of each of my Olympic athletes and that we put more stock in these data than the percentage of body fat data. But remember, this stuff isn't just for elite athletes. The recreational lifter or bodybuilder is probably more interested in the muscle:fat ratio than most of my Olympic athletes.


    2) Athletes need to use nutrition to drive body comp, not training.


    Here's an important lesson. I teach all my Olympic coaches and athletes that nutrition needs to be the body comp control variable – not training. Look at how typical athletes look at body comp. They're out of shape in the off-season and then they "train their way into shape." Oops, there's a knee injury. They get fat. Oops, they're tapering. They get soft. Whew, they can train with high volume/intensity again. They get lean.


    Notice the pattern? Most people use training specifically to dictate their body comp. This is a mistake. If they'd learn good nutritional habits and follow them ye*****ound, adjusting based on training volume/intensity, they'd always be in the driver's seat of their physiques and would always be able to maintain a respectable body comp.


    So, when it comes to athletes, I prefer that they train their skill set and sport-specific energy systems and then recover the rest of the time. Now, recovery doesn't only mean sit on their asses or sleep. Light exercise can be considered active recovery. And maybe that's what Lonnie and Christian mean by low intensity cardio. But we have to be clear – it's gotta be very low intensity cardio.


    Yet I still don't prescribe it for fat loss in my athletes. If my athletes do this type of low intensity cardio, it's for recovery – if they need it. If not, they do sit on their asses or sleep. And they control their body composition with nutrition.


    ********: This is a great point. Applying it to the average guy, I see way too many people treadmilling their asses off instead of just tightening their diets. I'd rather choose better foods that live in the hamster wheel, you know? Okay, JB, lay your next point on us.


    Dr. Berardi: 3) What if it's an elite strength/power athlete with a very sluggish metabolism?


    In this situation, we find the balance between eating enough for recovery and eating enough of a deficit for fat loss. Most often we can find that balance point with no problem. And still, I don't have to force any unnecessary physical activity on them – physical activity that might compromise their performance or recovery.


    However, once in a while, this approach doesn't work. So what do we do? Well, we focus on increasing what's called "energy flux." As flux is the relationship between intake and expenditure, we're talking about boosting both energy intake and energy expenditure to create a new metabolic situation in the body.


    4) Recreational exercisers and bodybuilders can and should do things differently than athletes.


    As recreational exercisers and bodybuilders are mostly concerned with aesthetics, they want to use whatever exercise and nutrition variables are at their disposal to achieve that optimal relationship between muscle and fat.


    Of course, it bears repeating that said optimal point will be different for different folks. The typical recreational exerciser wants to look like Brad Pitt from Fight Club: moderate muscle, low fat. And the typical bodybuilder wants to look like Ronnie Coleman: sick amounts of muscle, sick absence of fat.





    The first type of individual, because he doesn't need a crazy amount of muscle, can afford to do some strength/power stuff, energy system stuff, and cardio stuff. And as long as he does a certain amount per week (I typically recommend between five and seven hours of exercise per week to achieve this look), he can achieve that Brad Pitt look by eating clean and training with a constantly changing mixture of those exercise modalities.


    The second type of individual, now that's something else. Because he wants lots of freaky muscle and less than 3% body fat, he can only focus on strength/power stuff and low intensity cardio stuff. (The energy system work just always seems to flatten those big puffy muscles right out). This individual needs to be super strict with the diet, counting calories, cycling macros, the whole nine yards. And, of course, it's likely that drugs will have to play into this situation as well.


    So let me get to the point of this long ramble. The point is that there are so many sets of goals out there. And for each goal there has to be a comprehensive nutrition and exercise approach that targets that goal with the right set of strategies.


    Any discussion of "protein" alone to get a great body is just stupid. And discussion of "fasted cardio" alone to get a great body is just stupid. Any discussion of "carbs" alone to get a great body is just stupid. Any discussion of "heavy lifting" alone to get a great body is just stupid. It's how all these things fit together that makes or breaks your progress!


    ********: Okay guys, it looks like the answer here is going to depend on the person's primary goal and his genetics or natural body type to an extent. But you've given everyone a lot to think about. The following discussions and pissing matches should be interesting. Thanks!


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  13. #13
    SwoleCat is offline AR Hall of Fame
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    Try a search here.

    I commented numerous times on why it works, why it can work really well, how one can really f*ck it up if not done right, etc.

    Basically, you have to try it for yourself, but have all the tools/tips/hints/tricks at your disposal. I've been running my business for 5 years, and a.m. cardio is a staple of ALL of my clients, and I can assure you no one is f*cking themselves up in any negative manner by doing what I tell them to do.

    Then again, I have their ENTIRE diet/training/cardio protocol customized for them, but my point is that it's VERY effective and is a very valuable tool.

    ~SC~

  14. #14
    oldman's Avatar
    oldman is offline Anabolic Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwoleCat
    Try a search here.

    I commented numerous times on why it works, why it can work really well, how one can really f*ck it up if not done right, etc.

    Basically, you have to try it for yourself, but have all the tools/tips/hints/tricks at your disposal. I've been running my business for 5 years, and a.m. cardio is a staple of ALL of my clients, and I can assure you no one is f*cking themselves up in any negative manner by doing what I tell them to do.

    Then again, I have their ENTIRE diet/training/cardio protocol customized for them, but my point is that it's VERY effective and is a very valuable tool.

    ~SC~
    Preach on brother.. I know as being one of your students that it is EXACTLY what Dr. Swole has ordered and it works.

    I owe you my new "fit" life and look!!

    Oldman

  15. #15
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    FranKieC is offline "AR's Pretty Boy"
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    Quote Originally Posted by freak_of_nature_86
    what if u take glutamine or amino acids before doing cardio first thing in the morning on a empty stomach, will u be able to keep the muscle ?
    That would be a good idea.

  16. #16
    gooroo's Avatar
    gooroo is offline Associate Member
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    out of 19 thousand posts by you I cant find it SC. I wish you would post the article you wrote about am cardio

  17. #17
    Flexor is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by gooroo
    out of 19 thousand posts by you I cant find it SC. I wish you would post the article you wrote about am cardio
    I just did an advanced search for threads in which SwoleCat posted, containing the words 'morning' and 'cardio. I got 12 matches, and he posted in every single one of these about AM cardio.

    http://67.18.108.244/search.php?searchid=2439161

    This link may not work, but here you go anyway. Try the search yourself bro

  18. #18
    gooroo's Avatar
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    Thats cool an all but I thought swole had one he wrote soley for that purpose, I dont see that.

  19. #19
    Flexor is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by gooroo
    Thats cool an all but I thought swole had one he wrote soley for that purpose, I dont see that.
    Its not on this board at least. It would likely be a sticky if he had posted an article on AM cardio and it would be here in the workout and cardio forum.

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