Burning fat is a top priority for most of the people hitting the gym, even surpassing building lean muscle mass. It seems with all of the sweet treats and amazing food in developed countries it’s getting harder and harder to stay lean and chiseled.
Since creating a calorie surplus and lifting heavy weights is a surefire way to stack on pounds of solid lean muscle mass, it becomes much more challenging for most guys to burn fat efficiently than to naturally build lean muscle mass.
There are many fat burning strategies, but possibly none more powerful than fasted cardio to achieve a very lean physique and six-pack abs.
Bodybuilders and fitness models practice fasted cardio as a primary weapon to maintain less than 10% body fat.
The main concept behind fasted cardio is that you are burning calories on an empty stomach, which is helping you burn pure fat.
Fasted cardio can be a very powerful form of cardio for body composition changes, but there are certainly a few rules of thumb that you have to follow if you want to maximize fat burning and ensure you don’t lose any lean muscle mass.
When you practice fasted cardio the proper way and combine it with the most effective form of fat burning cardio, you actually get tons of awesome hormonal benefits from it.
The techniques in this article are going to help you turn into a fat burning and muscle building machine while simultaneously increasing your testosterone and human growth hormone levels. This is the perfect storm for rapid body composition changes and achieving an aesthetic looking physique.
The main reason that fasted cardio turns you into a fat burning machine is because you are training when insulin levels are low, which is the state you HAVE to be in if you want to burn body fat.
After you consume carbohydrates and fast, digesting protein sources spike your insulin levels. These insulin levels can be elevated for 4-6 hours, depending on the quantity and kind of carbohydrates you consume. Check out this study on elevated insulin levels following a meal.
Although insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone that can help you build lean muscle mass, you also need to alternate with low periods of insulin to go into a fat burning mode.
The higher that your insulin levels are when you’re in a fed state, the less your body will use fat cells for energy. This means that you will not be able to burn any body fat.
When your body is fed and doesn’t need anything, it has no reason to burn excess fat cells for energy. In order to trick our body into a major fat burning mode, we train when insulin levels are extremely low.
The best time to perform fasted cardio is first thing in the morning when you get up because you are obviously in a fasted state from the night before. If you want to take your fat burning to the next level, make sure you don’t eat within 14-16 hours of your fasted cardio session.
High-intensity interval training blows away all other forms of cardio in a fasted state when you are trying to burn the maximum amount of fat.
High-intensity interval training has numerous benefits when you perform it in a fasted state.
The main reason it is so useful for maximizing fat burning and maintaining muscle mass is that you can keep your cardio sessions short. It also has incredible anabolic hormone benefits.
Several studies conducted by Laval University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of New South Wales, and Western Ontario have concluded that blood serum, testosterone, and human growth hormone levels were elevated following high-intensity interval training.
This means that high-intensity interval training can actually help you build lean muscle mass when in a fasted state.
When it comes to the most powerful form of body composition training, high-intensity interval training in a fasted state takes the cake. This is the cardio of choice for fitness models and elite athletes and can no doubt help just about any guy quickly burn body fat.
High-intensity interval training simply means that you are working your body’s fast twitch muscle fibers, which are used in maximum intensity and explosion exercises such as sprinting, jumping, and weight lifting.
Most guys perform high-intensity interval training by running sprint intervals. You can also perform high-intensity interval training by doing squat jumps, burpees, air jumps, jumping rope, defensive slide shuffles, and many more bodyweight exercises that utilize the fast twitch muscle fibers.
The most effective form of high-intensity interval training for fat burning seems to be running sprint intervals. This means that you are sprinting at 100% maximum intensity for a set amount of time, followed by a short rest period. You will continue repeating this for the duration of the workout.
A typical high-intensity interval training workout will consist of 8-16 intervals depending on your level of anaerobic conditioning.
Remember: just because you can run for long distances does not mean that you will have great endurance with high-intensity interval training.
Running, biking, and swimming for long periods of time at moderate intensity is a form of aerobic cardio working the body’s slow twitch muscle fibers.
Remember that the whole reason that HIIT is so effective is that it is working your body’s fast twitch muscle fibers, which have tons of metabolism and hormonal benefits.
Here is how an intermediate HIIT workout would look running sprint intervals. Note that this workout does not take very long to complete and is way more effective at burning fat than typical cardio, which is solely aerobic training.
Aerobic training does not burn as much fat even though you are exercising for longer because you do not stimulate any anabolic hormonal response from working the slow twitch muscle fibers, and there is also no “afterburn” effect where you have a high metabolism following exercise.
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