5 Fasted Cardio Mistakes – KILLING GAINS

You’re looking for a way to burn fat faster and you stumble upon this idea of training in a fasted state.

So now you’re excited because you think you can just burn a bunch of extra fat from your workouts by incorporating more cardio sessions on an empty stomach with no side effects.

And even though the research on this topic is mixed with some studies showing that you can, in fact, burn fat faster by exercising on an empty stomach and

other studies showing that you can’t, I fully agree that there are ways that you can use fasted training and fasting, in general, to help burn fat faster.

But what effect does fast cardio have on your muscle mass? I mean even if your main goal is to burn body fat, most of you are looking to not only decrease your body fat percentage but your also looking to improve your overall body composition.

To do that, not only do you need to lower your body fat percentage, but you also need to increase your lean body mass over time.

And even though chances are very high that you won’t be losing muscle mass just by throwing in a few fasted cardio sessions into your routine the right way,

Check out my client Ali’s transformation where he lost a whole bunch of muscle.

there are 5 major mistakes that will make it much harder for you to gain and even preserve muscle mass.

In fact, some of the mistakes that I’m about to go over can definitely lead to the catabolism or the breakdown of muscle mass ultimately slowing your progress.

So I want to go over these 5 fasted cardio training mistakes that you should avoid so you can reach your ideal body composition with fewer road bumps along the way.

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Let’s start with one of the worst mistakes you can make that will lead to muscle loss and that’s doing fasted cardio in combination with severely restricting calories.

Now as extreme and rare as this might sound I want to make it clear that this is actually a very common problem that most regular everyday people trying to burn fat run into.

So many people notice that they gained some weight and all they can think about is getting it off as fast as possible.

Rather than being practical, they try to do everything at once. They try fasting, when they’re not fasting they still try to continue keeping calories really low,

and then on top of all that they add in fasted cardio workouts to try to speed up fat loss even more.

This happens more often than not because most people don’t treat being fit as a lifestyle and instead urgently race to get fit at the last second when… shit hits the fan.

In this process of cutting calories in an unintelligent way, basically, crash dieting they wind up getting significantly less protein in per day.

Essential Amino Acids are called essential for a reason, if you don’t get enough essential amino acids from your diet your body will cannibalize your muscles to get them.

This was actually double the protein losses that occurred when compared to the fed training group.

Now, burning some extra protein from your fasted cardio workouts isn’t going to be that big of a deal if you’re eating a well-balanced diet,

but if you’re combining fasted cardio sessions with a crash diet, which as I said is very common then this could definitely lead to muscle loss.

This is especially true since multiple studies support increasing your protein intake higher and higher as you decrease calories lower and lower in order to preserve muscle during a cut.

So the solution is obvious don’t combine crash dieting or even aggressive dieting with a ton of fasted cardio.

If you’re dead set on doing more fasted cardio then make sure that you’re only reducing calories from maintenance by no more than 20 to 25 percent.

If you want to do more of an aggressive diet where you’re reducing calories from maintenance by an amount greater than that then you should try to keep fasted cardio and cardio in general to a minimum to preserve more muscle mass.

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Let’s move on to the next mistake that won’t lead to major muscle loss like crash dieting, but it can definitely slow your rate of muscle growth.

This mistake is not having some form of protein either before or after a fasted workout which actually turns out to be ideal for building more muscle.

For a long time, it was believed that there was a short 30 to 60-minute anabolic window after a workout where you had to take in protein right away to prevent muscle loss.

This has been largely debunked and according to the studies having protein immediately after a workout isn’t as necessary as we once thought when you’re in a fed state.

However, if you’re training on an empty stomach with fasted cardio and you’re trying to gain muscle

research shows that having either a protein shake or a meal with protein sooner rather than later can help with muscle recovery and growth.

Now having a protein shake or a meal directly after a fasted workout isn’t going to skyrocket muscle gains alone.

The research clearly says that having protein after the fasted workout leads to a positive effect on the promotion of lean muscle growth, but this effect was minor, not major.

So the point is that if you want to increase protein synthesis and promote muscle growth having protein directly before a fasted workout is most beneficial and having it after a fasted workout can help with protein synthesis as well.

Next is a much bigger mistake which is performing excessive long duration cardio sessions while fasted.

Excessively long cardio sessions lasting more than 45 minutes to an hour, or greater than 5 days a week is not great for your body composition, your hormones, or your muscle mass.

And just to clarify, a glycogen depleted state is exactly the state you’ll be in when doing fasted cardio.

Now like I said a couple fasted cardio sessions will likely benefit you rather than hurt you, but if you go overboard with longer and longer cardio sessions the more you’ll have a negative effect on muscle strength and growth.

This isn’t the only problem with doing too much cardio. Whether fasted or not, doing excessive amounts of cardio has been shown to decrease testosterone levels and increase cortisol levels.

Negatively effecting your hormones in this way is bad for both building muscle and burning fat. Excessive cardio also leads to overuse injuries especially to the lower body,

and over training itself whether caused by weight training or cardio can lead to muscle loss. Another thing to consider is if you do too much fasted cardio throughout the week

you’ll be in a state of exhaustion and you won’t have the energy you need to move the heavy weight loads required to build muscle effectively.

Substituting your long duration steady state cardio sessions to high intensity interval training is another great way to keep your fasted cardio sessions short but effective.

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In either case, make sure that the amount of cardio you’re doing in combination with the number of calories you’re eating isn’t negatively affecting your resistance training sessions.

And this actually leads me right to the next mistake performing fasted cardio before weight training.

Those of you that have watched some of my other videos know that I’m a big fan of doing cardio after weight training, but I couldn’t move against the idea of doing it in reverse.

The reason is that if you do fast cardio before your weight training session you’re going to burn any leftover stored glycogen in your muscles and your liver before you switch over to primarily oxidizing fat for energy.

That stored glycogen is the fuel that your body needs to get you through an intense weight training workout.

If you do fast cardio before you lift weights you’re going to be much weaker during that workout.

If you’re trying to cut or lose body fat you should know that the number one training stimulus to prevent muscle loss during a cut is to maintain as much strength as possible throughout that cut.

Well doing fasted cardio before weights will definitely not help you maintain strength, in fact, it’ll probably accelerate losses in strength.

Now if you’re eating at a caloric surplus because you’re not trying to burn fat, but instead you’re trying to build muscle doing fasted cardio before weights won’t help you either.

This is because the number one training stimulus for muscle growth is progressive overload. Which is progressively increasing the volume and intensity of your workouts.

Again burning out all your glycogen stores before lifting weights definitely won’t help you increase the volume of that workout.

Bottom line if you want to do fasted cardio and weight training together save the cardio for after weight training.

This brings me right to the final mistake, trying to burn fat by only sticking to fasted cardio without also doing weight training.

This is a sure way to lose muscle mass and you definitely won’t be gaining much muscle with this kind of training strategy.

If you only do fasted cardio sure you’ll be burning fat, but your body also has no reason to keep metabolically expensive muscle mass around.

Especially since carrying more muscle mass will cause you to weigh more which typically will reduce your efficiency at performing most cardio workouts.

As you lose weight your cardio workouts will burn fewer calories per session and In the process of losing muscle your metabolism will slow down, which will be very counterproductive even if you don’t care about muscle mass and you’re only focused on burning fat.

Weight training also provides many benefits for your testosterone, insulin, high, as well as a number of other hormones that fasted cardio won’t be able to do alone.

If you want to improve your body composition you should definitely ensure that you’re incorporating a couple of days of weight training into your routine.

That’s it, I hope this Mistake has helped you out if you enjoyed it make sure you subscribe to the channel and hit that bell icon so you can get more free tips and tricks to help you build more muscle and burn more fat.

Also for those of you that are looking for a done for your program that will help you burn fat & build muscle faster than ever visit my website where we’re running challenges designed to help you build muscle and burn fat faster than ever in only 6 weeks. You get a workout plan, a custom diet plan, as well as an accountability coach to help mentor and guide you through the entire process.

This takes all the guesswork out and helps you hit your goals without any of the grueling trial and error that just wastes time. On average the clients that have a goal of losing body fat during our 6-week challenge are losing 20 pounds, or 5 percent of their body fat and those that do the muscle building program are gaining 5 percent lean mass in only 6 weeks.

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My passion for fitness began when I was 14 years old. I naturally fell in love with training and haven’t stopped since. At 18 years I acquired my first personal training certification from ACE after which I opened my first of 3 transformation studios in 2011. I love to share my knowledge through personal training, my online courses, and youtube channel now with over 3,000,000 subscribers! I can happily say that we've helped over 15,000 people get in great shape over the years. I'm always here for my customers so if you need help don't hesitate to send your questions to support@gravitychallenges.com

Founder // Gravity Transformation, Max Posternak

The next mistake is to not consume some kind of protein after your workout. Now even though this mistake alone will likely not lead to major muscle loss, studies show that

Meta Analysis Showing Fasted Training Can Help with Fat Oxidation


Protein losses can exceed 10 percent of the total calories burned over the course of a one-hour fasted cardio session. Double the protein burnt when compared to fed training.



Research showing that when you cut you should try to have more protein;


Anabolic Window Debunked:


Role of Amino Acids During Recovery After Fasted vs Fed Training


Taking Protein Before a Fasted Workout Lead to Higher Protein Synthesis


Longer Cardio Sessions Lead to Less Strength & Muscle Gains


Too much training in a glycogen depleted state can increase muscle loss


Elevated Cortisol In Endurance Athletes



Decreased Testosterone in Extreme Endurance Athletes


Muscle Breakdown Rates Increase after fasted training:


Weight Training Builds More Muscle Than Cardio and Provides Many Other Benefits