Today we go over the different times of the day, and the different scenarios to perform cardio for optimized weight-loss.
Afternoon after eating carbohydrates
This would have to be the least optimum time of the day to do cardio, as you’ll be more likely to burn carbohydrates as your energy source rather than liberating fat storage. If there is sufficient glycogen in the muscle the body will always use that before eating into fat stores.
Afternoon after not eating carbohydrates during the day
This is much more preferable, essentially you’re not going to be burning up stored glycogen & fat will be your primary source of energy. This is normally a great time to do high intensity cardio. It’ll be hard than if you have had carbs, but easier than doing it fasted.
Post workout (after resistance training) is more of a preference thing – for some people it works great, and it is sub optimum for some.
If trying to gain muscle or reduce muscle wastage, this isn’t the optimal time, as performing resistance training you force “x” amount of blood and nutrients into the muscle, by performing cardio after training upper body this draws blood away from the muscle just trained, which reduces the swelling affect more rapidly (which had been linked with muscle hypertrophy aka muscle growth), which is not ideal. Another reason is that if you do resistance training away fro your cardio you’ll be getting 2 spikes per day from an increased heart rate which I believe is more effective, as after any sort of training your body will have high EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which means your body will burn more fat for hours after training or cardio, although this is more so the case after resistance training or HIIT Cardio.
Alternatively if you’re not as concerned with retaining every last gram of muscle that you can, fasted cardio can be effective specifically for this reason. After weight training if you’re eating a calorie deficit you’ll likely be rather depleted of muscle glycogen post workout, making it a good time to eat into fat storage & liberate fat as an energy source, making fat burning more effective.
Fasted cardio (before breakfast)
Fasted cardio has been done for years by many high profile bodybuilders, fitness competitors & people trying to drop body fat, and for good reason.
When performing cardio on an empty stomach when the body is glycogen depleted your body is going to eat away at stored body fat & liberate that as your energy source.
Also another benefit is that it will help peak your cortisol in the morning, which will help wake you up. In turn your cortisol should drop lower at night & hopefully will bottom out even more so while you’re sleeping to ensure a better/more relaxing sleep & better cortisol regulation. This will lead to less body fat than someone that has chronically high cortisol.
At the end of the day the cardio that you’ll do & enjoy is the best, but if you’re looking for that extra edge use these tips.