Fasted Cardio vs Fed Cardio [KEY Difference]

The main difference between fasted cardio and fed cardio is the timing of your meals. Fasted cardio means that you work out shortly after a fast, while fed cardio means that you work out on a full stomach.

In this post, we’ll look at whether these two activities are as dissimilar as we believe they are.

What is Fasted Cardio?

Fasted cardio is the act of doing cardio right after an overnight fast.

The idea behind fasted cardio is that because fat burning increases when you haven’t eaten, the body will burn more calories during exercise, leading to greater weight loss.

People who do fasted cardio usually do it in the morning, after they have fasted all night long. This means no food or drink is consumed before the workout.

The idea is that when you work out without having anything in your system your body uses fat as its energy source instead of sugar from the food you’ve eaten earlier in the day.

It also increases ketone levels in the body, which can help suppress hunger and increase energy expenditure.

What are the Benefits of Fasted Cardio?

Fasted cardio has numerous benefits, including improved athletic performance and increased fat-burning potential.

It also helps improve mental health by reducing stress levels and promoting a healthier emotional state.

The benefits of fasted cardio include:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Improved body composition (more muscle and less fat)
  • Slower breakdown of muscle tissue that preserves muscle mass during weight loss.
  • Increased fat burning, increased muscle maintenance, and higher energy levels post-workout.

What is Fed Cardio?

Fed cardio is a type of exercise that involves the consumption of a meal before exercise. These workouts are typically done in the morning hours and often result in weight loss.

The primary objective of a fed cardio workout is to burn more calories during a workout, which can lead to weight loss.

This type of cardio has been shown to cause fat loss and weight loss. The theory behind it is that it helps your body burn calories more efficiently by increasing your metabolism.

Another reason fed cardio might work better than fasted for weight loss is because fasting can make you feel hungry and lead to reaching for unhealthy food options like sweets, snacks, etc., whereas fed cardio burns fat while you are sleeping which might decrease cravings.

What are the Benefits of Fed Cardio?

The benefits of performing cardio in a fed state are that the body is more efficient and the energy expenditure is more.

With the increased energy expenditure, more fat is burned and less muscle mass is lost which can be beneficial for weight loss.

The body releases serotonin, endorphins (natural morphine), and dopamine (which can make you feel like you’re in love) while doing cardio which reduces stress and helps to keep your mood stable.

It also allows people to feel content with their accomplishments which can also improve their self-esteem.

Cardio training in a fed state provides numerous benefits (listed above) that help improve mental health and overall well-being.

What is the Difference Between Fasted Cardio and Fed Cardio?

fasted cardio vs fed cardio

There are many misconceptions about the difference between fasted cardio and fed cardio. This includes whether or not you can eat before you exercise when to do it, and how many calories your body burns.

There is no need to worry about what type of cardio exercise plan is best for you. However, if you want to know what type of cardio is best for your goals, there are different types of aerobic activities that will help you achieve them.

Fasted cardio

Fasted cardio can be done without having any food within only a few hours before the exercise session. It is typically an endurance workout that lasts between 45-60 minutes. Fasted cardio is ideal for those who want to burn fat, improve cardiovascular health, and shed weight quickly.

  • Is more effective in the morning.
  • Builds lean muscle mass.
  • Increases metabolic rate throughout the day.
  • Helps with weight loss because it burns more fat cells.

Fed Cardio

Fed cardio has nutrients as it includes food intake right before exercising. It’s commonly done after a meal as it provides lots of energy to fuel the body with enough carbs and protein which also helps with muscle recovery after workouts.

The goal of a fed cardio workout is to burn more calories while keeping your blood sugar at a steady state. It consists of an endurance training session lasting between 60-90 minutes without any pre-workout consumption.

  • Can be done at any time of the day to increase energy levels or burn calories.
  • Requires less effort than fasted aerobic exercise.


In my perspective, the decision to exercise when fed or fasted is mostly one of comfort and convenience.

If you want to exercise first thing in the morning but, having a meal beforehand doesn’t fit into your schedule or you’re just not comfortable eating so early, eat after!

What matters is what we do frequently over time, so rather than focusing on the details, consider overall quantities of consumption against spending throughout a day, week, or month.

Consistency is essential in most aspects of life.

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