If you’re new to the world of fitness competitions, one of the first challenges you will face – before you even pick up a set of barbells – is deciding on the right workout regimen. And, believe it or not, figure competition training can actually get pretty contentious. Perhaps one of the most surprisingly controversial practices is fasted cardio.

Fasted cardio typically means that you’ll spring out of bed and hit the gym without so much as an energy bar to fuel your efforts. There are few people who would be immediately drawn to this idea, but the rationale is that, by working out on an empty stomach, your body will draw from existing fat stores, rather than simply burning through the calories you just consumed.

And, according to industry experts, that is absolutely true. Your body will inevitably be forced to target these stubborn pockets of fat if it has nothing else to run on.

However, one of the big concerns about this method is that it may eventually start to work away at your lean muscle mass as well – and who wants that after you’ve spent so much time toning up? The fact is that is a risk to this kind of cardio. But, you can keep muscle loss to a minimum simply by checking the intensity of your pre-breakfast workout.

So, what is your top priority – burning off fat or building up muscle? The answer to that question should help you determine if fasted cardio is the right choice for you. Just keep in mind that some events, like bikini competitions, actually call for a more feminine physique, so a bit of extra fat might be a good thing!

Whatever workout routine you go with, it’s important to give your body the time (and energy) to recover. Oxygen magazine urges aspiring competitors to eat soon after every training session to help their bodies bounce back from the strain.


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