Cardio Exercise – Best Time To Do Cardio Workouts For Weight Loss

If I had to guess, I’d say that the most common question I get asked about cardio exercise has nothing to do with what type is best (steady state, interval training, etc.) or what form is best (jogging, cycling, etc.) but rather what TIME is best to do it for maximum weight loss benefits.

Now, this question implies two very important things that greatly influence my answer:

  1. First, that there actually is a certain time of the day to do cardio workouts that is somehow more effective in terms of burning fat and causing weight loss.
  2. And second, that there are then other times of the day that are less effective in terms of getting these same weight loss benefits from cardio exercise, and should therefore be avoided.

Because of these two implications, I really have two different answers to this question.

images-2The Technical Best Answer: Fasted Morning Cardio

Years ago, the only answer I ever gave to any questions about what time of the day was best for doing cardio exercise is this: first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (before eating/drinking anything).

This is what’s commonly referred to as fasted cardio, and the reason it was the only answer I gave is because it’s the answer that is, you know… true.

Various research (and real world experience) tends to show that the fat burning benefits of cardio exercise are slightly enhanced when the workouts are done fasted as opposed to doing them any other time of the day after eating.

Now, before you start waking up extra early to jump on the treadmill before breakfast, let me mention that the key word in the previous paragraph is “slightly.”

The fat burning benefits of doing cardio exercise in a fasted state don’t appear to be anywhere near as significant as most people incorrectly make it out to be. In fact, the more fat you have to lose, the less these benefits exist in the first place.

Which means in many cases, the advantages might not truly be big enough to warrant going out of your way to do these workouts fasted.

At the same time, while this might technically be the best time to do it in terms of weight loss, fasted morning cardio (specifically when done at the moderate to high intensity it usually is) is the worst way to do it in terms of performance (meaning it will be harder for most people if they don’t eat something first) and probably for maintaining muscle while losing fat as well.

Not to mention, doing these workouts first thing in the morning may not actually be doable for most people due to their schedules.

For these reasons, while it’s usually the most technically accurate answer to this question, it may not be the best answer. What is? Let’s find out…

The Real Best Answer: Whenever Is Most Convenient

And now for the answer I currently give most of the time when asked about the best time to do cardio exercise. Simply put… whenever it’s most convenient and sustainable for you.

Meaning, whenever is best for you and fits best in your schedule is going to be the time you’ll be most likely to consistently DO that cardio. Whenever that is for you, THAT’S when you should do it.

Why? Because honestly, just doing it in the first place is always what matters most. If you’re trying to force yourself to exercise at times that are inconvenient or just generally annoying for you, then guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to hate it and eventually stop doing it.

So knowing that the benefits of fasted morning cardio aren’t all that significant in the first place for most people, and adding in that it might not be ideal for your schedule and preferences, you may realize that it might not be worth trying to make work.

What Time Is REALLY Best For YOU?

Here’s what it comes down to. Fasted cardio may have some small fat burning benefits (mostly among people trying to go from lean to REALLY lean), but the key to getting any form of weight loss benefits from any form of cardio exercise is just actually doing those workouts in the first place.

So, whatever time of the day works best for you, your schedule, your life, and your preferences… that’s when you should do it. Whether that’s first thing in the morning in a fasted state or any other time of the day after eating however many meals, that’s for you to decide.

What matters most is that you actually get this cardio exercise done on a consistent basis. That’s always what’s going to produce the real weight loss results. When you do it is just a minor detail in comparison.


Cardio Exercise Definition And Benefits

Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Face it our bodies were made to move. And we all know that to keep our muscles in shape we need move them. This movement makes them stronger and stronger muscles make for a more efficient and healthy body. Your heart is a muscle. Therefore working it makes it stronger. A stronger cardio-vascular system means more capillaries delivering more oxygen to cells in your muscles. This enables your cells to burn more fat during both exercise and inactivity.
Cardio exercise uses large muscle movement over a sustained period of time keeping your heart rate to at least 50% of its maximum level. To obtain your Target Heart Rate check out our calculator at – calculators – Target Heart Rate. Sample cardio workouts would be walking, running, bike riding, and swimming, rowing and aerobic workouts. Workouts should cause moderate sweating. If you can’t finish a sentence while doing your workout you are going at it too hard. If you are having no trouble talking step it up. You need a minimum of 20 minutes of continued elevated pulse to get the best results at least 3 times a week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week. Cardio exercises will burn fat. Weight loss comes from burning more calories than you take in. Even when you see no specific weight loss you are getting great benefits from a cardio workout. Benefits: Weight Loss Stronger Heart and Lungs Increased Bone Density Reduces Stress Better Sleep More Energy Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease Teaches the Heart to Work More Efficiently Strengthens Heart & Lungs Increased Energy Levels for a More Active Lifestyle Reduction in Mood Swings & Depression In order to feel good now and in the future you need cardio exercise. It will not create 6 pack abs or tone problem areas but it will make your body more efficient in your day to day living.