Does Fasted Cardio Work?


Fasted Cardio

Over my 15-year fitness career, my axiom has always been that people should not take my cardio classes without eating beforehand. The rationale for my training is that the body needs the energy source of carbs to for an effective workout that will allow one to get their heart rate to a necessary fat burning zone. Not having enough fuel for your body means, that you won’t get the most out of your workout.

Several months ago a friend lamented about the lack of weight loss to her trainer, he responded that she run on the treadmill in the morning before eating. It sounded like a way to shock the body short-term, but not a long-term solution. This response goes against my intuitive logic so I’ve decided to research this practice known as “fasted cardio.”

This fat burning routine historically has been the secret of body builders looking to maximize leanness. The science or definition of fasted cardio is that performing cardio exercises on an empty stomach forces the body to break down stored fats in order to fuel the work out. In this situation, your insulin level is low and will not interfere with lipolysis (fat burning process), thus allowing you to access and burn more stored body fat for fuel.

When we eat food, it gets broken down into various molecules that our cells can use, and these molecules are released into the blood. Insulin is released as well, and its job is to shuttle these molecules into cells. Depending on how much food you eat in a meal, your insulin levels can remain elevated for several hours (anywhere from 3 – 6+).

When the body is digesting and absorbing what we’ve eaten, it is in a “fed” or “postprandial” state (prandial means “having to do with a meal”), raising insulin levels. Once it has finished processing and absorbing the nutrients, insulin levels drop to a “minimum” low (or “baseline” level), and the body enters a “fasted” or “post-absorptive” state. Every day our body moves between “fed” and “fasted” (or “postprandial” and “post absorptive”) states.

Higher insulin levels means the body will use less fat for energy (both body fat and dietary fat). Consequently, when we eat food the body basically shuts down its fat-burning mechanisms and lives off the energy provided by the meal, and it also stores a portion of the excess energy as body fat for later use. As your body processes and absorbs the food, insulin levels decline, which tells the body to start going to fat for energy as the “fuel” from the meal is running out. Finally, when the absorption is complete, your body is fully running off its own fat stores for energy, which means fasted cardio if we are exercising in this state.

Does Fasted Cardio Work?

A recent study from the UK published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” did find that when subjects were fasted during morning cardio they burned 20 percent more fat than when they had a meal beforehand. However this loss was during exercise not during the critical post exercise stage when metabolism gains are most important.

Overall most studies bear out that there is no significant fat loss or weight loss from the fasted cardio practice. In a controlled study for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine (, twenty young females, all healthy and with recent aerobic training experience (but not resistance training) were divided into two groups. All participants were prescribed the same calorie-restricted diet along with the same steady-state cardio routine. The only variable was that one group (FED) would be given a shake before performing cardio, while the other (FASTED) would wait to consume the shake post-workout. The study showed that everyone lost fat primarily because of supervised dietary restriction and mandatory exercise. Another study confirmed that although fasted runs may help adapt the body to more efficiently burn fat as fuel, they didn’t help athletes lose weight or improve their aerobic conditioning or endurance.

Then there is the study that suggests (more…)

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The Total Gym Plyometric Squat Challenge For All Levels

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Plyometric Squat Workout– Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Progressions

Bathing suit season is here and it is time to tone up those legs, thighs, and glutes! Let’s get down to business and discuss how plyometric squats performed on the Total Gym can help get you there. Plyometrics, performed properly, are a great way to increase quad and hamstring strength, tone muscles and increase stamina to help get you through a busy day.

Let’s take a look at how plyometric squats can be performed at a beginner, intermediate and advanced level – keeping you challenged and motivated for weeks to come. Remember it is always good to set goals and keep challenging yourself as you progress to go to the next level while having some fun in the process!

Before you begin this workout, just a quick reminder on the importance of a proper warm-up. Make sure you take a few minutes to get your muscles warm and heart rate up before performing these exercises. This may involve a quick ten-minute walk/jog around the block or some basic squats with arm raises on the Total Gym.

Starting Position:
Make sure to disconnect the pulley from the glideboard and properly store it behind the tower. Now push the glideboard halfway up the rails, straddle the rails, and sit at the bottom edge facing away from the tower. Place your feet on the squat stand, positioned shoulder width apart. Slowly lie back, ensuring your head is fully supported by the glideboard and any hair/ponytails are tucked underneath your head to avoid it getting caught under the glideboard.

Plyo-Squats for Beginners

With your Total Gym set on a lower level you are going to release your feet off the glideboard as you move smoothly up and down the rails. As you go up and down the rails visualize your feet landing in the same place on the squat stand. Now change the position of your feet by pointing your toes out to the right and left. This will challenge different muscle groups muscles and tone those inner thighs. Keep things interesting by placing your feet and ankles together like you are skiing down a mountain. As you release both feet at the same time try and land softly on the squat stand by decelerating through the range of motion.

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Make Time, Not Excuses, For Working Out

make time

Finding Time To Work Out In Your Busy Everyday Life

  • I just don’t have time to exercise with my new baby.
  • I’m in college and don’t have time to exercise.
  • I’ve got all these kids I have to carpool—I don’t have time to exercise.
  • My time-management skills suck and I never find the time to get to the gym.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Not having time to exercise is the number one excuse people give for not working out.

However, there’s nothing better than exercise to improve your health, mood, stress level, brain fitness, memory, learning skills, attention and concentration, weight management, sleep, energy, productivity, self-esteem, relationships, and even your sex life. Want some motivation? When inactive people increase physical activity just 15 minutes a day, they reduce the risk of premature death by 14% and increase life expectancy by three years. Fifteen minute bursts of exercise every day for three years of life is not a bad trade off!

Optimizing your life to be balanced and healthy requires that you make time for exercise and physical activity. Motivation often starts for an external reason and quickly moves into something deeply internal — “I want to fit into that dress for our daughter’s wedding” turns into “I want to see my grandchildren someday.” So, another way to have more time is to reconsider how you think about your time, and what you consider to be exercise.

Find Time For Exercise While in College


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Picking Produce: 3 Questions for Getting it Right


How to Choose the Best Produce

No matter if you are Paleo, Vegetarian, Raw, Vegan or generally trying to eat well, fresh produce is the foundation of any healthy diet. However, choosing the best produce can sometimes be overwhelming and oftentimes goes bad before you can even use it. Next time you are at the grocery store, ask yourself these three questions to make sure that you are choosing the best produce.

How Far Has My Produce Travelled?

When produce is first harvested, it is the freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious that it will ever be. When produce is grown locally it has to travel a shorter distance and gets to your grocery store more quickly. It will be more flavorful, nutrient dense and last longer after you buy it. Buying produce that’s in season is more likely to be local and fresh. Shopping at your local farmers’ market is a great way to ensure that your produce is local and in season. Grocery stores will also organize the produce that is in season so that it is at the front and it is typically on sale!

When Am I Going to Eat This Produce?

Even when stored correctly, some produce will spoil much more quickly than others. This doesn’t mean that you have to make multiple trips to the store, but rather organize your cooking so that you eat the more perishable produce early on. I absolutely love this weekly guide developed by Marita Cantwell, PhD, a postharvest specialist at the University of California, Davis. It is based on a Sunday shopping trip and assumes all of the produce is ripe:

EAT FIRST:  Sunday to Tuesday

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Tips For Getting A Six Pack

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Tips For Getting A Six Pack

Summer is just around the corner –  it’s time to bring out the swimsuits! Of course we all want to look our best and one of the best features to showcase at the beach are “six pack” abs. Joining us once again on Total Gym Pulse is fitness trainer John Peel to give us some great tips on how to get a six pack using The Total Gym.


The first exercise John demonstrates is a plank. With your feet on the floor and arms on the glideboard position yourself horizontally. Make sure to keep your back straight to prevent yourself from injuring your lower back. From here, move your arms forward and move back and forth with the glide board. Go for 15-20 reps and if you can’t move the glide board, simply hold the plank position in place.


Next, John gets to the side of The Total Gym and places one elbow on the glideboard and stacks his feet on top of each other. Keep your hips up high as this exercise works the obliques. (more…)

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6 Fitness Apps To Get The Most Out of Your Workouts

best fitness apps

Reviews Of The 6 Best Fitness Apps

Is there anything you don’t know about your body’s health and fitness functioning? Free fitness apps and those that cost a premium can inform you of your blood pressure, steps walked, stress level, floors climbed, hours of sleep, heart rate, indeed, the myriad of the 211 million complex fitness analytics and refined health apps out there can help you keep track of more than 150 parameters of your body’s functioning. It seems that just like everyone knows exactly how much gas they have in their cars, the explosion of fitness apps and trackers now keep you as informed about your body as your car—and actually far more informed.

There is some recent data out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Integrated Innovation Institute that suggests that 66% of people who maintain a healthy diet find fitness apps and trackers helpful to monitor diet and exercise, but 67% of people who don’t maintain a healthy diet don’t find apps helpful. This seems to suggest that the apps provide the most motivation and help for those already healthy!

I’ve scoured the wearable market, spoken with some of the country’s top fitness gurus, checked in with fit tech folks and based on all of that, here are my top six recommendations:


  1. Radius – $9.99
  2. Want to view unlimited personalized workouts whenever you want, under the virtual guidance of celebrity trainers while tracking your progress? For $9.99 month, Radius will do just that for you.

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How to Use Total Gym’s Golf Core Grip Accessory

Total Gym Core Grip Golf accessory

The Father’s Day Total Gym Attachment Spotlight: Golf Core Grip

Hey Total Gym Team,

With the golf season in full swing and Father’s Day around the corner, the Total Gym Core Grip Workout System is the perfect gift for the man in your life. This accessory works seamlessly with your Total Gym and is guaranteed to improve your golf game.

The Core Grip Workout System attaches to your Total Gym cables, which allows you to emulate natural golf movements while maintaining a neutral grip that all great golfers aspire to.

My dad got me into golf when I was two years old and I have been in love with the game ever since. When I began my fitness training career, I tried everything I could think of to help my golf clients; it wasn’t until I used the Total Gym eleven years ago that I realized its potential in this area. The best benefit of the Total Gym is functional training. The Golf Core Grip takes the best benefit of the Total Gym, functional training, to a new level.

Check out the video to learn some exercises that strengthen AND improve your core flexibility.

5 Reasons To Fall In Love with The Golf Core Grip

  • Wrist Strength and Stability
    If you look at the big hitters, they all have well developed forearms. From old-school players like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to modern day bombers like Dustin Johnson, a powerful wrist release through impact creates more club head speed, which equates to more distance. Improving your wrists and forearms strength is huge for those moments when you miss the fairway, by giving you the power to get through the rough with maximum force.
  • (more…)

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How to Pack the Perfect Healthy Picnic

How to Pack the Perfect Healthy Picnic


It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy the great outdoors and get some sunshine; it’s good for your soul and your waistline. Take some time to enjoy a nice hike, a swim in the river, or just a casual stroll with your loved one. While you’re at it, take a healthy picnic lunch with you, customized for your event, with these great tips.

Planning For A Picnic With Kids

Taking kids into the great outdoors can be a fun and simple way to help them get plenty of exercise this summer. Along with the sunscreen, be sure to bring some healthy, portable, kid-friendly snacks that they can grab and run with during their adventure. Be sure to plan a variety of choices for different taste buds, but these don’t have to be elaborate.

A simple picnic for kids can include some sandwich choices packed on whole grain bread, small sized fruits such as mandarin oranges, grapes or raisin boxes, and some carrots and celery with dip. A good drink option is a juice box that has been frozen ahead of time, which then doubles as ice while being transported. Be sure to read labels though, opting for products that are 100% juice.

Enjoying A Picnic For Two

Whether you’ve been married for years or just getting to know that special someone, why not plan a picnic date this summer? Summer picnics can be quite romantic. You can easily find a scenic spot to grill out using a cheap portable grill.

An easy recipe to make in the great outdoors is this cucumber ranch steak from Beef; It’s What’s for Dinner. Simply season your steak and dice your veggies before leaving home and pack your ingredients in small containers. Don’t forget to include a steak knife on your picnic list!

Cucumber Ranch Steaks (downsized for two)

  • 2 ranch steaks or small ribeye steaks
  • ¼ cup deseeded diced cucumbers
  • 2 Tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 1½ tsp. garlic pepper seasoning
  • ½ small tomato, diced, optional

Combine cucumber and dressing in small bowl. Set aside. Press garlic-pepper seasoning evenly onto steaks. Place steaks on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 11 minutes (over medium on preheated gas grill, times remain the same) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Serve steaks with cucumber sauce. Garnish with tomato, if desired.

To round out your picnic meal, pack some diced potatoes in water with fruit fresh (to keep from browning), then season and wrap in foil at your picnic site; these can be cooked right on the grill. Uncork a bottle of wine and enjoy your romantic evening.

How To Keep Your Picnic Safe And Nutritious


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The Ultimate Guide to Working Out While Traveling

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Exercises To Go

Summer time…

The thought of memories and anticipation is what keeps you going all year long.  It’s the most exhilarating season when sunlight beams around you and the excitement of a getaway awaits you!

During this time, many people are out of their homes and traveling to see family, friends, or a new destination. This is all great, but it can often take over your usual fitness routine if you let it! Staying active can be easier than you think when traveling.

Working out on the road can be simple if you plan ahead and have options of things to do in the environment you’re in. The most important thing is to stay motivated and take care of yourself when on your getaway! Remember, life keeps going when you return to reality.

Here are some things to think about prior to your travels:

    1. Reset Your Expectations- Be realistic! You’re not likely to keep up with your full fitness regimen while on vacation, but doing something is better than nothing.
    2. Do Your Homework- Take some time to investigate the place and area you are traveling to. Discover what activities are offered that will help you get some exercise.
    MapMyRun App in Spain!
    MapMyRun App in Spain!
    1. Get Adventurous- There are many options to include fitness in your day. Plan to rent a bike, kayak, surfboard or rollerblades to explore and burn calories simultaneously.
    2. Come Prepared- Pack your bag with some workout gear and comfortable shoes. Then you have no excuse!
    3. Fitness & Travel Apps- Using a fitness app could keep you on track while away. Whether it’s for a running path, a quick workout, or a step counter, it can come in handy when you need extra motivation. 

    Travel Trends, Ideas, and Tips

    Here are some travel trends, ideas, and simple ways to keep healthy and active without spending too much time in the process.

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    Energy Boosting Meals For Your Workout Day

    Energy Boosting Meals For Your Workout Day
    by CleanFoodCrush

    Joining us today on Total Gym Pulse is Rachel Maser of Clean Food Crush here to give you some amazing energy boosting recipes to get you through the workout day.

    Wild Blueberry & Almond Oatmeal

    This can be assembled the night before, covered with plastic wrap, then refrigerated. Simply remove plastic wrap, and bake in the morning while you prepare for your day!

    wild blueberry almond oatmeal
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit)
    For 1 serving combine theses ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
    • 4 egg whites(preferred for this recipe) or 1 whole large egg
    • 8 Tbsp unsweetened almond or coconut milk
    • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
    • 1/8 tsp vanilla or almond extract
    • 10 drops liquid stevia, a pinch of granulated stevia, OR sweetener of choice (YOUR personal preference).


    1. Combine ingredients, pour into a larger cereal sized glass (oven safe) dish, coated with coconut oil.
    2. Add 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries, on top. (You can also sprinkle 1 additional Tbsp sliced almonds on top if desired)
    3. Set the dishes on a flat sheet pan.
    4. Bake for 23-25 minutes in your preheated 375 degree oven.
    5. Enjoy.

    Spicy Lettuce Wraps (Make with Chicken or Turkey)

    spicy lettuce wraps

    Very simple, very delicious!
    To get the recipe CLICK HERE!

    Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp with Strawberry-Mango Salsa

    Serves 4-6

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