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I read that you should not eat before or after a cardio workout to assist weight loss (ie. perform cardio in a fasted state). Is this true?

I really have to disagree with the information that you have read on this issue.  It seems to be a very common belief that exercising in a fasted state, or not eating after exercise will be of benefit to your weight loss goals.  However it can be extremely detrimental.

Exercising in a fasted state does require you to break down tissue from your body (simply because you don't have any nutritional fuel available).  The tissue that will be broken down will be a combination of fat and muscle tissue.  The breakdown of muscle tissue can be of great concern - as this will reduce the amount of calories required per day (ie. your basal metabolic rate) and thus slow down your weight loss progress.

Another factor to consider when exercising in a fasted state is the level of intensity you can invest.  If you're running on an empty-tank (so to speak), then you are going to feel relatively tired and fatigued.  Therefore you cannot put as much effort into your workout.  As a result, less energy in means less calories expended.  Less calories expended means that less fat is burnt as a result.

Consuming food after your workout is undoubtedly one of the most important times of the day to eat.  Essentially a workout places undue stress upon your body.  This physical stress forces your body to change (eg. weight loss, increased fitness etc.).  Now if you don't allow your body to recover from the stress that it must endure, this can have significant effects upon your progress.  You may feel excessively fatigued, nauseous, dizzy etc.  You can become extremely run down and as a result your immune system can become very weak.  This is because your body does not have access to the right nutrients in order to repair itself effectively.  Plus, the lack of recovery as a result of this starvation will inhibit the intensity of future workouts.

I have a few articles available on Amino Z for further information on this subject which you may find of interest:

Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio

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