Morning Cardio: Yes or No?
It's a highly debated topic: whether to do your cardiovascular training in the morning on an empty stomach or some other time throughout the day when your energy levels are high enough for you to get a super-intense workout done. While there seem to be obvious benefits for both of them, you need to choose what is right for you.
Early morning cardio requires that you do not eat anything before performing your thirty minute session. A glass of water is permitted but absolutely nothing else. The idea behind this theory is that because there is no stored glycogen, which is the body's preferred choice of energy, the body will tap into fat stores to provide the energy for the workout.
Let's discuss the actual scientific facts behind this theory:
Although you prefer to have more muscle on your body due to aesthetic reasons, the body prefers to have an excess of fat. Fat is not energy costly meaning that it doesn't require calories to sustain itself and is slower burning - the perfect means of survival. Muscle will always be burned before fat in cases where there is no direct energy source to tap into.
That is the catch: although glycogen stores are depleted due to the fasting that took place [during your sleep phase], your body will not go directly to fat stores for energy. It will begin by burning your muscle, a process called catabolism before reaching into your fat stores. This is an unhealthy state to put your body in unnecessarily.
Having a small meal before your cardio session would save your hard earned muscle and up your actual cardio intensity. By providing immediate fuel for your body, you will be able to put more effort into your workout, giving you a better "payout" in terms of how much fat and calories you are able to burn in one session.
Fueling your body before your workout also helps by increasing your metabolism for a brief time after you've eaten. So, not only are you giving your body additional fuel to work out harder than you could without it, you will also get your metabolism going so you burn more calories (from working out and from digesting your food).
So, performing early morning cardio workouts is a great way to start your mornings, just don't do it on an empty stomach.