Ask The Ripped Dude: How To Lose Those Last Few Pounds
No matter what I do, I can't lose those last few pounds of fat. I've tried everything! Help!
I know you're frustrated! Our bodies cling to those last couple pounds of fat like a baby clutches a bottle. There are many schools of thought on how to best burn stubborn body fat, but I've had the best results using empty-stomach cardio. I've used this method with my clients and on myself; I can honestly say it works.
Empty Stomach Science
Researchers at England's University of Birmingham did a study where they measured the fat-burning effects of eating and not eating prior to exercise. One group engaged in an hour-long cardio session without eating and the other group ate a small meal before their 1-hour cardio workout. Athletes who exercised on an empty stomach burned more fat than those who ate before hitting the treadmill. This extra fat loss occurs because your body doesn't have any carbohydrates to use for energy, so it'll tap your fat stores for battery power.
Slow Your Roll
While this information is great, it's important to remember that doing cardio on an empty stomach does not mean that you should go kill yourself on the track as soon as you get out of bed. Instead, make sure your fasted workout is steady-state cardio at about 60% between 20-and-30 minutes. If it exceeds half an hour, eat a piece of fruit. You won't have the strength and endurance to do high-intensity work and doing it might do more harm than good because you could end up losing lean muscle mass instead of fat.
If you do decide to try empty-stomach cardio, be mindful of your body. If you feel dizzy, are sweating excessively or feel nauseated, stop training! The "no pain no gain" mindset probably isn't the best one to have for this type of training. Dry-heaving never helped anyone.
If I Were Your Trainer
If you're struggling to lose the last bit of stubborn fat, your friendly neighborhood Ripped Dude has a plan for the last 4-to-6 weeks of your fat-loss plan:
- Try a 10 calorie-per-pound diet.
- Do empty stomach cardio for 20-to-30 minutes at a slow pace 4-or-5 times per week. Do this on top of your regular workout regimen.
- Monitor your weight and body-fat percentage each Monday morning. If you drop 1-to-2 pounds per week, keep going. If not, drop 100 calories from your diet until you are able to lose 1-to-2 pounds per week.
- Van Proeyen, Karen. Effects of training in the fasted state. "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise." June 2010.
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OK - now I am confused - every other day I read articles here always claiming the opposite and always referring to studies that prove they are right...EMPTY STOMACH CARDIO is just one of the topics...why is that so???
Many fitness and diet questions don't lend themselves to set-in-stone yes/no answers, in part because every human body is unique. Often there is conflicting research that takes years to tease out. Obi's take is based on his own experience, and it's worked wonders for him. You might try both approaches and see which of them works best for you. Let us know.
Walking a dog is fine for stead state cardio, but there are better LISS activities that will give you more results. For example, walking a dog up a steep hill for 20 minutes would get you farther. There can be value to using cardio machines, but I would never recommend it unless you can't really avoid it.
Research shows that empty state cardio does not improve or is better than doing cardio with carbs in you. what works for obi might not work for everyone. I personally follow the advice of Layne Norton who has a PhD in nutritional science and has clinical data showing empty state cardio is not superior. I've done both and personally have more energy and better results having some carbs an hour to an hour and half prior to my cardio. Try both ways and see what works and is better feeling.
You will find that you get much better and faster results doing HIIT workouts, specifically sprinting. Steady state cardio should only be recommended if your goal is to build longer lasting endurance (preparation for a race or something). If that's not your goal, I say it's a waste of time.
Most of my articles that I write are on HIIT cardio and I still I believe in that but empty stomach cardio I use as a last resort for stubborn pounds that are hard to lose and Ive used this on many clients and I've used it for myself the final couple of weeks before a photo-shoot if I am behind the 8 ball and I am struggling to lose the fat. You can do this cardio fast paced or slow steady space. It is hard to to it fast paced if you are doing cardio on an empty stomach.
Scientific studies are a great reference tool but it doesn't mean its the bible and I got this quote is from Dr. Jim Stoppani based on in depth conversations I've had him. The reason because the scientific studies are not done on all different fitness levels of people so the results at times can be skewed if you are conducting stuidies on overweight people as opposed to a highly conditioned person.
Try it out and see if it works for your body if it doesn't then do your HIIT cardio after weight-training which is always a great thing for fat loss which I alluded to in prior Ask The Ripped Dude articles. Again empty stomach cardio I advise as a last resort for fat loss if you are struggling to lose those last stubborn pounds. I do not advise to this to be a part of a regular cardio routine.
This is more of a last resort for your final 3 to 4 weeks before a competiition if you are behind the 8 ball in terms of your target fat loss goal for a photo-shoot or competition. Everybody's body is different so what works for me may not work for you but the only way to know if something works is to try it out. Working out and dieting is a trial and error process. You don't know unless you try it out and if doesn't work for you then try a different method. Good Luck everybody! Obi Obadike
I appreciate that you like to provide people with what works for you but you don't say things are set in stone. Empty stomach cardio may be a bad idea for some proven reasons, but that doesn't mean it won't still get results when other options have failed. I personally like to ingest about 12g of whey protein and then do my workout, drinking an 8oz. Gatorade for carbs and sodium if over 30 minutes. Thanks for your straightforward answers and opinions.
To answer Cikin questions I would split up my cardio. Do 3 times a week empty stomach cardio and do two times a week HIIT cardio...And try that out for a month and see how that works for you. If it doesn't work then sitck to HIIT cardio my man. Remember to never be afraid to try new things in your diet and training sometimes that allows you to break through plateaus...Obi
Good Luck Cikin!
By the way empty stomch cardio is not for everybody because not everybody can workout well without eating something which I understand. By the way this article that I wrote on empty stomah cardio is just another option for people that are struggling with stubborn pounds. If this doesnt work for your body then just revert to HIIT cardio if your goal is ultimate fat loss....Good Luck everybody:) I hope going in here helps to clarify what I mean:)
After a few decent articles you are back to pseudo-scientific claims which could be detrimental to those reading. A few studies for you to read up on challenging your notion that it was the fasted cardio shedding those last few pounds of fat.
Melanson EL, et al. Resistance and aerobic exercise have similar effects on 24-h nutrient oxidation.. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Nov;34(11):1793-800.
Ahlborg, G., and P. Felig. Influence of glucose ingestion on fuel-hormone response during prolonged exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 1976;41:683-688.
De Glisezinski I, et al. Effect of carbohydrate ingestion on adipose tissue lipolysis during long-lasting exercise in trained men. J Appl Physiol. 1998 May;84(5):1627-32.
Coyle EF, et al. Fatty acid oxidation is directly regulated by carbohydrate metabolism during exercise. Am J Physiol. 1997 Aug;273(2 Pt 1):E268-75.
Civitarese AE, et al. Glucose ingestion during exercise blunts exercise-induced gene expression of skeletal muscle fat oxidative genes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Dec;289(6):E1023-9.
Wallis GA, et al. Metabolic response to carbohydrate ingestion during exercise in males and females. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Apr;290(4):E708-15.
Coyle, et al. Muscle glycogen utilization during prolonged strenuous exercise when fed carbohydrate. J. Appl. Physiol. 1986;6:165-172.
Coyle, et al.. Carbohydrates during prolonged strenuous exercise can delay fatigue. J. Appl. Physiol. 59: 429-433, 1983.
Horowitz JF, et al. Substrate metabolism when subjects are fed carbohydrate during exercise. Am J Physiol. 1999 May;276(5 Pt 1):E828-35.
Febbraio MA, et al. Effects of carbohydrate ingestion before and during exercise on glucose kinetics and exercise performance. J Appl Physiol. 2000 Dec;89(6):2220-6.
(hat tip to Alan Aragon)
Golly...Obi is just trying to give us all more options to try in our battle againsts that last bit of bulge. Maybe it'll work for you, and maybe it won't--that's a point he makes clearly in his article.
Stop trying to prove him wrong--just do what works for you!
Dr Jim Stoppani is one of the most sought out fitness experts in the world. Almost every article this guy has ever written about fat loss is being an advocate of empty stomach cardio for fat loss and with every article there is always a scientific research backing what he is saying.
He actually says to have some small protein in your system before doing empty stomach cardio. He told me one time and I'll never forget this and this was at the Arnold Expo of 2012.
He said "I don't care what research study is out there if what I am doing is working for my clients and works for me that's all that matters. This is per his words when I spoke to him at the Arnold." And I never forgot it!
Empty stomach cardio has worked for me and it has worked for many clients I've trained all over the world. Dr. Jim Stoppani holds a doctorate in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut and he researches stuff thoroughly before writing any article.
He is arguably the most respected man on bb.com as a top fitness expert and Muscle and Fitness. Just because it worked for me and my clients doesn't mean it will work for you. But who knows may it works for you. You don't know unless you try!
I always find it funny when you have critics claming you put out pseduoscience when your advocating some of the same things similar to experts such as Dr Jim!
Q and A below to Dr. Jim Stoppani about this very question on his website-www.jimstoppani.com:
Often because of my schedule, I tend to do one or two days a week where I only focus on doing cardio. In doing so, I often try to do it as soon as I wake up in the morning.
However, one thing I’ve always been conflicted on is the pre-workout nutrition for these cardio days. On days where I focus on weight training or weight/cardio, I normally just have a simple whey protein shake with an apple a half hour before. I’ve heard that it’s best to train on an empty stomach when solely doing cardio, but I would love to hear your take on this!
I beleive in doing cardio on a stomach that is empty of carbs… but not protein. You need the protein to prevent muscle breakdown when you wake. So go with about 10-20 g of whey protein with no carbs before cardio. This tactic can actually help you burn off more body fat, as one study from Japan found that when subjects supplemented with amino acids (just like you get from whey protein) before cardio they burned more fat than when they jus
taken from askscooby forum:
You will not lose more calories if you work out on an empty stomach here is why. If you lets say eat 6 meals a day it doesn't matter if you workout with an empty stomach as long as you have those 6 meals a day. As long as at the end of the day you eat the same amount of food you all ways eat it, nothing will change. The only way its possible is if you skip a meal and still work out (which I don't recommend). Whether your stomach is full or not is irrelevant, do you know why?
Because your body never takes energy from your stomach. I made a chain order to show you how the body converts energy.
FOOD (Energy) ----> STOMACH ---> LIVER ---> (BLOODSTREAM/TISSUES) <--- This is where the body burns energy from
What the body burns is glycogen. Glycogen is the most simplest molecule of energy. I made a scale to show you the forms energy takes from simplest to most complex.
Glycogen ---> Glucose (sugar) ---> Fat
It is wrong to say the body burns fat. Its an overused term in a wrong way and people think fat is burnt. Fat is not burnt. Fat is taken by the liver and made into a more simple form. Just like playing with Lego. Imagine Glycogen as being 1 red Lego brick than imagine Glucose being 2 red Lego bricks and Fat being 3 red Lego bricks. Fat is just the most complex form of sugar, glucose is actually sugar just the chemical name of sugar and finally glycogen commonly known as energy is actually the most simplest form of energy. Don't forget our body's burn glycogen (sugar).
Now here's the thing. Your liver has glycogen (the form of sugar that is directly burnt by your body) to last around 10-15 min. So the first 10-15 min of working out or cardio is basically energy taken from the liver. This energy can also be burnt really fast when you sprint or workout really intense. After that you feel tired right? We all know that after working out some time we start to feel more tired and we feel the need to slow down.
You might ask than, well what happens with the energy from the liver, are you telling me that the first 10-15 min of cardio/workout I'm not losing any fat? No that's not the case. When you stop working out your body starts refilling the liver with energy (glycogen) and how does it do that? By breaking up fat. So don't worry in the end all energy comes from your fat reserves. Its just a matter of when its taken.
Obadike. If i am doing an intermittent fasting though the night/morning, is it still OK to do a morning jog when i wake and still not eat till later in that afternoon? Or is that too much?
I never said that what I write is in stone and I never said this is stone. You should question anything anybody writes from any top fitness expert I always say. When I write things it is a combination of what has worked for my clients, what has worked for me and research that Ive read. It doesn't mean it will work for you because it worked for some of the clients. Personally I like to take a whey protein 30 minutes before I do the empty stomach cardio. So I like to have a protein drink minimally before I do empty stomach cardo for for burning the last couple of pounds. I wil say this one last time! This is an option for you to try it doesn't mean this is the only option. I am giving you a diferent alternative for people that are struggling. Make your own conclusions:)
The usual ratio for calories is 50% protein, 35% carbs, and 15% from healthy fat sources. For cutting I would reccomend keeping up your protein and reducing your carbs. Centering your carbs around the workout is helpful too I've found.