Losing fat while maintaining or building muscle is hard. Fortunately, there are ways to force your body to burn fat more effectively as fuel. Fasted cardio is your answer.
Many fitness magazines and blogs talk about fasted cardio, but they are missing a huge point - fasted cardio is not the same as cardio on an empty stomach.
Related - 3 Best Cardio Workouts for Torching Fat
Since cardio on an empty stomach is not the same as cardio in a fasted state, simply doing cardio on an empty stomach isn't as beneficial. Generally, when someone does cardio or lifts weights in a fasted state, they combine other fat loss strategies to achieve a synergistic effect.
We'll touch more on that later.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of fasted cardio and I lose half of you, doing fasted cardio wrong won't help you lose fat faster. In fact, you'll wind up skinny fat and upset that you don't really look any better than before.
So what will this article cover?
We'll go over what fasted cardio actually is, and why cardio on an empty stomach is not the same.
- How fasted cardio helps you lose fat faster.
- Why fasted cardio causes muscle loss and how to maintain as much muscle as possible.
- How you can maximize the synergistic effects of training fasted.
- The most effective types of fasted cardio.
- When the best time for fasted cardio is.
- A sample fasted cardio workout.
- 5 main take-away points.
So if I haven't lost you yet, let's see how we can use fasted cardio to speed up fat loss without sacrificing those precious gains.
The Science of Burning Body Fat
Before we jump into fasted cardio, let's take a look at how our bodies use body fat. Simply put, there are three primary steps involved when losing fat:
- Mobilization - Fatty acids and glycerol are released from triglycerides stored in fat cells.
- Transportation - Fatty acids move into the bloodstream.
- Oxidation - Basically the "burning" of fatty acids to produce energy.
For people who are already lean, in the 12%-15% range, mobilization and transportation is a major problem. The reduced blood flow to the region makes the stubborn body fat harder to burn.
For those who are 15%-35% body fat, mobilization and oxidation will be easier. You can lose fat pretty easily when you stay in a calorie deficit. Self-control and understanding nutrition generally is the problem here.
For those who are 35% or more body fat, mobilization is not an issue due to a large number of fatty acids in the bloodstream. Oxidation is the problem area here.
Fasted vs Empty Stomach
In order to fully understand what fasted cardio is, you need to understand what happens to our bodies when we eat.
When we eat something, that food, our body starts the digestion process. This means we break food down into different molecules like glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids.
Once we've done that, the small intestine will absorb those nutrients into the blood. This is where insulin comes in.
Our insulin spikes and shuttles these nutrients into our cells. These insulin levels will remain elevated depending on the size and composition of the meal you just ate.
For all of you science buffs, once we've eaten, we are in a "fed" or "postprandial" state. When we are in this fed state, our insulin levels are higher than normal.
Once the body digests everything, your body will enter a "fasted" or "postabsorptive" state. This is when our insulin levels are at a baseline level.
So, since our bodies move in and out of these states every day, you see that just because your stomach feels empty, it doesn't mean you are in a fasted state. Getting lean without burning up your gains is possible without drugs, and fasted training is the answer.
Why is Fasted Cardio Bad?
If this is your first time hearing about fasted cardio, it may sound simple, but there are a few caveats. If you do not have your diet "kind of" dialed in, it doesn't matter what type(s) of cardio or exercise you do; you won't speed up fat loss.
As helpful as fasted cardio is to forcing your body to use fat for fuel, not eating a well-rounded diet will burn up your muscle fast. I wanted to address the (few) reasons that you should be wary of doing cardio while fasted before we jump into the (many) reasons why you should try fasted cardio.
Fasted Cardio is Catabolic
The main reason fasted cardio gets such a bad rap is due to the fact that it is extremely catabolic.
What does catabolic mean?
Catabolism is the breakdown of molecules to form simpler ones. Anabolism is the building of muscle (anabolics) and catabolism is the burning of muscle for energy.
Eating a well-rounded diet full of nutritious foods, using supplements, and getting plenty of protein into your diet helps reduce the catabolic effect of fasted cardio.
Why is Fasted Cardio Good for Fat Loss?
At the end of the day, fat loss requires a calorie deficit. You need to understand how much energy you are burning and you need to know how much you are eating.
While a simple calculator can't take into effect certain aspects of your health that can affect your calorie expenditure, there are plenty of tools to help you get a decent idea.
Our TDEE Calculator, which stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure, takes your weight, height, gender, age, and activity level to give you a ballpark number of how many calories you burn daily.
For example, a 180-pound 24-year-old male who is 6 foot tall who moderately exercises burns around 2859 calories per day.
Now that you have a ballpark number to work with, it's time to plan out your meals. I'll touch on meal planning later on.
How Exactly Does Fasted Cardio Work?
Fasted cardio has some unique benefits over fed cardio because when you are in a fasted state, your body increases lipolysis and fat oxidation rates. This is a fancy term that means your body will start using fat stores for energy.
Lipolysis is the breaking down of fat cells for energy, while fat oxidation is burning of this energy.
So since our insulin levels are at baseline, your body is more apt to use fat for fuel. More on insulin and its effect on weight loss later.
How Does Our Body Use Fat?
When we eat nutritious fats, they are broken down into fatty acids which then travel in the bloodstream. Fatty acids that aren't used are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Our bodies are made to store fat and thrive, which is why dialing in your diet and learning some self-control goes a long way.
Maintaining proper intake of nutritious fats ensures that our fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) will be stored in the liver and fatty tissues. Fats play a huge role in body functions and not getting enough fats can lead to hormone imbalances.
How Does Our Body Use Carbohydrates?
The body prefers using carbohydrates as it's fuel source. While carbohydrates are necessary for athletic performance, when you ingest more carbs than your liver can store, it will be turned into fat for long-term storage so nothing is wasted.
When carbohydrates are scarce in the body, your body will turn to fats as it's primary energy source. Over time, eating excessive carbohydrates (especially processed foods) causes your body to store them as fat.
This is why low-carb diets seem to have a fast impact on someone's physique. Eating lower carbohydrate foods means you are also giving up the processed foods and sugars that are calorie dense and lack in nutrition.
The combination of this along with maintaining a calorie deficit makes for huge progress towards your fitness goals.
How Does Our Body Use Protein?
Protein is digested and broken down into smaller pieces called amino acids. These amino acids then go towards rebuilding the torn down muscle.
Getting plenty of nutritious protein sources into your diet ensures you can recover and maintain as much muscle mass as possible throughout your weight loss journey.
While exercise at any insulin level burns calories, insulin sensitivity plays a huge role in fat loss. So when you can exercise with your insulin levels near baseline, you are able to mobilize and burn more stubborn body fat than when your insulin levels are elevated.
What Exactly Is Insulin Sensitivity?
In short, insulin sensitivity is how sensitive your body is to the effects of insulin. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the less insulin it takes to lower blood glucose levels.
People with low insulin sensitivity are also referred to as insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a sign that your body is having trouble metabolizing glucose and are also indications of other health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Insulin resistance is often associated with type 2 diabetes, but can also occur in type 1 as well. While research hasn't pinpointed what causes the body to become resistant to insulin, there are strong associations between that and having excessive visceral fat.
What's Insulin's Role in My Weight Loss Journey?
As you workout and get active, our bodies adapt. One way our bodies adapt is to become more sensitive to insulin. This is one of the main reasons you may not see progress for weeks.
The higher the insulin levels are in your body, the more fat your body holds onto. It prevents fat cells from releasing energy.
How Does My Glycogen Storage Affect Me?
Your body stores glycogen in its muscles. So naturally, the more muscle you have, the more glycogen storage you have.
Training at high-intensity levels forces your body to use glycogen as its fuel source. It is very easy to convert and this is why there is a greater storage effect after training. This is called supercompensation.
We Don't Need to Eat as Many Carbs as We Think
Research shows that only approximately 27 to 30 grams of carbs are used overnight through our sleep cycle. That's less than a can of Coca-Cola.
Since your body doesn't need carbohydrates when there is plenty of fat to burn, our taste for sweet and unnatural foods make losing weight hard.
If you're serious about getting healthy and lean, cutting out processed carbohydrates are a must.
Please note: The carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables, and other natural foods provide your body with vitamins and minerals since they are so dense with nutrition. So next time someone tells you there's "too much sugar" in a banana, just smile and know that they are wrong.
Your Diet Matters the Most
As you will see in the next section, what we eat and how much we eat play the biggest role in our body composition. Research shows that when you are in a fasted state, blood flow to the abdominal region is increased.
One of the main reasons your abdomen and FUPA don't get burned as fast as other parts of your body is due to blood flow.
"Fed" Cardio Is Okay, Too
Any type of exercise, movement, or training that you do will help you lose weight. Whether your insulin levels are higher or lower, movement is life.
If fasted cardio doesn't fit your schedule or lifestyle, that doesn't mean you're out of luck.
Cardio and heart health is an important part of living a long and fulfilling life, getting out there and being active is more important than meal timing.
Lifting in a Fasted State
Lifting in a fasted state has many benefits and drawbacks. While fasted cardio is a great way to burn fat, lifting while fasted will provide a synergistic effect.
Research shows that weightlifting causes a dramatic spike in plasma catecholamine levels.
Catecholamines are better at mobilizing fat when in a fasted state. This is why fasted cardio along with fasted weightlifting can really torch the fat.
Your Workouts Will Be Lackluster, at First
After a few weeks of starting fasted lifting, I started to build my strength back. Lower levels of physical and mental intensity are normal when starting the transition to fasted weightlifting.
Lifting while fasted is equally effective as fasted cardio because it spikes your body's production of fat-burning chemicals. The decreased glycogen stores in your muscles mean that you won't be able to go as hard, as long, or as heavy.
When Should You Do Fasted Cardio?
Doing fasted cardio can be done in the morning or at night. Finding the right time depends on your lifestyle and other obligations.
I personally prefer doing fasted cardio and weight training in the morning. It releases dopamine and other chemicals to improve your mental and physical performance, you feel better, and you don't have to dread going to the gym later.
In the Morning
Generally, fasted cardio in the morning ensures your insulin levels are at its lowest. Waking up and getting some exercise in before you eat is a great way to start the day.
Prepare your post-workout breakfast so that you can eat as soon as possible. This helps combat catabolism and shuttles much-needed nutrients into your body.
If you can only exercise at night, aim to eat no sooner than four hours before you plan on working out.
If you eat light and keep carbs out of your diet during the day will ensure the lowest possible insulin levels. You can then include more carbohydrates into your post-workout meal.
Fit Your Schedule
If you simply can't exercise in the morning upon waking, don't fret. You can still benefit from fasted cardio.
Work with your schedule, not against it; creating more resistance into your weight loss journey will discourage you and ultimately burn you out. This is a lifestyle change, not a get thin quick scheme.
When Should You Eat?
Since your body moves into fed and fasted states throughout the day, it's important to time your meals accordingly.
The types of food you choose to eat will play a huge factor in how long it takes your body to get back to a fasted state.
Pre-Workout Meal Timing
Research shows that your fat oxidation rates are highest after 6+ hours of fasting. This is why cardio upon waking is so effective.
Ensuring you are in a fasted state if you workout later in the day takes planning your meals. As small as 35 grams of sugar will raise insulin levels above baseline for a few hours.
Studies have shown a meal with 75 grams of carbs, 17 grams of fat, and 37 grams of protein elevates insulin levels for over five hours.
If you plan on working out in the evening, eat as few carbohydrates as you can during the day. Even a serving of whey protein will take a few hours to fully process.
This means that you can't eat a huge lunch and expect to be in a truly fasted state when you get off of work at five.
Sample Diet for Night-Time Fasted Training
- If you can get some fasted cardio in before work, do that. Shortly after, get some whey protein into your system.
- Eat a light lunch low in carbohydrates. Ideally eating something higher in fiber ensures you feel fuller longer.
- Have another scoop of protein around 2 or 3 PM. This will ensure you are in a fasted state around 5 to 6 PM.
- Smash a nutritious (larger) dinner after your sweat session.
- Get in another smaller meal around 8 or 9 PM.
While there are many ways to go about getting yourself into a fasted state, the general rule of thumb is to keep carbohydrate intake at a minimum before you workout. Eat plenty of nutritious carbohydrates post-workout to refuel.
Post-Workout Meal Timing
While continuing your fast after you workout seems like a good choice, muscle degradation ramps up after a fasted workout if you don't eat. Making sure to eat as soon as you can after your workout will help maintain your muscle mass.
Your fat-burning chemicals in your body return to normal shortly after exercising. Waiting to eat burns minimal fat and also jeopardizes your sweet gains.
So, your goal post-workout is to get a healthy serving of protein and carbohydrates in ASAP. Don't try to squeeze every last ounce of fat loss, you will only burn muscle.
Six Tips to Burn More Fat While in a Fasted State
When starting out, it's hard to tell if your hard work is paying off. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your fasted training sessions.
These tips come from actually doing the work. I am a huge proponent of intermittent fasting, and I have personally enjoyed the process of switching to fasted training.
I've broken all of my personal lifting records while in a fasted state - there's no reason you can't.
Tip #1 - Give it Some Time
Your body will take some time to adapt to training while fasted. Your workouts won't be as explosive, you may feel lethargic, and you certainly will question why you even tried this.
While it's not that bad, I wanted to let you know that it does take time to get acclimated.
Once you start consistently tackling these workouts in a fasted state, you'll start to see fat burning off. Your clothes will fit better, you'll start to feel outstanding, and everyone will notice.
As with anything in your weight loss journey, this takes time and consistency to master.
Tip #2 - Meal Prep
Prepping and planning your meals is by far the most important aspect of losing weight. You simply cannot lose body fat if you are always in a calorie surplus; the law of energy balance is immutable.
Planning your calorie intake according to the figures you got from the TDEE calculator will ensure you are able to maintain a calorie deficit without having to guess.
While preparing and cooking your own meals is quite possibly harder than trying to get a chest workout in on a Monday, it is essential to sustained weight loss.
I cannot stress this enough. You cannot outwork a crappy diet... Trust me.
Choose Nutrient Dense, Satisfying Foods
Foods higher in fats and fiber provide many nutrients to your body and keep you feeling fuller longer. Simply replacing some your current "unhealthy" favorites with whole foods will make a drastic change in how you feel almost immediately.
Opting for whole grains and healthy carbohydrates will give your body clean energy to use. Lean proteins keep the calorie count down while blasting your body with the building blocks it needs to repair broken down muscles.
Eating one slice of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake is the same amount of calories as 3 pounds of chicken breast. Choose wisely.
Avoid an Extremely Low-Calorie Intake
When losing weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. For some, it may be easier to starve themselves.
When it comes to weight loss or gain, netting 3500 calories surplus will make you gain one pound, while a 3500 calorie deficit will make the scale read one pound less.
Unfortunately, many of us go to an extreme when we start seeing results. Don't fall into this trap.
While everyone's nutritional needs are different, there are a few basic guidelines you should follow.
So How Many Calories Should I Eat?
So what can you get away with eating?
Eating fewer than 800 calories a day increases your risk for malnutrition, gallstones, and will crash your metabolism. Unless you are being supervised by a medical professional, eating fewer than 1200 calories will do some damage.
According to the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" written in 2010, men should not eat fewer than 1500 calories, while women can eat 1200.
A good starting point for a slow and steady transition into a healthier lifestyle is to find your TDEE and eat 150-250 calories less. This means if your TDEE is 2500 calories to maintain weight, eating 2250 to 2350 calories is a good starting point.
Change Your Eating Habits
Utilizing an 80/20 rule for calorie intake ensures you can enjoy the foods you like without staying fat.
Strive to have 80% of your calories coming from whole, natural foods. The other 20% of your calories can come from things you love. Remember, moderation is key.
Fruits Over Sweets
Choosing a cold juicy apple over something laden with highly-processed sugar will boost your immune system, provide your body with much-needed nutrients, and doesn't taste half bad.
The sugars in fruits are different than their processed partners. You won't get fat from eating a few bananas, but that one can of soda can ruin your progress.
Healthy Carbs Over Processed Foods
Rice and grains have caught a bad rap over the years because it is lumped into the "carbohydrates are bad" group.
Sure, an excess of any carbohydrate wreaks havoc on your body, but eating 40 grams of carbs from brown rice is much different than 40 grams of carbs from processed foods.
Getting away from boxed meals, anything "ready to eat," and anything that has high fructose corn syrup will drastically change your health.
Up Your Fat and Fiber Intake
While fats help with hormone production and absorption and fiber keeps us regular, increasing our intake of these groups lead us to a more satisfied feeling.
It's kind of like eating Chinese food - you are hungry before you even get home. Starting your day with high fiber and high fats will curb cravings and keep you from wanting to steal your coworker's snack they've left on their desk.
I did not have a refrigerator for 8 months, in which I was determined to maintain my fat loss. I ate 90% of my calories from fast foods and implemented intermittent fasting.
I dropped pant and shirt sizes, but I was bloated. As soon as I got back cooking and preparing my own meals, I noticed more weight loss in about half the time.
The quicker you make healthy eating habits part of your life, the quicker and more pronounced your results will be.
Tip #3 - Try Intermittent Fasting
Ever since I've consistently used intermittent fasting as a tool to lose weight, I've been able to control my binge eating, I've made better choices, and my overall calorie intake was lower.
Intermittent fasting, in short, is when you have a window of time that you fast, and a window of time that you eat. A general place to start is a 16-hour window of fasting with an 8-hour window of eating.
For many, simply skipping breakfast and breaking your fast at lunchtime is an easy way to start intermittent fasting. This is also generally the time many would do their fasted cardio.
Intermittent fasting is convenient, it helps with satiation, and it helps you avoid overeating.
Once your body has adapted to intermittent fasting, productivity and focus will go through the roof. You'll have an overall clarity that's hard to describe and you will not have the "3 o' clock crash" like you normally do.
If you deal with binge eating, I highly recommend you read more on intermittent fasting.
Tip #4 - Choose Cardio Wisely
When it comes to actually doing cardio while fasted, opting for high-intensity interval training over low-intensity steady state training is ideal.
Research shows that doing four to six 30 second sprint intervals burns more fat than 60 minutes of steady state cardio. If slogging along on the treadmill for hours makes you hate the gym, try HIIT.
Keeping your cardio sessions shorter also helps decrease how much muscle will be burned. There's a reason that endurance athletes and marathon runners are relatively skinny-fat; the long and intense cardio sessions burn up their muscle.
Some will argue that HIIT decreases fat oxidation rates due to your body wanting to use glycogen as it's fuel source instead of fat. While this is true, research has shown that consistent HIIT sessions will force your body to adapt and use less glycogen during workouts.
This will then increase fat oxidation rates and your body will start burning fat for fuel more efficiently. Research also shows that HIIT workouts are better for getting rid of visceral fat and other stubborn mid-section fat.
A moderate amount of HIIT cardio of no more than 4 sessions of no more than 25 to 30 minutes per session is more than enough to reap the benefits.
Doing HIIT Correctly
Simply put, there's no exact science to HIIT other than a short session of all-out exercise with a longer session of slower/recovery exercise. Basically, you want to push yourself as hard as you can, slow down so you can catch your breath, and go again.
Since everyone's conditioning and physical levels are different, I suggest starting with 15 to 20 seconds of all-out exercise and at least 60 seconds of slow cardio.
If you are unable to recover after 60 seconds, record how long it takes. You now have a baseline that you can use to improve.
There are plenty of HIIT workouts on the web if you do not feel comfortable with programming your own session.
Why Does HIIT Work So Well?
While many of the mechanisms aren't fully understood by researchers, there are several factors that make HIIT an optimal choice for fat loss. These include:
- Metabolic rates increased for up to 24 hours.
- Your body adapts and burns fat for fuel more efficiently.
- Insulin sensitivity is improved. (read above)
- Growth hormone levels spike, which aids in recovery and fat loss.
- Catecholamine levels spike during HIIT, which you see help mobilize fat to burn.
- Post-exercise appetite is decreased. This keeps you from eating that cupcake you've been eyeballing.
All of these factors are amplified when in a fasted state due to the physiological mechanisms related to fat loss working better in a low-insulin environment.
Tip #5 - Try Fasted Walking
If HIIT workouts seem overwhelming at first, there's another option. After waking up, grab a bottle of water and go for a walk. That's right, get up and go walk outside.
A brisk 10-minute walk in a fasted state in the morning will kick-start your day and you'll start enjoying waking up early.
Losing weight is harder to physically do than it is to learn how it works. Get up, get moving, and reap the benefits of a fasted morning walk.
Tip #6 - Use Supplements
Supplements will improve your ability to perform in the gym, help you maintain as much muscle mass as possible, and can speed up the fat burning process. While there are many supplements out there that can help you burn fat, I've found 5 to be the most helpful.
Caffeine is an appetite suppressant and gives you the energy to go beast mode. Caffeine helps you burn more energy throughout the day, improves your strength, endurance, and improves anaerobic performance. (lifting weights)
Training in a calorie deficit, fasted or not, takes a toll on your energy levels. Your body will adapt and start burning fat as fuel more efficiently, but caffeine's thermogenic properties make this supplement my first choice.
Grab yourself a cup of black coffee and keep your sanity.
Pre-workouts are a no-brainer. They give you a kick in the pants, help you perform better in the gym, and they improve blood flow and fat oxidation.
Choose a pre-workout that works for you. There are pre-workouts with and without stimulants, some focus on increasing pump, and some help maintain focus.
Branch Chain Amino Acids help with preventing muscle breakdown. This means you can recover faster from workouts and minimize the catabolic effect of fasted training.
You get to reap the benefits of fasted cardio without muscle loss or insulin secretion.
This supplement is extracted from an African plant called Yohimbe.
Yohimbine blocks the activity of alpha-receptors in fat cells, which will accelerate fat loss.
Elevated insulin levels from yohimbine negates some of its weight-loss effects. Thus, taking yohimbine in a fasted state maximizes fat loss benefits.
Research also shows that yohimbine improves exercise performance, can help fight off physical fatigue, and increases your time until exhaustion.
You already know protein is good for you; it builds muscle and repairs your body.
Find a quality protein that you like and stick with it. Dial in your diet so that you "supplement" your diet instead of using protein shakes as your sole intake of protein.
Sample Fasted Cardio Routine
While many people's schedules will conflict with my sample routine, it will show you what a successful fasted cardio routine looks like. From supplementation to meal timing, I've got you covered.
Upon waking, get some caffeine in you, take some yohimbine, and wet your whistle with some BCAAs. I try to do this 15-30 minutes prior to my workout.
Lift for 40 to 60 minutes. Soon after, I'll eat a protein-packed meal. This breaks my fast and stops any catabolic catastrophes.
Lunch rolls around and you should eat a well-balanced meal, lower in carbohydrates and packed full of protein. Some days I'll have a scoop of protein with my meal.
If I couldn't get my cardio in during the morning, by around 5:30 or 6 PM, I am back into a fasted state. I then take the same supplements as I did upon waking.
25 to 30 minutes later after a nice HIIT session, I will go home and eat dinner. This meal is where most of my carbohydrates and protein come from.
5 Key Points to Take Away From This Article
If you've actually read through this whole article and didn't scroll down here to catch the main points, congratulations. You now understand how we burn fat and how fasted cardio and weightlifting can help.
Here are a few key points to take away:
- Your diet is the number 1 reason why you do or do not lose fat. There's no way around it - you are what you eat. Do you really want the out of shape and unhealthy body that you've spent years making? I know I don't.
- You need to plan, prepare, and methodically choose your battles. You can still have the macaroni and cheese, the pizza, and the burgers... You just have to account for them.
- HIIT cardio is faster and more effective at burning fat. Add being in a fasted state to amplify these benefits.
- Supplements can help you with energy, longevity, and endurance or your workouts. They can improve your ability to burn fat, and they can help you not want to eat everything in the pantry. Deciding to use supplements should be after you get your diet mostly in check.
- This takes time. It's going to suck, getting started is the hardest, and there's never going to be a perfect time. Whether it's 2 minutes or 20, taking the time to mindfully maintain an elevated heart rate improves your quality of life and will get you one step closer to your fitness goals. Think outside of the gym - go for a hike, pick up a sport, or take your aggression out on some weights.
Wrapping It Up
This article is written by someone who grew up (and still) fat. I've lost weight using improper tactics such as starvation and completely overhauling my diet. They didn't last and I ended up gaining it all back.
I learned about intermittent fasting and it's helped me break the viscous binge eating cycle that I've managed to develop, and working out while in a fasted state has drastically changed my appearance.
While the hard work of losing weight sucks, being fat sucks worse. Quit rationalizing eating like crap, quit giving yourself an out when you have an opportunity to get your sweat on and start accomplishing your goals.
You can read every book and article you want, but it doesn't work unless you do.