I hear a lot about doing fasted cardio in the a.m. Are there any benefits to weight training on an empty stomach? Stacy McCloud, via Instagram

“It may sound like a tempting way to increase your fat burn, but going into a hard strength workout with an empty fuel tank can compromise your results, as your body breaks down lean muscle tissue for energy,” says Linda Stephens, a nutritionist and IFBB figure pro. In addition, you can also risk injury if you try to lift heavy but don’t have the strength or stamina to support your efforts. If you like to train first thing in the morning, have a whey protein shake or a branched-chain amino acid drink about 30 minutes before you hit the gym, says Stephens. “You’ll still stay in a somewhat fasted state to encourage fat burn, but have enough energy to get through the workout without attacking your own muscle stores.”

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