Fitness Tips: Exercising on an Empty Stomach

August 23, 2011 By: office 2 Comments

Hitting the gym before you eat may seem like conventional wisdom, but should you try to deliberately go to the gym on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat?

The idea, advocated in popular fitness books for decades, is that exercising on an empty stomach forces the body to dip into fat stores instead of burning the carbohydrates quickly available from a pre-workout snack or meal. Seems to make sense, doesn’t it? In actuality, research shows that working out in this way offers no additional bodily benefit, and may actually stunt your workout and affect your weight loss efforts.

Exercising on an Empty Stomach

It is more beneficial to your body to eat a pre-workout snack than to go on an empty stomach.

After years of studying and research, a report from the Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that you burn the same amount of fat regardless of any pre-workout carbohydrates. On the contrary, you are likely to lose muscle by exercising in a depleted state. Also, without fuel to exercise, intensity and overall calories burned will be reduced.

When working out on an empty stomach, up to 10 percent of your calories burned can come from protein. This includes muscle loss. Also, separate studies show that if you consume as little as 45 grams of carbohydrates prior to working out, you will consume later throughout the day. This can lead to over-eating, which can contribute to weight gain. Consuming a little bit before working out instead of trying to work out on an empty stomach seems to be a win-win situation!

If you want to burn more fat and less carbohydrates, try changing up what you do in the gym instead of when you eat. Doing a cardio workout for a longer time at a lower intensity burns more fat. Working out at a high intensity for a short amount of time will burn more carbohydrates. Try ditching the sprints for a long, slow jog in order to shed some pounds. Just remember not to be too low on energy, or your weight loss workout will suffer overall.

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