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Is exercising on an empty stomach good or bad?

Many people believe that exercising on an empty stomach can have a better effect on their body’s fat burning and therefore they will be able to lose weight more easily. On the other hand, some people think that they will have more energy after eating breakfast and will be more successful in sports training. To know which group’s opinion is correct, stay with us.

Does exercising on an empty stomach help you lose more weight?

Exercising on an empty stomach is known as fasted cardio. In this theory, during exercise, the body uses the fat and carbohydrates stored in the body for energy instead of the recently consumed food. as a result fat burning increase.

Results of research on fasting exercise

A 2016 study of 12 male athletes found that those who skipped breakfast before exercise burned more fat and reduced their calorie intake over 24 hours. Some research rejects this theory. For example, a research conducted in 2014 on 20 women did not show a significant difference in body composition changes between groups that ate before exercise or went to exercise on an empty stomach. In this study, researchers measured body weight, body fat percentage, and waist circumference over four weeks. At the end of the study, both groups lost weight and fat mass. Considering this finding, it can be concluded that more research is still needed in this field.

Exercising on an empty stomach can cause the body to turn to protein for fuel. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles after exercise. Therefore, the reduction of protein in the body may have negative effects and cause muscle wasting. Also keep in mind that using fat as energy does not necessarily mean that you will reduce your body fat percentage or burn more calories.

Is it good to exercise on an empty stomach?

A lot of research supports exercising on an empty stomach, but many others believe that when you exercise on an empty stomach, you may burn valuable energy sources and have less endurance. For example, as we described, the body may have to go to protein reserves as fuel, which will not benefit the athlete at all. On the other hand, when you go to exercise without eating breakfast, your blood sugar level may be low and you may face problems such as nausea, tremors, or lightheadedness. Another possibility is that the body adapts to the continuous use of fat reserves for energy and starts storing fat more than usual.

Poor training due to not eating breakfast

Another downside to exercising on an empty stomach is that relying on fat as a fuel source may limit your capacity for high-intensity exercise. The process of breaking down stored fats into energy takes more time than breaking down carbohydrates because more oxygen is needed. Therefore, the energy released through fat metabolism seems too slow to sustain a high-intensity workout.

Therefore, although the percentage of fat metabolism increases during fasted training, you will burn fewer calories overall. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that although fat oxidation increased in a group of athletes who tried exercise on an empty stomach, the group who ate breakfast burned 156 more calories during the same 60-minute workout. The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume.

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What foods help improve athletic performance?

To increase your athletic performance, follow a balanced diet and avoid exercising on an empty stomach:

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  • Eat whole, nutritious and natural foods.
  • Eat healthy carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Include healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil, olive oil and avocado in your diet.
  • Provide the protein your body needs by consuming lean meat, eggs and low-fat dairy products.
  • Don’t forget nuts, seeds and sprouts.

If you want to not exercise on an empty stomach and eat before exercise, choose an easy-to-digest meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

Time interval between exercise and eating

Try to eat your food 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising. As a snack, you can also use peanut butter sandwich or fresh or dry fruits. Keep your body hydrated with water and energy drinks before, during and after exercise. After exercise, it is better to eat foods containing fiber, protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes to 2 hours. Proteins can help strengthen the immune system and speed up recovery. We recommend the following foods for after exercise:

  • Low fat cocoa milk
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Sandwich with whole grain bread
  • soy milk

If you exercise on an empty stomach, be sure to consume the listed foods after exercise.

Smoothie for exercise

Should we exercise on an empty stomach or not?

The type of exercise you do has a big impact on whether exercising on an empty stomach is good or bad for you. For light or low-impact exercise such as walking, golf, or gentle yoga, you may not need pre-workout fuel; This means that you can go to exercise on an empty stomach.

Important note

Before sports that require high strength and endurance, be sure to eat and do not go to them with an empty stomach. For example, if you want to run at a high speed and do swimming or tennis, be sure to eat foods containing protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats 2 hours before.

Also, if the duration of your exercise is long, it is necessary to consume food before exercise. For example, if your two marathons are going to last one hour, you must eat something before training to maintain blood glucose. In this case, food consumption will help you to prevent the consumption of energy stored in your muscles and not cause a disturbance in the building of muscle mass.

Health conditions also have a big impact on whether you should exercise on an empty stomach or not. For example, if you have diabetes, blood sugar levels should be controlled before, during and after exercise, and food should be consumed if necessary. Also, if you have thyroid or high or low blood pressure, you must consult your doctor to manage your weight.

Improve morning exercises with the following solutions

Exercising on an empty stomach is not recommended in most cases. However, consult your instructor on this matter. To improve your sports performance, consider the following solutions:

  • Drink at least 100 ml of water before meals. If cold liquids upset your stomach, drink warm liquids instead. Black tea or green tea can improve insulin sensitivity, stimulate metabolism and promote weight loss.
  • To replenish reserves Glycogen And to help muscle growth and repair, eat a breakfast containing proteins and healthy fats before training. Avoid consuming large and high-calorie breakfast.
  • After the workout, eat foods that increase glucose reserves and strengthen muscle recovery.
  • Continue your exercise for at least 30 minutes.
  • Include high intensity training in your sports.
  • Stop exercising if you feel dizzy, nauseous, weak, or unusually tired.

final word

Finally, regarding exercise with an empty stomach, we must say that although the opinions about the benefits and harms of this work are different, in general, most studies agree that it is better to exercise before exercises that require high endurance and strength. Be sure to eat something. But if you just want to walk for 30 minutes, it is okay to do this exercise on an empty stomach and then eat your breakfast or meal.

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