Myth Buster: Training on an empty stomach. Want better results, do cardio on an empty stomach!

This theory has been around for a good while now and seems to suggest that it is the best way to train! The idea is that by eating before you workout, your body will use this as fuel before dipping into stored energy.

But by training on an empty stomach, this fuel is not present and your body will use stored fuel E.g. body fat and also the over night fast will deplete muscle glycogen meaning you will start to burn fat sooner.

BUT let’s get one thing straight - if you’re looking to take part in an intense morning workout and your focus is to have the energy to perform at your best, this probably isn’t for you!

If you like to train near your maximum levels through workouts like HIIT, sprints, heavy weight lifting, you should ideally eat one or two hours before, or you’re likely to be off your best.

Fat takes longer to breakdown than carbohydrates so the more intense the exercise becomes the more the body will switch to a higher percentage of carbohydrates as fat breakdown can’t keep up with demand.

Most people who choose to exercise on an empty stomach, however, opt for some moderate form of cardio, such as jogging, biking or hitting the x-trainer.

BUT during these types of workouts, performance and calorie burn are about the same

regardless of whether you are in a fed or fasted state.

It’s swings and roundabouts! Do you train on an empty stomach to potentially increase your fat burning percentage but may not have the energy to achieve a good total calorie burn for the session? Or do you fuel up, so your total calorie burn is higher but your fat percentage maybe lower? A lower percentage of higher calories can be about the same as higher percentage of lower calories!

So, in conclusion, the benefit of fasted cardio just isn’t there and for me, it just comes down to personal preference.

Most people are one or the other – a) Have to eat or will soon lose energy levels and become dizzy/light headed and feel pretty rubbish or

b) prefer being fasted as it makes them feel lighter and energised rather than sluggish and at risk of possible stitch!

*Those who have issues with glucose regulation may want to avoid exercising on an empty stomach and might want to avoid skipping meals even when they don’t exercise.


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