Training on an empty stomach – does it really help you burn more calories?

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It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Fitness experts are divided on the safety and effectiveness of fasted training. Find out the pros and cons!

Physiological considerations

The main thing to keep in mind about fasted training is that it is supposed to take place immediately after waking up. Exercising on an empty stomach during the day or evening is detrimental to the body and will only further exhaust the body rather than strengthen it.

A study published in the “International Journal of Sports Medicine” clearly proved that training on an empty stomach brings better results and burns fat faster. The experiment proved that the group exercising after a full meal burned 71.6 calories, while the athletes training for an hour without breakfast burned 94.3 calories.

This is due to the physiological capabilities of the body. During sleep, the body’s main source of energy is fat tissue. If training occurs shortly after waking up, the body automatically prolongs the intake of energy values from the same source.

The second biologically important aspect is the fact that after an all-night rest, insulin levels decrease significantly, and adrenaline increases. The former hormone delays the process of fat breakdown in the body while adrenaline increases the action of lipolysis, thus increasing the amount of fat burned. In practice, this means that the human body has a better predisposition to burn fat in the morning than in the evening, especially when fasting.

Physical activity on an empty stomach has its supporters and opponents. Should you train fasting? Pros and cons of such…

Published by Anna Lewandowska Saturday, June 13, 2020

Negative effects of fasting training

Opponents of exercises performed on an empty stomach cite several key arguments. Various studies have shown that the difference between people who train after or before breakfast is not significant or practically invisible. Some experiments prove that eating breakfast can give your body more energy and allow you to complete a more effective workout.

This issue is highly dependent on the length and intensity of the planned exercise. Experienced athletes are able to tell when their body is at its most efficient, so they are free to choose when and how they train. For less advanced individuals, the risk of problems associated with fasted training is greater. What’s more, in the context of morning training on an empty stomach, one thinks of a maximum of one hour of low-load exercise, then the negative effect of lack of breakfast is very negligible.

The main disadvantages of this type of exercise include the possibility of damaging the muscles from which the body draws its energy under-nourished with nutrients, lower strength and concentration of the athlete, abdominal pain, dizziness or fainting. Burning a few dozen more calories may not be worth the increased strain on the body and the intensification of unpleasant ailments.

Some experts stress that exercising too often on an empty stomach can end up in stomach ulcers. In order to prevent such problems, you should replenish the lost micronutrients with a balanced meal immediately after training.

Useful tips for fasted training

Before starting your morning workout, it is essential to drink a glass of water, a cup of green tea or a cup of black coffee. This way your body gets the energy it needs (including caffeine) and hydrates before exercise. Don’t forget to replenish fluids during and after your workout as well.

Post-workout breakfast should be eaten within 30 to 60 minutes after your workout and should include easily digestible foods rich in: protein, vitamins, fiber, iron, carbohydrates and simple sugars. Another important tip is to get a healthy amount of sleep beforehand. People who sleep less than 6 hours should not exercise without a meal, because their body will be too tired. The workout on an empty stomach cannot be too intense, so strength training, cardio, tabata and intervals should be excluded from the plan.

Featured photo: Freepik

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