Ah, the eternal question: is working out on an empty stomach really more effective? The idea of training whilde doing intermittent fasting has been around for a while, and there are some die-hard fans who swear by it.
On the other hand, there are also people who say that working out before eating anything can have some pretty nasty side effects. So, what’s the verdict?
Well, it turns out that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Training on an empty stomach might be beneficial for some people but not for others. It all depends on your goals, how well you handle hunger, and a few other factors.
So, is training on an empty stomach the best way to work out? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fasting before you hit the gym.
So, what’s intermittent fasting anyway?
Let’s start by taking a closer look at the concept of intermittent fasting. This is when you eat all of your meals within a certain window of time, and fast for the rest of the day. For example, you might eat between 8am and 4pm, and then fast for the rest of the evening and overnight.
There are a lot of different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most popular method is probably the 16/8 approach. This involves fasting for 16 hours each day, and eating all of your meals within an 8-hour window.
So, what does this have to do with working out? Well, if you’re doing intermittent fasting, then working out on an empty stomach means that you’ll be training in a fasted state.
For example, a lot of fitness enthusiasts decide to skip their breakfast and train first thing in the morning. Then, they eat their first meal of the day after their workout.
What are the benefits of working out in a fasted state?
There is some research to support the idea that fasting before exercise can help you to burn more fat or even get bigger muscles. According to the supporters of this theory, here are some benefits of working out on an empty stomach:
- You might burn more fat. When you work out on an empty stomach, your body is forced to burn stored fat for energy. That’s why many people believe that fasting before working out is one of the most effective ways to lose weight.
- You’ll have more energy. Since your body is burning stored fat for energy, you might find that you have more endurance and stamina when you work out on an empty stomach.
- It might improve your mental clarity. When you train on an empty stomach, your body releases a hormone called norepinephrine. This hormone has been shown to improve focus and cognitive function.
The Cons of Fasting Before Working Out
However, there are also a few potential drawbacks to working out on an empty stomach. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- You might not perform as well. When you don’t eat before working out, your blood sugar levels can drop too low, which can lead to fatigue and dizziness. This can make it difficult to push yourself hard enough to see results.
- You could damage your muscles. If you eat too little and don’t give your body the nutrients it needs to recover, it will start breaking down muscle tissue for energy instead of fat. This can lead to muscle loss and weakness over time.
- It might not be sustainable long-term. If you’re constantly working out on an empty stomach, eventually your body might start to rebel, specially if you don’t eat as many calories as you need. You might experience headaches, irritability, and lightheadedness if you try to push yourself too hard without sufficient fuel in your tank.
Should you work out on an empty stomach?
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to consider before making a decision. If you’re trying to lose weight, working out on an empty stomach might help you achieve your goal faster.
But if you’re looking for sustained results over the long term, it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough to support your workout routine—otherwise you could end up doing more harm than good in the long run.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine. They can help you create a plan that’s right for you and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy and strong.
Other alternatives to lose fat
If working out on an empty stomach isn’t for you, there are other things you can do to lose fat. Here are a few ideas:
- Reduce your overall calorie intake. This is probably the most effective way to lose weight, regardless of how you do it; and the only tried and tested method to start burning fat. The problem? Sometimes it might be easier said than done.
- Cut back on processed foods and eat more whole foods. Processed foods are often high in calories and low in nutrients, which can make it difficult to lose weight.
- Eat more protein and fiber. Both of these nutrients have been shown to help with weight loss by making you feel fuller longer and helping to reduce cravings.
- Increase your activity levels. Even if you don’t change what you eat, adding more movement into your day can help you burn more calories and lose weight.
Ultimately, the best way to lose fat is the way that works best for you. If you can stick with it, working out on an empty stomach might help you see results faster. But if it’s not sustainable or you’re not seeing the results you want, there are other options available.
Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to create a plan that’s right for you. And if you need any kind of advice, maybe joining Hypefive’s community is exactly what you need!