Have you ever heard a theory that your blood sugar level falls without eating all night? Supposedly, it targets more fat burn during exercise. But does exercising on an empty stomach help you lose fat? Fasted cardio has become a hot debate topic in the fitness and nutrition world. Fitness enthusiasts recommend cardio before or without fueling with food.
However, some people think that exercising on an empty stomach may not work. Working out after eating a meal gives more energy and improved energy.
If you are wondering whether exercising on an empty stomach is beneficial or not, keep reading. In this article, we will highlight everything about exercising on an empty stomach.
Exercising on an empty stomach is fasted cardio or fasted workout. Simply your body utilizes the stored fats and carbohydrates instead of the food you have eaten recently. It leads you higher levels of weight loss.
A research study related to fasted workouts reports that exercising on an empty stomach increases:
- Fat utilization
- Improved lipid profile
- Enhanced metabolism
However, more in-depth research over a longer period is necessary to expand these findings.
Working out on an empty stomach could also lead your body to use protein as fuel. It leaves your body with less protein needed to build and repair muscles after exercise. Plus, using fat as energy does not necessarily mean lowered overall body fat percentage or burning more calories.
Benefits of Eating Before Exercise
You might be familiar that strength training needs more fuel to challenge the muscles. Therefore, exercising on an empty stomach may leave you less energized.
Here are some benefits of eating before exercise:
- Avoid low blood sugar, which can make you feel dizzy or nauseous
- Boost recovery and strength gains
- Make your workouts more enjoyable
- Sustain longer, more intense workouts and greater performance
You must need to experiment with your workout routine with and without food. Whatever plan you choose, if you are preparing for an event make sure training is consistent.
If you eat before a workout, give your body enough time to digest it. Consume meals 4 to 6 hours before a workout or choose a light meal that digests early.
Have you decided to eat before a workout? Choose easily digestible food items from the below list:
· Apple with cheese
· Banana or any other type of fruit
· Energy bar or gel
· Fruit smoothie
· Greek yogurt with fruit
· Sports drink
If you have decided to eat after working out, choose the below food items. These foods will help you in your recovery after a workout by boosting your immune system.
Here are a few post-workout eating ideas:
· low-fat chocolate milk
· fruit smoothie
· energy bar
· whole-grain bread
· soy milk
· nuts and seeds
· prunes or prune juice
· yogurt with berries
Foods to Improve Performance
One of the best things to enhance your workout performance is to follow a balanced diet. A balanced diet will help you accomplish your fitness goals quickly. Here are some foods that you can incorporate into your diet:
- Eat whole nutrition and natural foods
- Take healthy carbs, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
- Opt for healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut, and avocado
- Take meat to get protein
- Low-fat dairy products
- Do a healthy addition of nuts, seeds, and sprouts
- Take iron-rich fish, cooked beans, and green vegetables
The Best Time to Eat
The best time to determine the eating time for maximum benefits of a workout depends on your exercise. For a light and low-impact workout, exercising on an empty stomach is valuable. Some low-impact exercises include walking, golfing, and gentle yoga.
However, you should always eat before exercising, which requires a lot of strength, energy, and endurance. It includes tennis, running, and swimming. It is especially important if you plan to work out for longer than an hour.
There are certain times you may want to eat during strenuous exercise lasting more than an hour, such as during a marathon. It is necessary to maintain the blood glucose levels needed to continue moving. It also helps you avoid using up stored energy in your muscles, which can help you build muscle mass.
Check in with your doctor if you have any health condition that is affected by what you eat and how you exercise.
If you are a diabetic patient, carefully monitor your blood sugar level before exercising on an empty stomach. And, if you have a thyroid condition, be sure to eat around your exercise program.
If you do exercise on an empty stomach, do not sweat it. Exercise without eating nutrients is only vital for low-intensity workouts. The perfect way to determine the time of your eating is the experiment. Be your guide, listen to your body, and do what feels best for you.
Here are some rules to follow for fasted cardio:
- Never exceed 60 minutes of cardio when exercising on an empty stomach
- Choose moderate or low-intensity workouts
- Drink plenty of water before and after a workout to stay hydrated
Still have questions about whether to eat or not before a workout, consult your healthcare professional. Only a doctor can help you determine the ultimate option for you.