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All About Working Out on an Empty StomachTuesday June 21, 2022 at 2:30 am
It’s sometimes recommended that one work out first thing in the morning – even before eating breakfast. Working out in fasted state is believed to help with weight loss. However, there is an argument to made about working out after eating too – that it might give one more energy and improve one’s performance. This article will explore various aspects of this question and determine which of the two theories is a fact and which is a myth.
The first question is whether working out on an empty stomach helps you lose more weight? While exercising on an empty stomach, one is exercising is known as fasted cardio. The theory is that the human body is forced to work out on an empty stomach and will feed on stored fat and carbohydrates for energy instead of the food one may have recently eaten, leading to a higher level of fat loss. The research in this regard has given mixed answers.
Another argument generally made in favor of working out on an empty stomach is that it can help break down proteins one will consume after the exercise. At the same time, there is a general agreement that eating protein-rich food after exercise is desirable and a must for most people; it doesn’t have to mean that one should start exercising on an empty stomach.
The problem with working out on an empty stomach is that there may be several disadvantages of same including the following:
- The body may also start using proteins as fuels instead of fats. These proteins may be needed to build and repairs muscles, including after exercise.
- Similarly, even if the body is consuming fats, it may do so indiscriminately – that is, it may consume fat from both the stomach and desirable fat in muscles.
- Eating after working out may also lead one to eat more as working out increases hunger.
- Working out on an empty stomach can lead to lesser stamina. That is because there isn’t a lot of fresh sugar in the blood for ready consumption.
- The lack of active reserves of energy in the form of glucose may make one lightheaded, nauseous, and even shaky.
- To top it all off, the body may change its default behavior if one was to work out on an empty stomach and may start using fats as the go-to material for energy. That will mean that the body might store more fats than usual. Thus it may lead to an increase in weight rather than a reduction.
One must note that most of what is written above is speculative; the research has to prove or disprove these theories. Working out in a fasted state forces the body to take to unusual means, which may not be recommendable unless one is sure about its benefits.
Thus it is wiser to eat a good healthy breakfast before going on a workout. Also, while one may speculate on light workouts, there is no doubt that one should always eat before exercise, requiring a lot of strength, energy, and endurance. These also include tennis, running, and swimming. It’s essential if one plans to work out for longer than an hour.
There are certain times one may want to eat during strenuous exercise lasting more than an hour. An example of that is during a marathon. It is necessary in such cases to maintain blood glucose levels needed to continue moving. One also needs to avoid using up stored energy in your muscles, which can help one build muscle mass.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The question ‘should one work out on an empty stomach?’ is connected with several frequently asked questions (FAQs). The following are some of the most important of these.
Question: What kind of foods can one eat before exercise to help improve performance?
Answer: Those who believe in eating food before exercise agree that eating a carbon-rich about two hours before exercise can increase performance. Here are some related tips:
- Always eat whole, nutritious, and natural foods.
- One should include healthy carbs like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc.
- One should always go for healthy fats, for example, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, etc.
- One should always get protein from sources like lean meats, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
- Nuts, seeds, and sprouts are valuable additions to the diet
- The various sources of iron, such as fish, cooked beans, and green vegetables, are also desirable.
However, if one decides to eat before working out, one must avoid excessive meals. Eating before exercise doesn’t mean eating heavily.
Question: What are some of the good food items one may eat after a good workout?
Answer: The following are some of the most healthy post-workout options:
- Low-fat chocolate milk
- Peanut butter sandwich
- yogurt with berries
- A fruit smoothie
- energy bar
- whole-grain bread
- soy milk
- nuts and seeds
Question: What are some other dietary precautions I must take while exercising?
Answer: The following additional precautions are recommended.
- Staying hydrated is essential – before, during, and after exercise, whether or not one eats before the exercise. It is always good to start the day with a glass of warm water. And one can stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water, sports drinks, juices, smoothies, etc.
- It is always wise to pace the body slowly during the exercise – thus letting your body adjust to the newer regime of exercise.
- Always make sure to eat something rich in proteins and good carbs after a workout, whether or not one took a meal before exercise. That is needed by the body to recover from muscle damage during the exercise.
- If the reader is watching their calorie intake and two meals scare them, they can eat a carbohydrate-rich meal a couple of hours before exercise and get some protein-rich food afterward.
- It is also important to wait nearly two hours after a meal before one exercise. The body needs that time to digest the food.
- Except when doing a prolonged exercise (a marathon or athlete’s), one should avoid eating carbohydrates during exercises.
- If the reader has a health condition such as a heart condition or diabetes, they must consult with a physician before changing their diet or exercises.
- The reader must note that the above information is general and may not apply to their case.
If the reader has any other queries, they should feel free to ask them here.
The Bottom Line
One can easily wrap up the above discussion by concluding that exercise on an empty stomach carries its risks, and one should continue doing it only if one sees the benefit in the same.