Should You Work Out on an Empty Stomach?

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If you’re in or around the fitness community (in person or online) you’ve probably heard someone say that working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is the best time, because you burn more fat. Is that true? Can you really lean down more just by skipping breakfast before you hit the gym?

We went on a search for answers. The assertion is based on the idea that if you don’t supply your body with fuel before getting your muscles working and your heart rate up, your body will be forced to turn to fat for energy supply.

Sounds nice, but it doesn’t seem to hold true. The Strength and Conditioning Journal conducted a study with cyclists to test the theory. One group ate before they trained, and the others had fasted, and the fat burn was the same in both groups. However, those that had fasted actually had 10% of their calorie burn come from protein – meaning their bodies were breaking down muscle. That’s definitely not what you want while training.

So the reality is this – not eating before you work out can actually be detrimental to your body and your goals. Aim to have at least a snack 45-60 mins ahead of time, and consume something with adequate protein and carbs (and a healthy fat isn’t a bad idea either). My favorite pre-workout snack? 1 slice of Ezekiel toast with almond butter and a few slices of bananas.

Stable & Spice

Fitness and nutrition series for equestrians.

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