Does Working Out on an Empty Stomach Really Burn More Fat : After long studies and much debate, many fitness professionals have concluded that the key to weight loss lies not in training but in a good quality diet. However, there is a pressing question: does working out on an empty stomach lead to even more weight loss?
Empty stomach training: when it works and when it doesn’t
The theory behind working out on an empty stomach is that a morning cardio session, before breakfast, helps you burn more calories. More specifically, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, up to 20% more calories than if you had eaten before the training.
The explanation is quite simple. When you wake up and the first thing you do is train, the body has limited resources of carbohydrates, more specifically glycogen. Thus, it will have to use fat resources to supply energy. By default, weight loss will also occur.
However, if glycogen is depleted throughout the body during the night – which can happen if you had an early dinner and you slept 8 hours or more – the body may use the resources stored in your muscles instead of fat. This will result in muscle mass loss.
It is unlikely, however, that glycogen resources are consumed entirely during the night. Most of us have dinner only a few hours before bedtime and do not always sleep enough. So, a workout on an empty stomach in the early hours would accelerate fat burning.
But, the disadvantages of exercising on an empty stomach can translate into a state of rapid fatigue, lethargy, dizziness, or dehydration, as this practice deprives both your body and brain of nutrients. Without the energy provided by eating, you will not be able to bring your training to a high enough intensity, the number of burned calories will drop, and your performance will hinder.
Another disadvantage is this; if breakfast is skipped and not enough calories are consumed later in the day this can lead to decrease in libido as the body shuts down the reproductive system in favor of other vital functions of the body.
Why train on an empty stomach
If you eat too much before training, some of the blood that should reach the muscles during training will be directed to the digestive system for food processing. Because the blood carries oxygen, it is very likely that the muscles receive less oxygen. And this limits the body’s ability to melt as many calories as possible.
If you do not eat or eat very little, the body will not be so preoccupied with digestion and will provide optimal amounts of oxygen to the muscles. This will also lead to the acceleration of burning calories.
One method that can be useful in this context is intermittent fasting. It’s about a nutritional meal planning strategy to speed up fat metabolism and weight loss.
The nutritional strategy involves the elimination of meals, either daily or weekly, in order to reduce the level of body fat.
The fasting has two important effects on the body:
- Intermittent fasting improves the body’s response to insulin, the hormone that maintains optimal blood glucose levels. This makes the nutritional strategy effective. Why is it important to increase insulin sensitivity? Improving insulin sensitivity leads to better control over body weight by losing extra pounds and maintaining muscle mass.
- Along with a regular weight training program and sufficient rest, intermittent fasting is the best way to increase growth hormone that supports muscle mass development and fat burning at the same time.
Also, intense exercise which involves many muscle groups, results in a considerable increase in testosterone levels. Therefore, it goes without saying that an intermittent fasting and training combination has a huge potential to bring you the desired results: weight loss and muscle development.
Studies have shown that workouts in the fasting stage, on an empty stomach, are an excellent way to increase muscle mass and insulin sensitivity. This is not solely due to the hormonal response but also to the effective absorption of the post-workout meal.
In short, a workout during fasting assures proper assimilation of carbohydrates, protein and very few are assimilated in the form of fat. When you train on an empty stomach you burn more calories, and if you practice this long-term strategy, the body begins to melt fats more efficiently.
There is also an increase in endurance. When the body becomes accustomed to working on an empty stomach, it will function better when it has sufficient energy resources.
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