If you’ve ever wondered if it’s better to exercise on an empty stomach, before you eat breakfast, or have breakfast and then have your workout, I’ll evaluate it here.
For years we have been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that you should eat a good and nutritious breakfast to have the best exercise session. But is that really true? Here are some benefits of exercising on an empty stomach, which means before eating breakfast or whatever ends up being your first meal of the day if you intermittently fast, like I do.
Exercising on an empty stomach improves glucose and insulin levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes;
As I explain in Today is Still the Day, exercising on an empty stomach is particularly effective for losing fat, as it reduces both total body weight and body fat percentage. Exercising after eating only reduces body weight;
Curb your food intake for the rest of the day, resulting in an overall energy deficit of about 400 calories;
It can stimulate growth hormone and testosterone production, preventing depression and optimizing tissue regeneration;
People who skipped breakfast and exercised on an empty stomach had better working memory in the mid-afternoon and reported less mental fatigue and tension later in the day than those who ate cereal before exercising.
Helps prevent depression.
Exercise and fasting together cause oxidative stress, which helps counteract muscle aging.
So, I think it’s safe to say that if losing fat and improving muscle health is your main goal, exercising on an empty stomach would be the way to go.
Another big plus is that exercising while fasting for more than 14 to 18 hours (which you could do if you’re intermittent fasting) is likely to activate as much autophagy as if you were fasting for two to three days by increasing AMPK, NAD +, and inhibiting mTOR. . Autophagy is the process by which the body cleanses damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells. It occurs during prolonged fasting.
So should you never eat before exercising? It is not appropriate for everyone. It depends on your age, when you last ate, whether or not you are pregnant, medication use, your medical history, your physical condition, whether or not you are metabolically flexible, and the type of exercise you do. If you feel weak, dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded, you should probably eat something before exercising. By the way, I wouldn’t recommend a bowl of cereal. A light protein meal like a small whey protein shake is a good option.
As with all things, it is always best to listen to your body and use wisdom to find what works best for you.
Do you eat before you exercise or do you exercise regularly on an empty stomach?