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Is it possible to exercise on an empty stomach? The doctor talked about the pros and cons.

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 11:38:29

Are you the type who is ready to go for a morning run before breakfast? Or go to the gym before dinner on an empty stomach? Let’s find out from an expert if it is possible to train on an empty stomach.

What we will tell you

Benefits of exercising on an empty stomach

Candidate of Medical Sciences, gastroenterologist of the Euroonko clinic in St. Petersburg

“Exercising on an empty stomach will definitely not harm a healthy person. Immediately after a heavy meal, strenuous physical exertion on the body should be avoided.”

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise helps improve cardiovascular health, build muscle strength, improve metabolism, improve mood, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, the timing and food intake before exercise can affect exercise performance and body quality.

Training on an empty stomach is more suitable for people who practice physical education than for professional athletes, that is, with little physical activity.

Among other things, exercising on an empty stomach helps reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Exercising on an empty stomach has gained popularity in recent years. Several studies have shown that exercising on an empty stomach helps burn fat. The logic is that at this point the body uses fats and sugars for energy, so when there is nothing left in the stomach, the fat reserves accumulated in the body are burned. However, the scientific evidence supporting this claim is still inconclusive.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Maridav

Scientific work examining the pros and cons of fasted training is limited. Some people who exercise on an empty stomach have a higher rate of fat oxidation than people who consume a meal containing carbohydrates 0.5 to 3 hours before exercise.

It has also been shown that an aerobic exercise session on an empty stomach can increase the body’s use of stored fat as a fuel source. In a 2022 study, fasting before an evening workout had a similar effect, but researchers found that this type of activity impairs performance in healthy men and women.

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One problem is that the benefits of fasting before exercise are short-lived. While people burn a certain percentage of stored fat, over time the total amount of fat burned generally decreases. This is because the intensity required to sustain a high-impact workout exceeds the body’s capacity when inactive.

For example, the same 2022 study also found that hungry participants had a harder time maintaining the workout. Their motivation decreased and their results worsened. Meanwhile, there are scientific articles that point out that training on an empty stomach can increase the body’s resistance as it learns to use oxygen more efficiently and burn fat as a source of energy.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Bogdan Malizkiy

In fact, the rate at which you burn fat during exercise depends on many factors, including the type of exercise, the intensity of the exercise, and your overall diet.

Disadvantages of training on an empty stomach

The question of whether it is possible to train on an empty stomach causes many disagreements between athletes, coaches and nutritionists. Some people follow this practice hoping to speed up their weight loss process, while others fear the negative consequences. Let’s talk about them.

The disadvantages of training on an empty stomach are decreased performance and sometimes loss of muscle mass. Physical activity without food or fuel results in lower energy levels, making it harder to give 100%. This, in turn, can lead to shorter or less intense workouts.

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In some rare cases, training on an empty stomach causes muscle breakdown as the body seeks alternative sources of energy.

Exercising on an empty stomach can be dangerous, especially if done incorrectly or if you have certain medical conditions. For example, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can cause dizziness, weakness, and fainting during exercise, which could lead to injury.

Photo: istockphoto.com/kazuma seki

A too intense decrease in sugar levels during prolonged exercise is a disadvantage of exercising on an empty stomach, that is, a certain balance must be maintained. I would not recommend training on an empty stomach for people of thin build or those with blood sugar levels below 4 mmol/L.

Additionally, when training on an empty stomach, serious dehydration is possible. This, in turn, can cause fainting and even loss of consciousness.

Exercising on an empty stomach can have advantages and disadvantages. It is important to approach this issue individually and take into account the characteristics of your body.

Alternatives to training on an empty stomach

As we have already seen, training on an empty stomach is a controversial topic. What are the options?

Fasted workouts with added caffeine.

One way to maintain energy during a workout without eating is to drink a cup of coffee before you start exercising. Caffeine helps improve endurance, concentration and accelerates the breakdown of the body’s fat reserves. However, it is important to remember that each body has its own reaction to a toning substance, so you should try this method on yourself and monitor your well-being.

Photo: istockphoto.com/urbazon

Caffeine can be obtained from coffee, green tea, or special supplements.

It should be remembered that excessive consumption can cause increased heart rate, anxiety and sleep problems.

Balanced meal 1-2 hours before training

Eating a balanced meal before exercise will provide the body with the energy and nutrients it needs without overloading the digestive system. The ideal option would be a combination of complex carbohydrates (oats, brown rice, couscous), easily digestible proteins (chicken breast, fish, cottage cheese) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds).

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Before training, it is advisable to avoid heavy, fatty and high-calorie foods to avoid discomfort.

Carbohydrate drink or gel during exercise.

During long duration or high intensity training, the body needs an additional source of energy. A carbohydrate drink or gel will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent energy depletion.

When is the best time to train?

As for the time of day, everything is individual.

Each person who exercises regularly has their own preferences or schedules, which are best coordinated with a professional trainer.

Also read:

A professional athlete named 4 reasons to train at the same time.

Do you want more tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle?

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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