Running on Empty: How to Time Your Meals and Your Exercise for Maximum Benefit
Exercise. It’s a key component of any healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s going for a run, doing some yoga, going for a swim or just hitting the gym, there are many options to choose from when it comes to keeping fit and active.
If you’re trying to get in shape, you’re probably thinking a lot about your food choices and what kind of exercise will work best for you. You may also be wondering when you should work out. The question of whether to work out on a full or empty stomach can be a tricky one to answer and the answer may not be the same for everyone.
Don’t fret! We’ve done the research for you to keep things simple.
Why you should consider working out on an empty stomach
The theory is that when you exercise on an empty stomach your body burns fat faster.
This theory is built on the premise that glycogen, a type of carbohydrate, is depleted overnight while we sleep. When you wake up in the morning, your glycogen levels are lower, which may be optimal for exercise because your body will turn to fats for energy in the absence of any carbs.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, a group of overweight men tested this theory, working out on empty stomachs. The research found that the men who didn’t eat had increased rates of fat burning in comparison to those who ate breakfast beforehand.
This theory has also been proven to work for active men, not just those who are overweight. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed twelve active men who ran on a treadmill. Those who didn’t have breakfast burned 20 percent more body fat.
A feature article published in The Telegraph states that according to a variety of studies, “a bout of aerobic exercise performed in the fasted as compared with non-fasted state increases the reliance on fat and subsequently reduces the reliance on carbohydrate as fuel during exercise, with several publications showing that fasted exercise oxidises (burns) around 20-30pc more fat.”
If working out before eating can help your burn more fat, you’re probably ready to stop reading here. Sounds great right? Well, there are some cases where this may not be a good option.
When working out on an empty stomach doesn’t work
First, working out before eating when you wake up in the morning (or in other words, after a period of fasting) is walking a bit of a fine line.
Kristen Schell, a registered holistic nutritionist, told Global News “If someone hasn’t eaten in an extended period of time — and we talk about fasted exercise as taking place first thing in the morning, so your last meal would have been dinner the night before — your glycogen is depleted and your body will use fat as fuel, but it could also use muscle. […] And since muscle fuels our metabolism, it’s actually not very helpful.”
She also mentions that when you work out before eating, you may simply not have enough energy to complete your workout, which certainly isn’t productive. According to Men’s Fitness, if you’re planning on doing a particularly high-intensity workout, your performance will suffer if you skip pre-gym carbohydrates.
Metro News dug into this issue further and found interesting information after analyzing a study done by BBC’s “Trust Me I’m A Doctor” feature. BBC said that “men indeed burn more fat after exercising on an empty stomach. Women, however, burn the most fat in the 3 hours following a workout and had better results when filled with a small meal before hand. The results found men burnt 8 per cent more fat if they eat after exercising, while women burn 22 per cent more when they ate before.”
An article published by Daily Mail explained that this was due to the fact that men and women burn and store fat in different ways.
Another aspect to consider is that your body doesn’t like being starved or stressed. If you do this and your body reacts negatively, your metabolism could actually slow down as a survival response. This means that next time you eat, your body may hold onto extra fat.
So, what should I do?
Ultimately, it depends on your body. If you do decide to try working out before eating, pay attention to how your body responds. If you feel worse after your work out than you did before, maybe that method isn’t for you. Some people have blood sugar issues (even if they don’t suffer from a full-fledged condition) that may lead to feelings of light-headedness or even fainting if they do too much with too little in their bellies. Obviously, if you fall into this category, exercising on an empty stomach is not for you.
It’s important for you to choose a routine that works best for your body and your routine. It’s always important, no matter your body type, to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. Drinking water and being sure to replenish your electrolytes (whether through food or an electrolyte-rich drink, like milk or Vega Hydrator) is vital.
And don’t forget, exercise isn’t the only part of weight loss and getting in shape.
What is the best strategy for reaching your weight loss goals?
According to Total Health Magazine, there are a few keys to staying healthy, in general. They say a good diet paired with strategically timed meals, exercising on a regular basis, getting adequate sleep, managing stress and keeping a positive attitude are great ways to stay healthy and happy.
Eating whole, clean foods and keeping processed foods to a minimum is also a smart way to treat your body right.
Plus, did you know that healthy fats can actually help you lose excess weight?
Fighting fat with fats seems weird, right? Actually, seed oils like flax oil and black cumin oil have healthy fats that can help you lose weight when taken regularly.
Black cumin oil contains high levels of phytosterols. These plant fats limit the amount of cholesterol that your body absorbs. Our Perfect Press Black Cumin Oil has plenty of phytosterols and also contains extremely high quantities of oleic acid — an unsaturated fatty acid that makes your body use fat more efficiently, so you’ll burn fat faster. This fatty acid is the reason why olive oil is often touted as being helpful for weight loss but black cumin oil actually contains 2500% more oleic acid than extra virgin olive oil!
Flax oil can also help you work off some weight. As the richest source of ALA omega–3s in nature, flax oil can support good gut health and speed up your metabolism, which will help you get the most out of your food and shed those pounds. Flax oil is extremely delicate though, so we recommend choosing your brand carefully to avoid potentially rancid and harmful flax oil. Perfect Press® Flax Oil is pressed for maximum nutrition and zero damage to the fatty acids.
Another helpful supplement is marine phytoplankton. This microalga is a powerful superfood. A good quality marine phytoplankton should boost your energy, which will help you stay alert during your workout and fill nutritional gaps in your diet. Oceans Alive is a raw marine phytoplankton supplement, with fresh, clean phytoplankton stored in a trace mineral solution (never dehydrated or processed).
If you’re looking to give these a try, we’ve got you covered. Our Weight Loss Bundle includes Perfect Press® Black Cumin Oil, Perfect Press® Flax Oil and a bottle of Oceans Alive. Not only that, but it includes a helpful ebook — Activate Your Weight Loss! is a handy guide that will assist you in using your products to maximum effect as well as planning your meals to suit your body and your lifestyle. This ebook is not available anywhere else!
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