Should you exercise on an empty stomach or not?
This is a question that has been a great source of debate in many quarters not just with the people who are working out but also with trainers and others. There is also the concept of a ‘fasted cardio’, which simply means that you exercise when you are on an empty stomach. This means exercising at a time when your body is no longer processing food, which means 3 to 6 hours from the time you have eaten last. Different methods work for different folks!
The concept is that when you exercise on an empty stomach, glycogen, a stored carbohydrate in your body is usually depleted in the morning. Therefore, when you spend the whole night without eating, your body is likely to burn more fat working out on an empty stomach as your store of carbohydrates is not easily available. This also helps your body deliver plenty of oxygen to the muscles while working out and is more effective in breaking down the fat.
In case, you have eaten a huge meal before your workout a portion of your blood would be used by your digestive system to process the food that you have eaten rather than for the muscles that you are exercising.
Will it work for everyone?
The fact is that ‘fasted cardio’ may not work for everyone. Some people tend to get lightheaded in case they exercise on an empty stomach. If you are one of them, wake up early and have a small breakfast at least an hour before your workout. An apple, a few nuts or a banana make good pre-workout snacks. If you are a regular coffee drinker, go for a cup of coffee before your morning workout. However, remember that this can work like a diuretic, so don’t forget to sip on water before and during exercise.
You could try working out on an empty stomach and see if it works for you. However, if you find that you lack energy or feel ill, you could have a snack or breakfast beforehand.