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Eating vs. Not Eating Before a Workout: Here’s the Secret to Burning Maximum Fat

Everyone knows that exercise and our feeding habits are connected, but how exactly does this relationship work? Thanks to a new study, we now have the answer to this pressing question.

Apparently, working out on an empty stomach rather than having a bite thereafter amplifies the effects of exercise.

Generally, any type of exercise is beneficial to our health. However, existing studies, as well as personal experiences, suggest that individuals respond differently to exercise, even after sticking to a similar routine

Different people respond differently to exercise

Some people become fitter than their counterparts, lose an extra amount of weight, or are able to control their blood sugar levels better.

Scientists credit these differences to genetics, physique, temperament, diet, and numerous other subtle features specific to an individual.

Meal Timing

This new study adds to this previously existing knowledge, citing that meal timing is also crucial to how our bodies respond to exercise.

During a workout routine, glucose or body fat works as fuel that powers the muscles. This fuel comes either from what you’ve consumed recently once it is digested, or from deposits that the body keeps stored up.

Yes, the body has its reservoirs, and mostly for storing fat. Muscles, by the way, serve as important fat reservoirs, but the problem comes in when they accumulate too much of it.

As fatty muscles are somewhat resistant to insulin, excess build-up may lead to insulin resistance, which in turn, leads to high blood sugar. Needless to say, such an eventuality puts you at more risk of developing diabetes Type 2, in addition to other chronic metabolic conditions.

Glucose or body fat serves as fuel during an exercise routine

This is what prompted the University of Bath researchers to query the effects of meal timing on fat combustion during exercise, as hacking this would go a long way in preventing the aforementioned effects of excessive muscle fat accumulation.

For the study, the scientists signed up 30 sedentary men classified as being overweight, tested their fitness along with their insulin sensitivity, then split them into three categories.

The first group became the study’s control, and the men in this category were to continue with their daily lives as usual. As for the others in either group, they were subjected to supervised exercise thrice a week, with exercise being done early in the morning.

They were riding stationary bikes set to moderate pace, all while their heart rate, sugar consumed, and fat burned were being monitored. Periodically, scientists inquired how they were feeling.

The Placebo Effect

Two hours prior to exercising, one group would usually take vanilla-flavored shakes, while the other would take a seemingly similar drink, but theirs was a placebo containing water and zero calories. The flavor, however, was the same.

As such, the men in this second group were practically riding on empty stomachs, all while being oblivious to it. Soon after the exercise, each group of riders received the opposite drink, with this going on for 6 weeks.

Working out on an empty stomach might yield better fat loss results

Naturally, men in the control group exhibited no changes. As for those in the other two, those who’d taken the placebo before exercising had lost twice as much fat as their counterparts and also showed increased sensitivity to insulin.

Professor Javier Gonzalez was the study’s lead author and while confirming their findings, insisted that we can best benefit from exercise by having our routine before breakfast.

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