Should you workout on an empty stomach? Here are the pros and cons

Should you workout on an empty stomach? Here are the pros and cons

Should you workout on an empty stomach? Here are the pros and cons

Morning workout

It is usually recommended to workout first thing in the morning for it is believed to burn the most calories. The debate over whether to workout or not, on an empty stomach has sparked differing opinions, leaving many fitness enthusiasts confused about the right approach.

While some swear by the ‘fasted cardio’, others insist on a hearty pre-workout meal.

But, which is healthy and which one poses risks to your body and performance?

Working out

Exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, offering numerous physical and mental benefits. Regular exercise helps improve cardiovascular health, build muscle strength, boost metabolism, enhance mood, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, the timing and food consumption prior to your workouts can influence their effectiveness and impact your body.

Should you workout on an empty stomach?

The idea of working out on an empty stomach has gained popularity in recent years especially with the at-home-workout trend. Numerous fitness influencers suggested that it can accelerate fat loss and improve insulin sensitivity just like a gym workout did.
The logic behind the empty stomach workout approach is that when you exercise in a fasted state, your body taps into its fat stores for energy, leading to greater fat burning.

Is it healthy for you?

Working out on an empty stomach ensures enhanced fat burning because our body then relies on stored fat for energy since glycogen levels are depleted. This promotes fat loss over time.

Further, ‘fasted workouts’ improve insulin sensitivity making it easier for the body to manage blood sugar levels.

The cons on the other hand are of reduced performance and at times muscle loss. Exercising without food and fuel leads to decreased energy levels, making it challenging to give your 100% to the workout. Which may in turn result in shorter or less intense workouts. In some extreme cases, fasted workouts lead to muscle breakdown as the body seeks alternative energy sources.

What risks does it pose?

Working out on an empty stomach can pose risks, especially if not done correctly or if one has specific health conditions. Risks such as hypoglycemia, i.e., low blood sugar levels can cause dizziness, weakness, and fainting during exercise, potentially leading to accidents or injuries.

Additionally, it will lead to decreased exercise performance as without proper nutrition, your workouts may suffer in terms of intensity, endurance, and overall effectiveness.

Also, in the absence of available energy sources, your body may break down muscle tissue for fuel, which is counterproductive for those aiming to build or maintain muscle mass.

How is the workout affected?

The impact of working out on an empty stomach varies from person to person. For some it might mean low intensity workout which are more suitable for fasted cardio as the strength requirement is also less. Some people might adapt to the empty stomach workout and experience minute performance decline but others might struggle with discomfort or even dizziness.

Further, for people who like to train for a long time, the empty stomach workout might be of disadvantage because the strenuous sessions on an empty stomach will lead to immunity problems.

Although people trying to lose weight are recommended to workout on an empty stomach, one should still consult a medical professional before starting their regime. On the other hand, while building muscle, it is better to have some pre-workout nutrition.

Things to follow

If you decide to give fasted workouts a try, make sure you have a few things right.

For example, stay hydrated before and during the workout. Dehydration can aggravate the effects of fasting (dizziness, pacing heartbeat etc). Further, try consuming some electrolytes before or during the workout to maintain balance and have some energy.

If you are new to fasted workouts, it would be better to start small. Try to have a banana or some protein yoghurt before you start working out to not exhaust your body immediately. If you start feeling dizzy between the workout it is better to take a break and have a few almonds or the likes to replenish some energy.

Health Note

If you suffer from any health conditions or are just starting to workout make sure to take advice from a medical professional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *