ISSA certified Fitness Trainer
There is debate about strategies for maximal fat burning. But as long as you are exercising, you are doing a great service for your health no matter the time of day. Whether or not you want to work out first thing in the morning or later in the day is usually determined by what fits best into your daily schedule and how you feel at that time. To help clear up the confusion, it is possible to accomplish your goals of losing fat while maintaining lean muscle. Yes, exercising on an empty stomach allows for maximal fat burning, but it also causes maximal muscle loss. Since you are looking to preserve your muscle mass to prevent slow down in metabolism.
The theory behind this is that your blood sugar levels are low when you’re in a fasted state (after going all night without eating) which targets more fat burning. The problem is that some studies have shown that fat burning doesn’t really start until you’re 20 minutes into your cardio workout. That means you’ve wasted 20 minutes without a good source of fuel to sustain you. That could lead to fatigue before your body even starts metabolizing fat, which might mean shorter or crappier workouts in which you burn fewer calories than if you’d eaten a small snack to keep you going.
Some people are fine doing cardio without a meal in the morning, although they find they may need more fuel for a strength training workout. Other people workout so early, they may not have time to eat anything. The best answer to this is to do what works for you. Don’t go hungry just because you think you’re burning more fat…after all, if you cut it short or lower the intensity because of low energy, how much fat are you burning anyway? One study that examined the claim directly in 1995 found that a group of people did burn more calories from fat on days when they exercised on an empty stomach than on days when they had a small breakfast first. But it found that the difference was negligible, and other studies have shown that fewer calories are burned in the long run because the workouts are shorter.
If you do eat before a workout, make sure you give your body time to digest. The larger the meal, the more time you’ll need. But, if you choose a light snack (100-200 calories) and stick with higher carbohydrate meal, you can probably exercise after about 30-60 minutes.
Also there are some other benefits to eating before your workout:
It can boost recovery and strength gains
It can help you sustain longer, more intense workouts
It can help you avoid low blood sugar, which can make you feel dizzy or nauseous