Exercise on an Empty Stomach

Posted to misc.fitness.aerobic by Denise Howard

Someone said:
> Make sure you do you exersice in the moring on an empty stomach.

Oops, just when you were doing so well. :-( Some folks _like_ to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach, but it's not going to help them lose weight any faster than exercising another time of the day or than after having a bagel.

There's an old exercise myth that doesn't seem to ever die, which says that after a night's sleep your muscles' ready energy is depleted so that if you exercise right then before eating you'll "only" burn fat. In reality, if your muscles' ready energy stores were that depleted you wouldn't even be able to get out of your bed. Metabolism of fat is a long, slow process (in biological terms), so if you had to depend solely on it to do a workout, it would have to be a very, very slow, easy one. (Ever seen film footage of a tree sloth moving?)

What matters in the weight/fat loss battle is not what percentage of your energy is coming from fat at a given time in your workout, or even across the whole workout, but _total calories burned_. The more calories you can burn in a workout, the more efficiently you will have used your time. Go at as intense a pace as you can maintain for at least 20 minutes continuously. If you have more time, shoot for longer at a slightly easier pace; if you have less time, go harder.

To go at such a pace first thing in the morning, most people find they have a lot more energy and therefore burn more calories if they first eat a little something with plenty of carbohydrates--half a bagel, or some yogurt, or a piece of fruit. Think of it as "priming" the well of energy in your body.

ACE and AFAA certified fitness instructor

Return to the fitness links page