If we delve all the way back to how our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived, we may have an explanation to the debate. Modern day research has found out that yes, this can indeed make you burn more fat, and we are beginning to discover the physiologic mechanisms behind this. Our body prefers to use it if it is there but if we intentionally fast, the body has no choice but to burn fats instead. How our body decides to burn fats in this scenario is based on the intensity and duration of exercise. Our body chooses how to burn calories based on how intense an exercise bout is and how long we perform it for. Power lifters and sprinters who exercise very intensely for less than 10 seconds burn almost no fat at all. Exercising on an empty stomach only makes sense if burning fat is your goal and you exercise at a moderate pace. Keep in mind that being in a caloric deficit is more important than anything mentioned above.
Fat loss, first and foremost, is always dependent on the simple equation of calories in vs.
The success of any of those programs is still dependent on being in a caloric deficit – expending more calories than the amount of calories consumed. Manipulating the timing of food intake is one of these strategies for improved fat loss and can work, but being in a caloric deficit is still a must. The practical application of this concept is that you need to make sure that if you are exercising less intensely, you need to make sure the duration is increased to ensure a large overall caloric expenditure. Conversely, if you are going to exercise super intensely because that is all you have time for or you just like that kind of training better, then exercising on an empty stomach may not be for you, unless you are willing to try something a little more extreme.
When we are fasted for 24 hours and longer, which was probably commonplace for our nomadic ancestors, the way our body releases hormones starts to change.
Insulin levels decrease and growth hormone (GH) increases when about 3-5 hours after your last meal, after your body has done processing it. When insulin levels are low, our body realizes we haven’t had food in awhile so we should start to gear up for relying on our fat stores.
Our whole fat burning factory gets revved up and fires on all cylinders for the sake of survival. In addition, GH levels spike up tremendously in order to maintain the integrity of our muscles so they don’t break down. They are a last resort and the last line of defense of our bodies ability to create energy, which is why it is only released after a prolonged fasted state.
While in this state, GH has been shown to be elevated by up to 2000%.2 If you eat a lot and then exercise very intensely, there will still be some extra GH flowing in you before it clears out. You will give the body the stimulus and the nutrients to build muscle and you will have just burned a ton of fat while fasting for 24 hours. This is physiologic mechanism is what those who participate in intermittent fasting try to take advantage of.
Those who like to exercise intensely can use this approach if they can bear fasting for the 24 hours it takes for GH levels to peak after a meal. If you have the discipline and the lifestyle that allows for fasting and exercising, you can take advantage of these physiologic tricks. Both intense exercisers and lower to moderate exercisers can burn more fat with these fasted state exercising approaches. Keep in mind that your training stimulus and your nutritional habits need to match as outlined in this article, otherwise you will get a drastically different effect than you are desire. We also don’t have to labor and battle for our lives anymore either so following this diet approach only makes sense if the exercise approach matches it.
He is a native of Queens, New York whose love for basketball and football propelled him into a career in health and fitness. His dedication to high-quality training and service earned him leadership roles in management, recruiting and teaching new and veteran trainers.
There is a lot of misinformation floating around on the web these days, especially when it comes to the subjuct of losing abdominal fat as fast as possible. As far as exercises for burning stomach fat goes, you want to do workouts designed to jack up your metabolism. Remember that muscle is a metabolically active tissue, meaning that it takes energy (burns calories) in order to maintain itself. If you rely on boring, back-breaking abdominal crunches and sit-ups to burn belly fat, you’ll never lose the ugly belly fat covering your abs.


Do the right types of exercises and eat a clean, balanced diet to lose the stomach fat that you want to shed from your body. In addition to making people uncomfortable about their appearance, belly fat can also increase your risk for heart disease and other health problems.
Many people wonder “what is the most effective way to lose fat around stomach” and I have to say that the best exercises to burn overall body fat is the best way to burn stomach fat.
For example, one 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that subjects who exercised first thing in the morning on an empty stomach burned 20 percent more fat than those who had breakfast first. Another report published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal in 2011 found that your body burns, on average, the same amount of fat whether you eat before or after a workout. If working out on an empty stomach makes you feel dizzy, nauseous and or lethargic, then forget it! On the other hand, if you wake up early to workout and just can’t stomach anything beforehand but feel fine, energetic, etc. You want to reduce body weight, bring your body in great shape and get rid of excess belly fat fast? We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.
Whether cardio on an empty stomach can speed up fat loss is a commonly debated fitness topic.
Two fuel sources—carbs & fats—are used to generate energy for muscle contraction during exercise.
When you deplete glycogen stores by fasting overnight, or going several hours without refueling, fatty acids break down in the mitochondria to be used as a secondary energy source. Results: After 20-30 minutes of exercise, the rate of fat burn was higher in the fasted group than in the glucose or fructose group.
The Take Away: This particular study suggests that more fat was burned by the group that performed MODERATE activity on an empty stomach… DURING THE EXERCISE ITSELF. Researchers from Italy investigated the contrasting reports on whether training in a fasting condition enhances weight loss.
Eating increased both oxygen consumption (VO2) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) significantly, 12 hours after the cardio, VO2 was still higher for the group who had eaten, although RER was significantly lower in the FED test, indicating greater fat burn. The group that ate before the moderate cardio session continued to burn significantly more calories up to 24 hours after the exercise bout. During intense exercise that approaches your maximum effort, most of your energy comes from glycogen. Hi Marc, I used to do it on an empty stomach and it is a lot different than when you have something on your stomach, you feel that you have more power, so my question is if I am going to workout first thing in the am, considering there is not much time to get ready for work and take daughter to school, how long before the workout should one get the protein juice or the fruit? Marc – What about doing High Intensity Interval Training on an empty stomach in a fasted state in the morning? I’ve found a bunch of articles on this topic, but this is the best, most comprehensive one I’ve ever read! I have found that not eating before any type of exercise or activity directly affects the performance of that task in a negative way.
I have recently been told to do cardio (low intensity for one hour) each morn on an empty stomach and trying to decide whether it’s worth the extra effort I need to put in to do that. HI, I would like to know if drinking coffee like 4 times a day interrupts my weight loss program?
Also to comment on the last 2 posters, coffee wont hurt you at all as long as your drinking it as is. One thing that has been spreading and raved in the fitness industry lately is working out on an empty stomach. This is how our body works to be efficient with energy production and it is the key to utilizing this training approach. And again, do not forget that overall caloric balance still needs to be in a negative if you want to lose weight! Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males.
Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man.
Still, he desired to understand more about the body so that he could better help his clients.
They are usually expecting some kind of miracle abs exercise that will magically burn off belly fat. Although I’m finding that more and more people are becoming better informed about body and fitness related principles, there are still many who believe that spot reduction is the way to go.


Eating a healthy, balanced diet is necessary to ensure long-term success in any program designed to significantly change body composition, including fat loss. This is part of the reason that interval training using big body compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, pushups, pullups, presses and dips work so well in a belly fat burning exercise routine.
Ab-specific exercises such as crunches and sit-ups tone muscles, but don’t guarantee your stomach fat will go away. Another study published in 2010 in the Journal of Physiology found that sweating before eating may help prevent weight gain and maintain insulin sensitivity, especially with a fat-rich diet (subjects were all intentionally fed a high sugar and high fat diet during the study to better demonstrate the positive effects, if any, of working out without eating). Not only that, but they also found that you are also more likely to lose more muscle and experience a drop in the intensity and overall calorie burn of your workout when exercising on an empty stomach. For endurance exercise performed at a moderate intensity, you obtain 50–60% of energy needed from glycogen (which is stored energy from carbs) and the rest from fats.
Adaptations to skeletal muscle with endurance exercise training in the acutely fed versus overnight-fasted state. I always hear people doing cardio on an empty stomach and how great it is, but I could never do it.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and just having a light snack before working out may be beneficial for the workout but not nutritionally.
If you are the type of person that feels like a pre-workout meal has no substantial influence on your energy or work output than high intensity intervals might be permissible for you. If you have a sensitive stomach try a less ripe banana as they have less sugar or half of a grapefruit. At a minimum, it takes me 15 to 30 minutes longer to warm up physically (this probably also accounts for the mental fatigue as well). The last two meals have carbs only in nuts and my breakfast has carbs in the form of oats and lts of protein. My question is …i do high intensity jogging for 45 to 55 minutes during late evenings rather than mornings…is it ok? Maybe there’s some fancy new crunch or sit-up variation that will give them a trim waistline in no time. Your body needs adequate nutrition in order to function optimally and to keep your metabolic rate up (basically, the rate at which your body burns calories).
Your workouts should be made up of primarily multi-joint (compound) movements performed quickly.
The idea is that exercising without eating anything first forces your body to tap into your fat stores for fuel.
What’s more, another 2002 study found that women who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates (via a carb-rich drink) prior to working out ended up eating less calories overall for the rest of the day. Research shows that people who burn fat during their workouts actually burn less fat the rest of the day. I always felt like I didn’t have the energy or drive that I typically do when I have a preworkout meal and it would bother me. It seems like new studies come out every day that encourage people to perform high intensity intervals due to the post-exercise calorie burn. Just remember, your body will also burn through muscle as well as fat if glycogen stores are depleted. Doing compund exercises in an interval type of routine work well to jack up your metabolism, in large part because the also increase muscle mass. Overtime, fat burning is not an immediate process, rather, it occurs over the course of, not a few hours, but a few days..
I think people who are below their normal body weight are closer to an empty stomach than others. As you burn more carbohydrates during your workout, the body will burn more fat post exercise. Doing cardio on an empty stomach if you aren’t able to sustain adequate energy levels, your workout will suffer. I was wondering, since you mention it in your article, how significant is the calorie burn following cardio?



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