It's embarrassing to admit, but I used to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach.
It's embarrassing to admit, but I used to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach. Not only did I worry about getting cramps if I ate, but I also thought it could speed up weight loss. The idea seems logical — if you don't have any food in your belly, your body will start using up stores of fat as its energy source. I'm not the only one. Many bodybuilders and gym goers also believe sweating it out on an empty belly will help burn more fat instead of using up the stores of quick carbs found in the food they've just eaten. This couldn't be further from the truth, and research conducted by Strength and Conditioning Journal shows that calories burned comes from muscle instead.
Not only are you losing muscle by exercising hungry, but since you have no fuel to work out, you won't have the energy to exercise as long or as intensely as you would if you had eaten. This translates to less overall calories burned. In another study, women who consumed 45 grams of carbs before working out actually ended up eating less calories the rest of the day, which also aids in weight loss.
The bottom line is that if you're trying to lose weight, working out without eating is not the way to go about it. In order to maximize your caloric burn, you want to eat a healthy snack before sweating it out in your sports bra. Need some ideas? Keep reading for my favorite preworkout snacks.