Have you ever heard about the effects of working out on an empty stomach? People in general often recommend doing cardio before eating a meal called “fasted cardio” by fitness experts. This fasted cardio is both popular and controversial at the same time and a hot topic in all weight loss discussions.
Just like most of the weight loss trends, people are skeptical about it. Some of them claim that this empty stomach weight loss has helped them to lose a huge amount of weight whereas others say it’s a complete time waste.
Fasted cardio is simple and easy to follow approach; note that it is nowhere the same as intermittent fasting. It’s just working out as first thing in the morning and then eating a healthy breakfast. But does it really promote weight loss? What do health experts say about this?
Experts believe that fasted cardio helps a person to burn more fat than a standard workout. Emmie Satrazemis is a board-certified sports nutritionist and operates as a director at Trifecta. She says that; “Not having excess calories or fuel on hand from a recent meal or pre-workout snack forces your body to rely on stored fuel, which happens to be glycogen and stored fat,”
Earlier, a research study proved that working out in the morning on 8-12 hours long fast (including sleeping hours) may help to shed 20% more fat than average. On the other side, there are also some research studies that show there is no link between these two and overall fat loss is the same for all.
But not many people know that there is a huge difference between gaining muscle mass and retaining muscle mass. Satrazemis explains that;
“As long as you’re eating adequate protein and continuing to use your muscles, research studies suggest that muscle mass is pretty well protected, even in an overall calorie deficit,”
The only reason it happens is that the body needs fuel to supplement its functions. And amino acids stored inside the body are not much likely fuel sources like carbohydrates and fats.
So the best approach to lose weight fast is to do whatever suits your body, experts believe. The decision to follow a fasted cardio is just a personal preference and many people actually like to work out on an empty stomach. However, it can’t be true for all and it should definitely not be imposed on every person who wishes to lose weight.
Typically, a person who is considering an intense activity that required high power and energy, it is better to eat before starting it. David Chesworth is an ACSM-certified personal fitness trainer who recommends eating before a strenuous exercise.
He says that the human body primarily needs glucose to fuel all its activities. When a person is fasting, he doesn’t typically have the same physiology to meet the optional resource that a particular exercise may need. Chesworth further suggests that if a person wants to be strong, he better take a healthy meal before training.
But why do people suggest empty stomach exercise when it is of no good value? Well, Satrazemis shares that fasted cardio is extremely helpful for someone who is suffering from GI stress. In that case, even a light snack might make a person sick before hitting the gym. She suggests every person who can’t handle a big meal before a workout to eat at least two hours before hitting the gym.
People with certain health conditions are never recommended to workout on an empty stomach. Satrazemis recommends every person who is suffering from any underlying medical condition to consult a certified fitness expert before starting training.
In general, do not ignore dizziness, low blood pressure, headache, and body ache during a workout as it may increase the risk of an exercise-related injury.