There are so many exercise myths out there—probably as many as there are food myths. So I’m more than happy to be able to dispel one of them today.
Because a lot of people think that they need to eat before a workout to fuel up. But you know what? It just isn’t true.
In fact, new research shows that you could actually double your body’s fat-burning power, just by hitting the gym on an empty stomach. Let’s take a look…
Small change, big benefits
In the first phase of this study, researchers asked 12 sedentary and overweight or obese men to engage in 90 minutes of moderate cycling.
The subjects exercised either before or after a breakfast that consisted of 65 percent carbohydrates. And if you managed to make it through that sentence without laughing, you’re a more forgiving audience than I.
I mean, honestly… I don’t know what they expected to happen when subjects ate that many carbs in one meal. But I can’t say I’m surprised by what they found.
For one thing, blood sugar and insulin levels were both significantly higher in patients who exercised after breakfast. Exercising before breakfast, on the other hand, had some pretty impressive benefits.
In fact, during the second half of this study, 30 overweight or obese men either exercised before a carb-rich breakfast, after a carb-rich breakfast, or not at all for six weeks. And researchers found that men who exercised first burned double the fat.
It’s important to note, though, that this didn’t impact weight loss—at least not in this study. Subjects lost the same amount of weight—and gained the same amount of fitness—regardless of when they worked out.
But working out before breakfast increased insulin responsiveness dramatically. (Meanwhile, post-breakfast exercisers fared no better than controls in this department—though you have to wonder what would have happened if these poor test subjects were served a proper breakfast not laden with carbohydrates.)
People who exercised first also showed higher increases in key muscle proteins—especially those involved in glucose transport. And all it took was a little exercise on an empty stomach.
Another reason to skip breakfast
I’ve personally never felt the need to eat before a workout. And I’ve noticed that my workouts are much improved because of it. And really, why wouldn’t they be?
So-called “carb loading” might be useful for already-lean marathon runners. But for the average person sweating it out at the gym in order to drop a few pounds, it’s completely counterproductive—as this research so clearly illustrates.
But you know what I do recommend? Drinking a low-sugar whey protein shake to help repair and recover your muscles after a workout—and sticking with fresh, low-carb, fat-and protein-rich meals for the rest of the day.
Though if you absolutely must have something in your stomach to exercise, then make yourself that whey protein shake beforehand. It would certainly be better for your muscles and your metabolism than the carb-rich breakfast these researchers were serving.
At the end of the day, this is yet another example of the “experts” making assumptions from the wrong starting point. And it’s completely maddening—not to mention damaging to the cause.
Because let’s face it: People don’t like to exercise. So figuring out how to make any workout the most efficient it can be—in the hopes that people will actually see an improvement quickly and therefore be more inclined to stick with it—is vitally important.
Exercising after an overnight fast is one easy way to achieve this goal—at least for obese and overweight patients who aren’t already active. And since breakfast is overrated anyway, it’s just one more reason to postpone your steak and eggs.
P.S. I discussed the entire concept behind intermittent fasting in the September 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The simple ‘6-hour trick’ that can completely overhaul your metabolism”). Subscribers have access to this and all of my past content in the archives. So what are you waiting for? Become a subscriber now—and start fasting and exercising today for a healthier tomorrow.
“Increase health benefits of exercise by working out before breakfast.” Science Daily, 10/18/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191018080619.htm)