Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Exercising on an Empty stomach

Question: I heard that when you exercise on an empty stomach (such as first thing in the morning) you'll burn more fat. Is this true?

Expert Answer:
In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn't have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something--even if it's just a small snack--within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn't have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.

However, every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it. When I workout in the morning, I always eat (and drink) something first thing after I wake up. Usually by the time I start my workout it doesn't hurt my stomach to exercise with a bit of food on it.

Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means that exercising without eating (such as after "fasting" during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all.


  1. Emmi, great entry, thank you for this, Hugs Lisa

  2. During the week I workout right from work, so there isn't any problem, but on the weekends I like to go in the morning.  I have to get up, WAKE UP and eat something.  I usually come *alive* 1 1/2 hours after I get up and then go to the gym.  I need to eat first!!

  3. good to no i was never sure about that. hugs tracy