Working out regularly is necessary for weight loss as well as to maintain a healthy weight. However, various factors can make a workout more effective. There has always been confusion about whether to eat before a workout or not. Some studies suggest that working out on an empty stomach can lead to faster weight loss. However, other studies suggest the opposite. Working out when you’re hungry can cause you to burn fat for energy as the carb reserves are already used due to which you feel hungry again. However, the total number of calories you burn remains the same. Therefore, not much difference can be seen. One drawback of working out on an empty stomach is that you cannot work out for a long time with full energy. Generally, such a workout lasts up to 30 minutes only. Sometimes when an extreme workout is carried out on an empty stomach it can also cause the body to use protein for energy. This can reduce the amount of protein present in the body which is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It will be beneficial to avoid strength training when you’re hungry as strength training can exert the muscles and the body may use muscle for energy. It can cause side effects like giddiness, overexertion, and dehydration. Also, carrying out a heavy workout can reduce the blood sugar level which can induce hunger more. This can lead to unhealthy food choices and overeating. Working out on an empty stomach is not recommended for people suffering from problems like low blood pressure and diabetes.
What do studies suggest?
In a study, it was seen that people who ate a pre-workout snack also burned the same amount of calories as the people who skipped breakfast did. However, people who had a snack before a workout were more energetic later on.
Another study was conducted by sfgate.com to understand the workout performance of some females who carried out a moderate-intensity workout. Some of them followed the workout after three hours of consuming a high-carb meal low in protein, and fat while others did the same after six hours of consuming the food. It was seen that women who performed the workout after three hours of consuming the meal performed better as compared to the other few females. Hence according to the study, it can be said that carrying out a workout when you’re hungry may not be best for weight loss.
One published study suggests consuming a light meal ranging from 200-400 calories 2-3 hours before a workout. In the study, it was seen that people who consumed 300-400 calories three hours before a workout were able to bike for 30 minutes more as compared to people who did not eat anything. Reference this, it was also concluded that exercising on a hungry stomach for a long time can reduce the overall number of calories you burn.
Hence, concluding from the above-mentioned studies it can be said that working out on an empty stomach does not give any benefits in weight loss and can lead to various health-related problems also.