Should you have a pre-workout meal? Or is it best to exercise on empty stomach?
Researchers at the University of Bath in England wanted to know if meal timing affects the health benefits of exercise.1
They recruited 10 healthy—but overweight and sedentary—young men ages 21 to 31. They had an average waist measurement of 41 inches.2
The scientists took samples of the subjects’ blood and fat tissues. Then they tested the men’s fitness levels and resting metabolic rates for baseline readings.
On two separate mornings, each of the 10 men walked for an hour on a laboratory treadmill at a moderate pace.
One morning the men skipped breakfast. The other morning they consumed a generous 600-calorie meal of toast, jam, cereal, milk, and orange juice.
Before and one hour after each of the workouts, the researchers took additional samples of blood and fat tissue.
Want to Burn Fat? Timing Is Everything
They found that on fasting mornings, the men burned more fat. What’s more, genes responsible for regulating blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the body were much more active. This is associated with improved overall metabolic health.
Professor Dylan Thompson is director of health research at the University of Bath. He is senior author of the study. The study clearly shows you should work out on an empty stomach to get the most health benefits, Professor Thompson said.
“If we just think of this in evolutionary terms,” he said, “our ancestors would have had to expend a great deal of energy through physical activity in order to hunt and gather food. So, it would be perfectly normal for the exercise to come first, and the food to follow.”3
The study recently was published in The American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism.4
The researchers pointed out that you need to fast for at least four hours prior to exercising to maximize fat burning. The best strategy may be to work out before breakfast. But that’s just one strategy…
There are other natural ways to shed body fat without cutting back on the foods you love. Discover how to unlock your fat-burning potential HERE.