December 03, 2020 2 min read

If you’ve ever worked out right after a meal, you know that you’ll quickly feel sick and bloated as you get into your workout routine. This makes it seem like working out before eating anything is the best route to avoid that sickness—and as a bonus, your body will have to pull from fat reserves if there’s no calories to use, right? But here’s why working out on an empty stomach is not a good idea.

Lowers Your Stamina

Food is the fuel your body needs to give your body adequate energy when you work out. Without the calories that food provides, there’s no glycogen to be converted into energy and thus you’ll exhaust yourself faster when you start working out. You may also experience low blood sugar, which creates feelings of lightheadedness, nausea, and shakiness—which is as bad, if not worse, than feeling sick from working out after a meal.

Disrupts Your Metabolism

As a result of an empty stomach and a lack of energy, you’ll actually just make yourself even hungrier. When your body doesn’t have glycogen to turn into energy, it begins to rely on your fat stores to create energy. In theory, this seems like a good thing. You want to get rid of the fat, right? Well, your body will assume something is wrong since it keeps being starved, and it wants to maintain fat stores. So, to compensate for such a quick loss of fat, your metabolism shifts and actually begins trying to store more. This state is a “survival mode” of sorts. As your body begins burning fewer calories, you end up counteracting your weight loss by having to eat more to feel satisfied. Thus, this is the biggest reason why working out on an empty stomach is not a good idea.

Alternatively, eating properly before a workout can actually suppress your appetite, so you don’t end up eating too much and you still feel full and satisfied throughout your day.

Hinders Your Workout

Cardio exercises such as pedaling on a Precor exercise bike is a workout that best compliments a healthy diet. As mentioned previously, working out after having eaten can help suppress your appetite to avoid cravings, and cardio is one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss. If properly balanced, the two go hand in hand for an effective weight loss regime. Not eating, however, will keep you from pushing yourself and really getting a good workout in, making your exercise ineffective and your fasting made moot if you’ve made no progress.

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