why you should exercise
on an empty stomach
Not only has fasting been shown to improve make us live longer, it also appears to be of great value for athletes.
If you are aiming to burn fat and build muscle, try short-term fasting. Not only has fasting been shown to improve make us live longer, it also appears to be of great value for athletes.
When you fast, your body responds by secreting several key hormones. In particular, testosterone and growth hormone (GH) trigger fat burning and building of new muscle tissue. Testosterone also helps improve energy levels, mood and libido among other things. Exercising when fasting has shown to increase levels of these hormones at a magnified level.
Working out on an empty stomach also has notable effects on our hearts and blood cholesterol levels. Because both fasting and working out cause stress, we release more cholesterol instead of glucose, meaning our bodies draw upon fat as a fuel source. The fewer fat cells our bodies contain, the less likely we will find ourselves losing sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is the key hormone that supports our ability to absorb the nutrients from the food we do eat and directs sugars into cellular storage for future energy. When we eat too much too often, we become can resistant to the effects of this hormone and losing body fat is much more difficult.
How does one fast intermittently?
At the very least, do not eat 2-3 hours before your workout. If you are looking to maintain a certain caloric intake, instead of skipping a meal you can choose to follow a condensed eating window schedule where you take all of your meals in a period of four to six hours during the day.
When I practice intermittent fasting, I take my first high-fat, medium-protein, low-carb meal at 1pm and finish my second meal by 5pm. I normally do a morning workout around 7am and/or evening at 7pm so my digestion is clear. During the non-meal times I drink only water and non-blood-sugar-spiking liquids like bulletproof coffee.
Without supervision or experience, if you are on a very intensive training regimen with daily workouts I don’t recommend whole day fasting. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor or trainer before fasting for a longer period of time. And as always, when you encounter new information about diet or tips on training, keep in mind that each of us has a unique make up which demands certain conditions – just as no two bodies require the exact same diet or workout regimen. If you feel great if you’ve had a piece of fruit, shake, or carb-heavy snack pre-work out, don’t feel the need to make uncomfortable changes.
Any questions about workout or diet? Feel free to contact me!