The debate on whether it is better to eat before exercising in the morning or after has been going on for years. Those who believe that it is best to eat first said that it can help boost blood sugars, and it can give the body enough fuel to increase the length and intensity of a workout. Eating before exercising in the morning can also help keep you from feeling dizzy or fatigued.
Meanwhile, those who believe that it is best to eat after exercising in the morning can help you burn more fat.
When is the best time to exercise?
A study from the United Kingdom supports the latter point of view as they signed up 30 obese or overweight men as participants. They found out that those who exercised before breakfast burned fat faster than those who ate breakfast before they worked out. That is because exercising with no fuel forces your body to turn the stored carbs into energy, and when all carbs are used, the body turns to fat cells for energy.
Unfortunately, those who ate breakfast before exercising did not lose more weight during the six weeks of the study. Those who skipped breakfast before exercising were able to strengthen their muscles as it was more responsive to insulin, which controls high blood sugars. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Javier Gonzales, an exercise physiologist, and an associate professor in the department for health at the University of Bath stated that the group who exercised before eating breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin, which is more remarkable given the fact that both groups lost weight and they both gained fitness.
The effect on your weight
In 2017, a study from the University of Bath looked at 10 men, and they found the same results, because of the lower blood sugar levels of the participants after fasting, they were able to burn more fat. Those men who ate before exercising burned more calories.
In 2010, a study found the same results. They asked 28 men to participate and divided them into groups. One group did not exercise; another group was put through intense morning exercise composed of cycling and running four times a week while another group ate breakfast before exercising.
The group that did not exercise gained weight. But contrary to the study that was released in 2017, the group who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight too. It was only the group who exercised on an empty stomach and drank water to hydrate themselves, were able to maintain their weight, lost fat, and kept their blood sugars low.
Based on the studies from 2010, 2017, and 2019, it is safe to say that exercising before eating is better for your overall health, even if it could be a bit uncomfortable to do.
If you want to work out on an empty stomach, it is best to use the four R's of recovery: rehydrate, replenish, repair, and reinforce. Drink water or sports drinks while working out, and within 15 to 30 minutes, eat a meal with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. You can eat fruit, low-fat Greek yogurt, trail mix, or a banana with peanut butter to add more energy into your body.