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Exercising on an Empty Stomach: Good Idea or Not?

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's an age-old question, whether it's better to exercise before or after eating.

Research done in the United Kingdom might provide the impetus for some people: According to a small study, exercise burns more body fat when you do it on an empty stomach.

The research compared the effects of exercising after eating breakfast to exercising in a fasting state, meaning nothing eaten after dinner the night before. The participants did a moderate-intensity treadmill workout, followed by a recovery drink and, later on, a pasta-based lunch.

After calculating energy in through food and energy out through exercise, the researchers found that exercising in fasting mode can lead to burning 20 percent more calories than exercising after breakfast.

Some people, however, get lightheaded if they exercise on an empty stomach. In that case, get up early enough to have a small breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Remember that eating too close to exercise is counter-productive.

General guidelines for exercising after eating:

  • Wait 3 to 4 hours after eating a large meal.
  • Wait 2 to 3 hours after a small meal.
  • Wait 1 hour after a small snack.

If you're a confirmed morning coffee drinker, it's probably fine to have a small cup of joe before you work out. But since it acts like a diuretic, it's even more important to sip water before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration.

After exercise, have some protein and carbs within two hours to help muscles recover. A post-exercise meal can be a simple choice like banana slices with peanut butter, or a turkey wrap.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more tips on exercise and eating to help you work out efficiently.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=735611

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Fasting
Burns
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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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