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Article by Infofit

Why Working Out Hungry Is a Bad Idea

Working Out Hungry? weight loss or muscles loss?

Working Out Hungry May Hinder Your Fitness and Weight-loss

Ever arrived at your morning workout on an empty stomach with your personal trainer? Recent research suggests that exercising without eating first might impede your fitness and weight-loss efforts. This debate has intrigued gym enthusiasts since the popularity of “Body for Life,” which advocated for working out on an empty stomach to accelerate fat burning.

The premise behind this approach is that exercising without prior food intake shifts the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel. However, Brad Schoenfeld, MS, CSCS, a professor at Lehman College in New York, challenges this notion.

In a 2011 article published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, Schoenfeld delved into research on how our bodies function during exercise. His findings indicate that whether you work out hungry or have eaten beforehand, your body’s fat-burning mechanism remains unchanged.

Working Out Hungry Can Cause Muscle Loss

Interestingly Schoenfeld pointed out that working out on an empty stomach can actually cause muscle loss, especially if you regularly workout hungry. Your body goes into a survival mode when hungry and draws protein away from muscle. When hungry, the body focuses more on survival, than looking good at the beach. As a result, you lose muscle, which can, over time, slow your metabolism. This makes it harder to lose weight.

Working Out Hungry Does You No Favours

Exercising on an empty stomach can leave you lacking the energy needed for a successful workout, especially during high-intensity interval training. While it might be tempting to skip a pre-workout snack due to time constraints or calorie-cutting goals, exercising on an empty stomach isn’t beneficial. Without adequate fuel, you may struggle to endure through your session and risk losing muscle mass.