Is It Good to Workout on an Empty Stomach?

If you’re wondering whether it’s better to workout on an empty stomach or not, you’re not alone. Many people debate this topic, and there are pros and cons to both sides. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the research to see what it says about working out on an empty stomach.


The debate over whether it is good to workout on an empty stomach has been ongoing for years. There are voices on both sides of the argument, but no definitive answer as of yet. But although there is no singular correct answer, there are some factors and considerations you should consider before deciding whether it’s best to work out with or without food in your system.

In general, it is generally accepted that working out on an empty stomach can help you burn more fat, and may be more efficient in terms of muscle sparing. Low-intensity activities such as walking and yoga can be done on an empty stomach without any real issues, but those who wish to lift heavy weights or do intense workouts may find themselves feeling dizzy and fatigued due to low levels of glucose in the blood.

Some experts advise against working out on an empty stomach and note that this method does not produce desirable performance results. Eating before a workout provides energy for the body as well as allowing athletes to work harder for longer periods of time with less fatigue or injury risk. Additionally, pre-workout snacks allow athletes to recover quicker from their workouts thus allowing them to train harder more often leading to better gains in strength and performance further down the line.

Benefits of Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Working out on an empty stomach is known to have many potential benefits. Research suggests that training in the fasted state can lead to greater fat loss and improved endurance. Other potential benefits include better mental focus, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased energy levels. The potential benefits of training on an empty stomach are worth exploring further.

Improved metabolism

Working out on an empty stomach has become a popular trend in recent years and a favored practice amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts. This type of pre-workout routine is known as “fasted” or “in a fasted-state” and the benefits may go far beyond those of eating breakfast before exercise. Fasted workouts have been associated with increased metabolic rates, enhanced fat burning, improved physical performance, and potentially even greater weight loss results.

One way that fasted workouts may improve metabolism is by inducing a phenomenon called “metabolic switching”. This occurs when the body shifts from using carbohydrates to using fat as its primary energy source. By depleting glycogen stores, fasted workouts can cause the body to adapt by relying more heavily on fat to fuel exercise during future workouts. In addition to increasing fat burning potential, this can also help with controlling blood sugar spikes after meals and reducing insulin levels in the body.

Also, an empty stomach before exercise can help reduce feelings of fatigue during activity due to its effects on insulin sensitivity as well as other hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and cortisol which regulate energy production in cells. Evidence also suggests that working out on an empty stomach can reduce inflammation in the body which may significantly affect physical performance over time if left unchecked. Finally, for those looking for greater post-workout weight loss results, exercising without food present allows your body to tap into stored body fat for energy rather than simpler sugars from food sources like carbohydrates or protein shakes.

Increased fat burning

One of the primary benefits of working out on an empty stomach is increased fat burning. When you wake up in the morning, your body naturally has reduced blood sugar and muscle glycogen — both of which are used as an energy source for physical daily activities and exercise. When these stores are low, your body looks to other sources for energy, including stored fat. This means that when you exercise without having eaten breakfast yet, your body is likely to be using primarily fat as its source of fuel. Additionally, during periods of fasting such as overnight or during a workout, your liver releases a hormone known as epinephrine which further mobilizes fatty acids so they can be burned for fuel in the form of energy.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Exercising on an empty stomach is believed to have several benefits. It is thought to be particularly beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Insulin sensitivity indicates how effectively the body takes in and processes glucose, the sugar found in carbohydrates. A person with good insulin sensitivity can process carbs more efficiently than a person with poor insulin sensitivity. Research published in 2017 showed that performing aerobic exercise on an empty stomach increased insulin sensitivity by 24 percent compared to exercising after eating, indicating improved carbohydrate metabolism. Improved insulin sensitivity may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although further research is needed

Risks of Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Working out on an empty stomach has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it can also come with some risks. Not only can it cause dizziness and fatigue, but it can also deplete your energy stores, leaving your muscles more susceptible to injury. Let’s examine the risks of working out on an empty stomach in more detail.

Low energy levels

When working out on an empty stomach, it is not uncommon to experience a low energy level, which can decrease your exercise intensity and reduce the duration of your workout. Not having enough fuel in your body to power through workouts can lead to feeling sluggish, light-headedness, fatigue, exhaustion and potentially injury. Low energy levels caused by exercising on an empty stomach usually occurs due to a lack of carbohydrate stores in the muscles. When carbohydrates are lacking, your body turns to proteins or fats rather than glucose for energy production. As exercising at higher intensities use primarily glucose for energy needs and other sources cannot be relied upon as efficiently, this may cause these symptoms as well as prolonged recovery times after exercise.

Low blood sugar levels

One of the primary risks of working out on an empty stomach, or fasted cardio, is that it can lead to low blood sugar levels. When you are fasting or in a period of low calorie intake your body will naturally start to break down stored glycogen to maintain energy levels and support your workouts. As your body continues to use up these stores of glycogen, it may result in a drop in your blood sugar level, leading to fatigue and dizziness during workouts. In some cases, this can be dangerous as low blood sugar levels can cause an individual to pass out during a workout. Therefore it is important to monitor how your body reacts when working out on an empty stomach and reach for healthy carbohydrates if you feel underpowered or lightheaded.

Increased risk of injury

It can also increase your risk of damaging your muscles while working out because you lack fuel sources, such as glucose and amino acids. Glucose is used by the body for energy during exercise, and amino acids are needed to help rebuild muscle fibers broken down during a workout. A lack of these can lead to fatigue and soreness and may increase the risk of injury due to overworking tired muscles. Working out on an empty stomach increases your risk of dehydration, as it’s common for people to become dehydrated after working out without consuming anything beforehand. Dehydration can cause symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches and nausea, which could lead to more serious health issues if left untreated. Additionally, training without food will result in lower endurance levels than when working out with food in the system.

Tips for Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Working out on an empty stomach can have its benefits, but it can also be risky. For example, it can lower your energy levels, which can affect your performance. However, if done correctly, it can also help you burn more fat and improve your metabolism. In this article, we will share some tips on how to maximize the benefits of exercising on an empty stomach.

Eat a light meal before working out

When it comes to working out on an empty stomach, the best advice is to eat a light meal somewhere between 30-60 minutes before physical activity. Eating a light meal can ensure that you have the energy and stamina to complete a full workout without becoming overly fatigued. Depending on when you choose to exercise, having just enough fuel in your body can give you the strength and endurance needed.

Your pre-exercise meal should provide carbohydrates for energy, lean protein for muscle repair and recovery, and dietary fat in moderate amounts for digestion of all foods consumed. Choose options that are high in nutrients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins such as chicken or fish, yogurt or nuts. Additionally, spices such as cinnamon, ginger or garlic can provide flavor with minimal added calories.

By following these guidelines when eating before exercise can ensure that your body has enough calories stored away for use during workouts without causing nausea or other adverse effects related to exercising on an empty stomach.

Drink plenty of water

It is important to stay hydrated when working out, especially on an empty stomach. Dehydration can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental performance since water helps regulate body temperature and digestion, improve metabolism, as well as helps prevent ingestion of foods/beverages that can interfere with exercise performance. Depending on the intensity and length of your exercise session, water needs can vary considerably. It is recommended to drink 16-24 ounces of water one hour before you exercising, 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during your workout session, and 8-16 ounces after each workouts or session. In addition to drinking water before and during your work out session, it is important to replenish and rehydrate after each workout with fluids containing electrolytes such as sports drinks or coconut water for added hydration benefits.

Avoid high intensity workouts

Strength training and high intensity workouts like running or spinning should be avoided when exercising on an empty stomach. Such activities require glucose, the body’s primary energy source, which is typically stored in the muscles and used as fuel during exercise. Without enough fuel, these activities can become more difficult and you may not be able to safely complete them. Therefore, it’s best to stick to low-intensity exercises like yoga that don’t overly deplete your body’s glucose reserves until you have eaten something first.


When it comes to working out on an empty stomach, the answer is not straightforward. It depends on several factors, including one’s goals and their diet. Working out on an empty stomach has its pros and cons for both weight loss and muscle gain. People who work out first thing in the morning but only eat after the workout may still get some benefits from fasting workouts, such as an increase in fat burning while they exercise along with improved appetite control throughout the day. But those who do not follow a regular eating schedule should stick to eating before a workout, as this will help them fuel their workouts and avoid dizziness or fatigue. Ultimately, it really comes down to personal preference as everyone’s body will respond differently to different forms of exercise — especially when it comes to taking food before or after the workout session.

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