Episode 34: Should You Eat or Fast Before Exercise?

To eat or not to eat before exercise…that is the question. Should we exercise on an empty stomach? Should we eat before exercise to provide the energy needed to get a good workout?

Those on the “exercise while fasted” side of the argument suggest that exercising while fasted allows you to burn fat as soon as you start exercising. They suggest that if you exercise after eating then the body will have to burn the calories from the food you recently consumed before it will be able to burn away the gut and butt.

The other group thinks that fasting before exercise is nonsense. They believe that having a snack shortly before exercise will provide the energy needed to have a meaningful and effective workout. They argue that a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter if it’s eaten before exercise or three hours later.

Both arguments seem logical. So who’s right?

Admittedly we are some time away from being able to answer this question definitively, and when all is said and done I imagine that the final answer will be, “It depends”. With that said, a recent study does add support in favor of the “exercise while fasted” argument.

In this study researchers fed subjects a high calorie/high fat diet to induce insulin resistance and weight gain. The subjects were assigned to one of three groups:

* Group 1: Control Group – Did Not Exercise
* Group 2: Fasted Group – Did not eat before or during exercise
* Group 3: Carb Group – Fed Carbohydrates before and during exercise

At the end of the study, the researchers unveiled some interesting insights. The fasted exercise group did not gain significant weight during the course of the study despite consuming 30% more calories than they needed and a diet composed of 50% fat.

The control group gained 3 kgs (6.6 lbs) and the carbohydrate group gained 1.4 kgs (3.08 lbs). They all ate similar diets and burned similar numbers of calories.

What Does It All Mean?

As I have suggested in past posts, exercise should be judged by how

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