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Don’t Exercise on an Empty Stomach! Nutrition Before and After Working Out

Will You Burn More Fat if you Fast?

There is a general idea that if you fast before you work out, you’ll burn more fat. The short answer is no, you won’t burn any more fat if you decide to exercise on an empty stomach. While it would be great to unlock the key to fast and easy weight loss, this is simply not the case.

A study done on the topic explored the use of fasting versus non fasting on aerobic exercise and its relation to body composition. This study found the same amount of fat was generally burned, regardless of meal status.

Before Exercise

Incorporating a good balance of macronutrients can help you get the most out of your workout. The first thing you’ll need to do is consider what you’re going to eat about 2-3 hours prior to your workout. This includes foods that will sustain energy and preserve muscle mass. Eating protein is a good source energy for pre-workout meals. Carbohydrates can also help to fuel your workout and slow digestion which can provide steady blood glucose. Generally, if you need a quick solution, protein shakes filled with veggies and fruits work great shortly before workouts as well.

During and After Exercise

Most people don’t need to eat while they’re exercising. This is only recommended when you’ll be exercising for two hours or more.

Keeping hydrated is also very important! Drinking water to replace fluid loss will aid in performance. If you’re sweating a lot or if the weather is hot, it is vital to replace electrolytes you’re losing!

In terms of recovery, balanced macronutrients after exercise can help build muscle mass and keep us fit. When exercising in a fasted state, it is important to eat a meal with protein and carbs afterwards to refuel and prevent the breakdown of muscle. A full meal two hours before and after exercising will help build muscle mass, and speed recovery for your next workout.


Written by GUADS staff member Meghan.

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