There is a relatively new, popular workout strategy being adopted by those interested in getting more for their workout buck. It is busting tired, old, worn out beliefs.
In the past, most of us were taught that eating multiple, smaller meals daily would work to speed up our metabolism. However, current research proves otherwise. Eating many small meals throughout the day is not going to speed up our metabolism. Neither will skipping meals cause weight gain.
The truth is, not eating before exercising is empowered to boost our strength and our level of fitness not decrease it.
After we’ve finished a meal, it takes approximately 6 hours for our body to enter a fasting state. When in a fasting state, it burns off stored sugar and then begins breaking down fat and converting it into ketone bodies for fuel. In other words, the body starts burning fat rather than sugar for energy.
The Research –
When there is no food in your stomach, a wealth of hormonal changes is produced conducive to building muscle and burning fat and recent published studies found that participants that exercised while they fasted burned nearly 20 per cent more fat than those who ate before working out.
Another study asked male volunteers to focus on eating junk food daily. Some of the participants fasted before exercising and starting their day or enjoyed a big breakfast first and then worked out, and others didn’t exercise at all while stuffing themselves.
The results were not all surprising. Those who did not exercise one bit, got the biggest overall. Those eating breakfast first before exercising also experienced weight gain, although only about one-half what the control group gained. But the sweet surprise was that the exercisers that fasted did not gain any weight. Even though they indulged the same unhealthy diet.
Additionally, the control group and those that did not fast, showed signs of insulin resistance (which only leads to higher insulin levels) after their junk food overload. The fasted exercisers showed no signs of insulin resistance despite their terrible diet.
Insulin is one of the body’s most important hormones. However, excess insulin is not healthy. It packs fat on the body and puts us at a dangerous risk for diabetes. Fasting or exercise helps to drive down high insulin levels. Pair up fasting and exercise and the result is magic.
Another study had participants exercise in a fasted state 3 times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of this study, those participating lost on average of nearly 1/4 of their baseline fat mass. Their fasting insulin levels dropped by a massive 25 percent!
Most people carry around a huge deposit of energy in the form of fat. However, this energy cannot be accessed easily because the body naturally burns sugar, not fat.
Metabolically flexible –
And, that’s where exercising in a fasted state comes in. It instructs the body on how to quickly and easily tap into fat stores for energy. Doing this makes us metabolically flexible – the ability to make use of the fuels that are more readily available in our diet. It matches fuel availability with fuel oxidation and with the ability to flip between burning fats or carbs.
People that never seem to gain weight no matter what they eat most likely enjoy excellent metabolic flexibility. If they eat carbs, they burn carbs. If they eat fat, they burn fat.
When we are metabolically flexible, we can effectively utilize a broad array of nutrients. Our body easily switches to burning stored fat once it uses up the sugar from the meals we eat. This produces a virtually unlimited supply of energy.
Reversely, metabolic inflexibility creates a situation where the body cannot react appropriately to any changes in diet and reduces our ability to create energy at all.
Burning fat for fuel –
After we begin doing fasted exercise, it takes a couple of weeks for our body to master the art of burning fat for fuel. Eventually, with patience, our investment pays off big-time as pounds begin melting off, insulin levels drop, and we begin feeling amazing!
Fasted training works magic with our bodies. It makes sure that the proteins, carbs and fats we consume end up in the right places in the body and get stored minimally as body fat.
Think you can’t handle challenging exercise without any food in your stomach? Try using plain tea or black coffee. Any type of drink or supplement that is calorie free to help quell any cravings.
Bottom line is this:
Exercising on an empty stomach is great for fat loss. Because fat-oxidizing enzymes increase when exercising, those that exercise while fasted allow their bodies to naturally become better and better at burning fat at higher levels of intensity.
For peak health and fitness and to achieve and maintain great results, pair intense exercise with fasting. (Compound movements such as deadlifts and squats. The kind that use a lot of muscles, causing a big surge in youth hormones.)
It’s time to tap into your greatest health and fitness assets –
“Wellness Wake Up Call” can help you do just that…
For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your health and fitness goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: