Day 152: Good or bad? Training on empty stomach

4 06 2010

No wonder dieting can be so frustrating. There’s way too much conflicting information out there. I’ve always heard (and even had my doctor tell me recently) that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Apparently, a new study shows that skipping breakfast before a workout helps burn fat faster. Researchers in Europe found that cyclists who did not eat before training burned significantly more fat than the cyclists who did eat beforehand.

According to the article, “In a study published in April, researchers at the University of Birmingham and elsewhere assigned seven people to cycle three days a week, followed by an intense session an hour later without eating. Another seven people followed the same regime, without the instruction to fast.”

Cyclists that didn’t eat performed worse on the intensive training, but “they burned a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the group that ate.” The results appeared in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The idea of not eating before a workout seemed counter-intuitive to most everything I’ve heard to date. For me personally, I don’t think I’d have enough motivation to complete a workout if I was hungry. I may not eat a complete meal before I go on a ride, but I make sure I eat at least a protein bar, banana, fruit smoothie or something that will help ward off hunger. The longer I plan to ride, the more I eat beforehand.

Ron Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain, said that working out on an empty stomach “… might help you get very good at burning fat, but you won’t be very good at whatever exercise it is you’re doing,” he said. “Without enough fuel, you won’t get the intensity of training you need to get improvements.”

So what’s your recommendation? Do you eat before a workout? Or do you ride on an empty stomach?

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Sesame bagel with low-fat cream cheese = 358
— Peach smoothie = 260

Lunch:
— Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich = 430
— Iced tea = 10

Dinner:
— 3 pieces pepperoni pizza = 1015
— Iced tea = 0

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream = 120

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.

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3 responses

6 06 2010
joschmoblo

I have heard that before as well but i think it boils down to each person knowing their own body, what works best for you, what you prefer, what you can get away with, and so on.

I workout all the time on an empty stomach but it is for no other reason than because I wait too late to eat and don’t want to eat on a full stomach. And I know that I can do it and get away with it. However a guy came into spinning last month and hadn’t eaten in about two hours and ended up passing out after class.

If you don’t eat before you’ll burn more but then eat it back on afterwards. If you eat before you’ll just burn that during the workout. So I figure at the end of the day both options will get you about the same result 🙂 .. At least that is how I see it!

7 06 2010
cyclingproject365

I agree – I think different things work for different people. I don’t eat much before a workout, but I do eat a protein bar or a banana or something like that. I’d hate to be the one who passes out. It’s tough for me to make myself not consume a lot of food after my workout though – especially when I’m hungry by that point. I try to make it a reasonable size meal so I don’t undo the good I did working out. 🙂

6 06 2010
joschmoblo

Don’t want to *workout on a full stomach LOL .. You get my point though I’m sure 😉

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