Although there are proponents of both sides of this discussion, it has been my experience that eating a healthy meal or snack 1-2 hours before your workout will help you reach your long-term weight loss goals faster. Weight loss is dependent on maintaining a caloric deficit, no matter the time of day your calories are consumed.
Your body requires fuel to operate. When you work out on an empty stomach you are asking your body to perform a strenuous activity without a source of fuel. Without a source of fuel in the form of food (preferably complex carbohydrates) your body will turn to the next most readily available source. It sure would be nice if this source came directly from stored fat (and some of it does), but unfortunately your body would rather use proteins (in the form of muscle) to power your workout.
Using lean muscle to fuel a workout is counterproductive. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and when you lose muscle your metabolism slows. To lose weight, you want your metabolism running as fast as possible.
Another down side to exercising on an empty stomach is that you will not have an adequate amount of energy or stamina. Since without fuel you will tire out faster, you will burn substantially fewer calories, and weight loss comes down to this: calories in vs. calories out.
This content was originally published on Sharecare.com.
ANSWERS FROM MORE EXPERTS
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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