July 29, 2013

Are You Lacking the Energy to Workout?

Photo Credit: trimarni.com
Have you ever had someone tell you that working out on an empty stomach burns more fat? I have heard this lie many times before, but the truth is you should always eat something before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.  The rationale behind this myth is that not eating before your workout will force your body to burn more fat during your workout.  Well, this is a big fat lie. Starving yourself before exercise can actually be detrimental to your body.

  Your body needs sugar to exert energy.  That is, your body needs a certain amount of sugar for fuel when working out.  When that blood sugar is not there, your body will convert your own muscle into energy.  A recent study published in The Strength and Conditioning Journal, look at cyclists who ate before a ride and those who fasted.  The amount of fat burn was the same, but those who trained without eating first had 10% of their calorie burn come from protein, this included their own muscle mass.  The point of working out is to build muscle not deplete it. 

In order to perform at high intensity, your body needs energy.  If your goal is to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can, how can you expect your body to oblige if you haven't properly fueled it?  That is like driving a car without gas. Without proper fuel your workouts will lack the intensity you desire and you may even suffer from low blood sugar which will make you dizzy and sluggish.

Some might use the excuse that they can't work out on a full stomach.  You do not have to gorge yourself a healthy snack will be enough. Make sure to eat 45 minutes before a workout, that way you will have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone.  Try eating a snack with both carbs and protein like low-fat yogurt with berries or apple slices and peanut butter.  If you are still at loss of what to eat, you can reference an older blog post of mine for more ideas.

A friendly reminder: You should always eat something before a workout. You do not want to pig out, but a small healthy snack of carbs and sugar will fuel your body with enough energy for a killer workout.

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