For a long time it's been widely accepted that we should be fuelling up to maximise our workout efforts. But with more than a few people suggesting that exercising on an empty stomach is just fine, we thought it was about time we looked at both methods.
So working out on an empty stomach or fuelling up before - which is best?
The short answer? It all really depends on your goals.
Looking to burn fat and lose weight? Then there's research that suggests that working out first thing in the morning before breakfast or any food can burn almost 20% more fat than if you've eaten before your workout. Eating food = higher insulin levels. Fasting = lower insulin levels. And as higher insulin levels have been linked to decreasing the bodies ability to breadown fat cells and increasing the creation of body fat then waiting till after your workout to chow down might help with fat loss.
But don't put the breaks on pre-gym brekkie just yet. If you're looking to gain strength and endurance through your workouts than research suggests that eating before you workout may significantly improve exercise endurance. (Think of your body like a car, there's only so far it can go before it needs some petrol) So if you're training for a marathon, a Tough Mudder,a triathlon or want to make some serious gains then it's probably better to fuel up before you hot your workout.
As always it's important to look at the bigger picture before you make any changes in your fitness and diet and make sure you are doing the right thing to help you achieve your goals. If you want to feel good, healthy and be active then pick what is easiest for you to sustain long term.
If you feel like you're going to pass out at the end of every fasted workout, then it's probably not the most effective way for you to workout. Likewise, if you can't bring yourself to eat before your early morning session and you love that feeling of eating after you workout then stick with that. Always listen to your body!