Should you workout on an empty stomach? It depends.

by | Jun 21, 2021 | Insights, Personal Training, Physical Activity, Weight Loss, Weight Training

By: Adam Pounds, EIM Owner   

It seems that recently more and more research has come out regarding the benefits of working out while fasted. That’s probably why clients are always asking me whether or not they should eat prior to their training session. But the answer isn’t always as straightforward as they’d like it to be. 

Because, really, it depends.

Empty stomach vs full stomach: Which is more beneficial?

Training while you’re fasted and non fasted both have their strengths and weaknesses. Each gives you different benefits that can be helpful to your training session, and we’ll get into those below. 

Training While Fasted: The Benefits    

Most people who prefer to train while fasted wake up and workout on an empty stomach. Of course, most people, including myself, like to drink tea or coffee to get that extra boost of energy before working out while fasted.  

Working out while fasted definitely has its benefits though. 

  • Working out while fasted improves your insulin sensitivity, meaning your insulin levels will stay low. 
  • Training while fasted will also elevate your growth hormones and promote muscle gain and fat loss. 
  • Due to the increase in serotonin, morning workouts are also good for improving your mood throughout the day because you got up and got moving. 

The Perks of Non Fasted Training

On the other hand, non fasted training means you ate something prior to training, and it also has its benefits. 

  • Non fasted training maximizes performance in the gym while also repairing damaged muscle post workout.
  • Non fasted training will give you an extra boost with more energy to fuel your training. 

If you’re training while non fasted, I always recommend you eat good carbs and proteins about one to three hours prior to your workout.

The Drawbacks of Each

The biggest drawback of training while fasted is that you’re normally going to have to decrease training intensity. This means you may have a shorter workout and also increase your risk of hypoglycemia. 

On the other hand, non fasted training can lead to stomach aches, as well as feeling heavy, and that’s why it’s important to eat the right foods and wait one to three hours before you workout.

Which Is More Beneficial?

There is no easy answer to this question because it depends on the person and their goals. 

If you’re trying to lose body fat, working out fasted could be a good solution. 

If you’re trying to increase muscle, working out non fasted might be best. 

As you’re training, you may want to try each of them and see which one you like the best. Either way, find what works for you, be consistent, and you’ll get the results you want. 

For any of your training questions or needs, the professionals at EIM would be happy to help. Feel free to contact us or give us a call at (205) 396-8352. We’re always eager to hear from you.

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