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Myth or Fact: Early morning Cardio on empty stomach

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I live my life based on the idea - from doing a good amount of research - that your body WILL NOT BURN FAT unless you initially feed your furnace (stomach) in the morning. If I am to go on a morning run, or workout, I will have at least a bite of toast (for you marathoners probably white bread,) before I do anything.


I'm also under the impression that if you exercise on an empty stomach that your body will react as starved and breakdown muscle fiber as fuel reserves.

OK, but that's simply not true. Putting carbs in your mouth (you can then spit them out) has been shown to slightly increase energy output so the workout may feel more productive. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/apr/15/high-energy-carbohydrate-drinks-performance-brain)


What is this research you speak of? You have evidence that cardio without eating toast (why?) only burns muscle? Why do people think their bodies prefer to burn muscle without some sort of trick. Fat is your energy store, assuming you're not using energy quicker than it's being mobilized and assuming you didn't eat something like toast that's signaling your body to store fat, your body will burn fat.


Extraordinary claims.... you can't just make some blanket statements that disagree, especially following cubby's explanation of the mechanisms at work. I would seriously be interested to know why you think this way and what research you have to support it.


Anyway in response to the original post from years ago... I think fasted morning cardio works well but it's not magical. Definitely not twice as effective as cardio done at other times.


Whoa. "A" for dedication and passion, but take a chill pill brahh - we don't want you to have an aneurysm.

First, I clearly stated, "I live my life based [on those ideas]." No doubt it was a half-assed post, but regardless, it seems to me there are very few universal certainties as to the physiological reactions that occur and cause muscle growth/fat burning. We must pick from the vast amounts of opinions circulating and create our own plan based on the results we encounter.

Secondly, toast was an example for marathoners because the simple carbs break down for a boost of energy(#6)http://www.onforlife.com/blog/marathon-runners-diet/eight-last-minute-nutrition-tips-for-your-marathon/ . There's also the underlying reason, being it's an easily prepared fuel that can be eaten on the run for those that claim they don't have time for breakfast. (I had heard about that experiment as well but honestly don't understand how it applies) The research that backs my statement that our bodies' metabolism isn't efficient until we eat breakfast comes by word from at least 3 experts being nutritional/body building/physical therapists - unfortunately I can't recall their names but I'm sure I can post a link eventually as they are writers/correspondents for MensHealth.

Lastly, I didn't see cubby's post (which is clearly thought out and informative, no doubt) like you assumed.


Look, the last thing I want to start is badmouthing over a forum. I hope this can be used as a fun way to exchange information without unnecessary grief, brother.

Edited by LunaticFringe
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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to do early morning 5:30 a.m. cardio on an empty stomach, and it worked well for me, but now that I workout a little later than that, I have to have something in my stomach. I usually have a piece of fruit and some green tea or flaxseed toast with natural almond butter, but nothing more than that. I've never been able to eat a large meal and then workout. Also, I lift weights before cardio, so that's the other reason that I have eat something or I just feel lethargic, like I can't get through the workout without struggling.

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i don't know if it's just me, but i do 30-40 minute powerwalks or 20-25 minute runs every morning before breakfast (just having 2 glasses of water before - and lots of water after, too, of course - to avoid dehidratation) and i actually feel more energetic than if i did the same cardio in the middle of the afternoon, with lots of carbs in my stomach. I even felt a considerable improvement in my resistance since i started running in the morning, on an empty stomach. It's definately the best moment of the day for me to do cardio.

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I think early morning cardio (like a morning run) can be good, but you should give yourself something like fruit to fuel yourself up. As to whether or not it's the absolute best time to do it, I don't know about that.


I definitely agree with this. I highly recommend you eat something before hitting the street. I'll usually eat an apple or a banana. Just some little bit of food to get you going.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I was told by a friend who's spent around $500 on a personal trainer in the last 2 years and made some major changes, that effectiveness of early morning cardio on an empty stomach on your body in terms of burning fat cannot be achieved by even double the effort any other time.


The logic was that in the morning after you've gone to the bathroom your body contains no food, so when you do cardio for 40 mins or more it hits your FAT and burns lots of it.


The statement that this effect cannot be replicated by even TWICE the effort in the evening or other times was a little hard to digest.


I did some online googling and found variations of the truth.


What are your thoughts?


Honestly, the only reason why I don't eat before I do ANY cardio, especially in the morning, is that the stomach bloating/water retention and other "fun" stuff ain't worth it. If I'm starving before a workout, I'll down half a handful of granola.


Maybe I just have an overly sensitive digestive system, maybe it was what I ate, but the last time I did it my waist bloated SEVEN INCHES above normal size. Thanks, but...no thanks.

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