The Benefits And Drawbacks of Running Empty: An great aerobic workout is running. It’s a convenient, adaptable activity that you may customize to fit your objectives and lifestyle.
A consistent running schedule can also lower your chances for developing chronic illnesses.
Some people prefer to exercise while fasting. After fasting for at least six to eight hours the night before, they frequently do this in the morning. Fasted training or fasted running are other names for it.
Your glycogen levels are low if you haven’t eaten. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen. It is the main source of energy that your body needs.
Fans of fasting exercise claim that these low glycogen levels are the reason for the benefits in general.
Though not everyone should run on an empty stomach. Your exercise objectives might potentially be hampered.
In this post, we’ll examine the scientific evidence for quicker running as well as safety measures.
Benefits of running on an empty stomach
Running without eating beforehand may have certain advantages, according to studies.
Increased fat burn
Fasted running is most well-known for its alleged ability to increase fat burning. The theory is that because your carbohydrate reserves are low, your body burns more fat for energy.
Higher “oxidation,” or fat burning, is the end outcome.A 2015 small study
According to a reliable source, when exercise was done before breakfast, fat oxidation increased over the course of 24 hours.
In a minor study conducted in 2017 with nine female volunteers, the same researchers discovered comparable findings.
The reason for this, according to the experts, is the body’s reaction to low glucose levels. Lack of carbohydrates activates the genes that govern fat oxidation.
But there are discrepancies in the research. According to a 2018 studyTrusted Source, eating a protein- or carb-rich pre-workout meal increased fat burn after exercise more than fasting did.
A study of 71 articles published in 2020 found no conclusive evidence of a connection between fasted endurance training and higher fat oxidation. More thorough investigation is required.
Reduced energy intake
Exercise during a fast may help you reduce your calorie intake if you’re attempting to lose weight.
Twelve male participants in a short study from 2016Trusted Source who ran on an empty stomach consumed less energy over the course of 24 hours.Another modest 2019 research
Fasted exercise reduced energy intake throughout the course of 24 hours, according to a Trusted Source study with 12 male participants.
The liver, which also stores glycogen, was given credit for this by the researchers.
When your blood and muscle glycogen levels are low, your body draws on its liver glycogen reserves.
The researchers claim that this has an impact on calorie intake via the liver-brain neuronal network.
Might improve aerobic endurance
There is some evidence to suggest that training while hungry may improve aerobic endurance.
In a small research from 2010, fasting exercise was linked to greater VO2 max. Your maximum oxygen intake during vigorous physical activity is referred to as VO2 max. It measures both general fitness and aerobic endurance.
The study, however, is outdated and only included 14 participants. It is required to conduct more research.
Less digestion problems
During prolonged exercise, it’s common to experience digestive issues like:
- stomach or intestinal cramps
These symptoms often affect athletes who run long distances or train for long periods of time.
If you’re prone to exercise-induced digestive issues, running on an empty stomach might be ideal.
Drawbacks of running on an empty stomach
There are some disadvantages to running fasted. Here’s what the science says.
Reduced training intensity
Although fat can be used as fuel by your body, it is not long-term. Fatigue will develop in if your fat reserves are unable to keep up with the demands of your run. It is challenging to keep up a high intensity or speed because of this.
Running after fasting was linked to poorer endurance for 10 male participants in an earlier 2010 studyTrusted Source.
Exercise after eating enhances extended aerobic function, according to a 2018 reviewTrusted Source of 46 trials.
You’re more prone to experience fatigue when your energy reserves diminish. Your chance of being hurt while exercising can rise if you’re tired.
Additionally, glucose is required for normal brain activity. This is crucial when exercising since your body uses glucose to fuel your muscles at that time.
Your brain could not obtain enough energy if you run quickly. It could be challenging to maintain appropriate posture and be aware of your surroundings.
A hormone that is produced by your adrenal glands is cortisol. It regulates fundamental processes like blood sugar and the stress response.
Cortisol encourages muscle cell protein breakdown when levels are high. Weakness and muscle loss are accelerated by this.
In the early morning, your cortisol levels are at their maximum. A 2015 studyTrusted Source discovered that exercising in the morning after an overnight fast increases cortisol levels.
Running in the morning, typically on an empty stomach, could harm your muscles, according to this.
Risks for certain conditions
Not everyone should engage in hurried exercise.
A low blood sugar level could result from exercising on an empty stomach if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes (hypoglycemia).
If you take diabetes drugs like insulin, you have a higher risk of experiencing exercise-induced hypoglycemia. Always check your blood sugar and have a snack before running to stay safe.
Similar to this, running while fasting might cause dangerously low blood sugar levels if you have Addison’s disease.
Ask your doctor how to exercise safely if you have either of these conditions.
Ineffective for long-term weight loss
Fasted exercise enhances fat burn, according to certain studies, but it might not be the best option for long-term weight loss.
Exercise before and after meals resulted in comparable rates of weight loss in a 2014 studyTrusted Source with 20 participants.
According to these results, exercising while fasting doesn’t appear to significantly alter body composition.
This results from the body’s regulation of its fuel source. If you run while fasting and burn a lot of fat, your body will make up for it later by burning less fat. Instead, it uses more glucose.
Which is better?
Generally speaking, eating before running is advised. This provides your body with the nourishment it needs for safe and effective exercise.
If you like to run on an empty stomach, limit your distance to light to moderate. If you begin to feel dizzy, stop and rest.
The only exception to this rule is when you’re running far or quickly. It is advisable to eat before these exercises because they need a lot of energy.
Healthy snacks before and after running
If you do decide to eat before running, pick a small snack. emphasize wholesome carbs. Eat your snack one to three hours prior to your run. Pre-workout foods that are ideal include:
- whole grain cereal
- whole wheat toast
- granola bar without added sugars
Eat lean protein and good carbs within two hours of working out. You can refill your glycogen stores and assist muscle recovery with these nutrients.
Good post-workout food examples include the following:
- sandwich made with turkey, whole-wheat bread, and vegetables.
- peanut butter with oats
- fruit and yogurt
- quinoa and salmon with avocado
- fruit smoothie with nut butter and Greek yogurt
Water should also be consumed before, during, and after a run. The greatest strategy to prevent exercise-related dehydration is to do this.
When to talk with a pro
You can keep up a running schedule on your own. However, you must get a professional if you:
- are not yet exercising
- having a persistent illness
- possess a past or present injury
- suffering discomfort while running
- for the first time, preparing for a tournament
- want to alter your diet
Speak to your doctor first. You may also work with a dietitian and a personal trainer, depending on your circumstances. They can advise you on whether it’s safe for you to run on an empty stomach.
The bottom line
Because everyone is unique, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body. Perhaps you’ll feel your best when you run after fasting.
The safest course of action in this situation is a mild to moderate run.A pre-workout breakfast is necessary for more strenuous runs.
Your body will receive adequate fuel as a result to exercise effectively. Before attempting fasted running, see your doctor if you’re new to running or if you have a chronic health condition.