If you’re an early bird who prefers working out before breakfast you’ll be pleased to hear that new research suggests that exercising on an empty stomach may in fact ‘promote more favourable’ changes in body fat. Unfortunately for those of you who hit the gym at other parts in the day, the news isn’t so promising.
Researchers from the University of Bath studied 10 overweight men by asking them to walk for 60 minutes at 60 per cent oxygen consumption, first on an empty stomach, and secondly after eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. Scientists then took blood samples and fat tissue samples before and after exercise for analysis.
What they discovered was pretty interesting. They found that two genes (PDK4 and HSL) increased when they fasted before the walk, but decreased if they had eaten the carbohydrate-rich breakfast. The rise in genes suggests that exercising on an empty stomach burns fat as energy as opposed to the food eaten at breakfast.
While other previous research has supported this idea, it is worth bearing in mind that this is a relatively small study, and, as always, it is recommended to do whatever feels best for your body.