Cars don’t drive without benzine or gas. Planes don’t fly without kerosine. A Phone doesn’t work without a charged battery.
Why would our own machine, our body, operate without adequate fuel?
It sounds so simply.
But why is everyone nevertheless so wishy washy on this subject?
Some researchers have claimed that exercising in a fasted state, that means right after you wake up, helps train your body to burn fat more effectively, but this fact seems to be fiction.
So it seems that it all comes down on the theme burning fat.
In order fuel up properly pre-workout, it is important to understand how the body uses energy.
The first source of energy, lasting just a few seconds, comes from the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is naturally found in the body, in adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Next, the body uses sugar, called glucose, for immediate but longer lasting energy. And finally, during cardio training, the body starts to break down stored carbohydrates, called glycogen, to provide sustained energy.
Your body can store glycogen for 12 to 16 hours before it absolutely must be replenished. If it isn’t, your body will turn to the muscles to break down for glucose. This isn’t negotiable. With trace levels of glycogen in your system, your body can`t burn fat. It has to use muscles. And when you burn up muscles, you’re basically inviting your body to store more fat.
Most of us have some sort of meal within two hours before we go to bed and we rarely sleep for more than 8 hours, so if you get up and start training about 10 hours after your last meal, your glycogen will be low, but it won’t be gone. In that way, it could be argued that you will have just enough glycogen left to allow your body to burn fat, but too low that you will burn more fat than normal to compensate for it.
The type of workout itself, and the duration, will affect the different processes taking place in your body and will be determine your energy needs. So now the question becomes what kind of workout you’re gonna do. When you workout at a low intensity, your body use more fat than proteine or carbohydrates. However, because the work is easier, you’re not burning as many calories. It’s pretty clear that you couldn’t do some high intensity training as the lack of glycogen in your system wouldn’t allow for it. You would feel tired and you wouldn’t be able to train hard. And that’s worse, because you would may force your body to build muscles that much sooner.
If in fact you do burn more fat on an empty stomach, and let’s say you avoid burning up any muscles for fuel, it’s still not going to get you the most results in the least time. Scores of studies and evidence as presented by the world’s best coaches and trainers shows that brief, intense workouts are best for making drastic and lasting changes to your body; building muscles and burning fat. In that way you will be able to burn more calories in a session if you train after a solid meal, and you will support muscle mass, which makes that you will burn calories all day long in spite of what you are doing.
And that`s why my answer to the question if you should eat before your morning workout is “yes you should”, even if you want to lose fat.