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The Simple Way to Burn More Fat – It’s Easier than You Think!

As a runner, I’ve always been told and been led to believe that I should “fuel my body” before heading out on a run.  But that’s been a big issue for me, since my stomach has never been able to handle food right before a run. Believe me when I say that the only fuel I end up getting is fuel on the fire of an intense gastro-intestinal display! But recent research has shown that there are benefits to working out on an empty stomach; namely, burning more fat.

Professional runners already know that if they have a hard run before breakfast just one day a week, their bodies metabolize food better the rest of the week. Science is just now catching up with what smart runners know.

They will tell you that fasting causes a spike in adrenaline and a reduction in insulin levels, making this an optimum time for the body to break down its fatty acids. In other words, if you exercise before you eat, you’ll burn more fat than if you eat ahead of time.

Many recent studies indicate that deliberately exercising when you’re hungry will make your workouts more effective. In fact, several studies suggest it’s a good way to reduce fat. A study at the University of Birmingham arrived at this conclusion when they tested it with seven cyclers. All subjects were to exercise on their cycles three days a week and then to engage in an intense session after an hour but without eating. Another group of seven duplicated this regimen but without the fasting.

The results: members who didn’t eat didn’t performed as well as the others but they burned a greater proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the others. This corresponds to and confirms findings of several other studies where one group fasted before exercising and the other didn’t.

The researchers recommend exercising before breakfast based on the finding that if a person eats carbohydrates, the process of metabolizing fat will be delayed about six hours. They have limited their tests to young people who are in good health; however, the researchers feel that this would be helpful for diabetics -- particularly pre-diabetics because fasting before exercising causes the muscles to become more efficient at absorbing glucose.

For weekend warriors, the researchers recommend the inclusion of an exercise session without eating beforehand. For example, many serious runners know that if they run without breakfast once a week, that one run will train their bodies to burn fat. You can have plenty of carbohydrates for the remainder of the week in order to make it possible for you to train vigorously.

Some cautions on the parts of researchers: be careful that you don’t overeat afterwards or you’ll defeat your purpose. It’s not a good practice for everyone, suggests another researcher, but it’s worth trying. It requires more discipline and commitment to exercise when you’re hungry; but for some people, it has been proven to be very useful in achieving the results they want.

And for those of you like me, who simply can’t take food before a workout . . . bonus for you!

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