Hitting the gym before you’ve eaten breakfast could help you lose weight faster, say experts.
And the theory makes sense - exercising first thing in the morning when your stomach’s empty forces your body to use up more of its fat stores, as it can’t rely on recently eaten food for energy.
The team of British researchers who’ve come up with the findings also suggested pre-breakfast exercise could help reduce artery-clogging fats in the blood.
But we’ve always thought it’s better to exercise after eating something to give you the energy to work harder without feeling faint or overdoing it. Dr Jason Gill, who led the research at Glasgow University, agrees that it’s up to the individual, but explains that the body has enough reserves for you to exercise for between 90 minutes and two hours in perfect safety.
In the team’s report, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Dr Gill adds that those who get dizzy just thinking about exercise on an empty stomach, shouldn’t panic. The overall effect is really quite small so if you can’t face the treadmill before your bowl of porridge, it isn’t going to ruin your chances of losing weight.
Dr Gill explained: “The biggest difference is between doing nothing and doing something.
“If you are going to do something, then there is a slight advantage in doing it in a fasted state. But if you find you keel over because you can’t do exercise before you have your slice of toast, then do it afterwards. You are still going to get a huge benefit.”
Make the most of your morning with these expert tips for pre-breakfast workouts:1. “I’d recommend a jog,” says Gary Ward, personal fitness trainer at LA fitness South Kensington. “For fat loss you want it to be low intensity for around 30-45 minutes. That way you’re in the zone but it shouldn’t make you feel faint. Before you do any higher intensity exercise definitely eat something, even just a piece of fruit, to give you some sugars.”
2. Gary also recommends going to an exercise class. “Pick a class that focuses on movement, such as aerobics, but don’t use any weights other than your body before breakfast. Yoga is a good one too as it’s more about your core and stability and shouldn’t demand a rush of energy to your muscles.”
3. Pressed for time? Set your alarm just 15 minutes early and do personal trainer Anita Albrecht’s ‘Morning Body Blast’. Start with the plank for one minute, then do 20 bodyweight squats, 20 press ups (from knees is fine if you can't do a full press up), 15 mountain climbers, 20 lunges with lateral arm circles, 10 burpees and another 20 bodyweight squats, finished off by by a final plank for a minute. For more tips, see Anita's YouTube channel.
Just make sure you have a healthy breakfast after your workout - that can help you lose weight too.
Do you exercise on an empty stomach? Give us your tips on Twitter.