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Does running on an empty stomach burn more fat?

By on June 12, 2008

Question: I was recently told by one of the trainers at my gym that I should run on an empty stomach to burn more fat. Does that work? I’m not planning to starve myself before workouts, but should I cut out my (healthy) pre-workout snacks to burn more fat at the gym?
– Virginia

Answer: I know some idiot personal trainers are going to be writing in telling me the total opposite because they read it in some stupid magazine. Because everything in those magazines is true, right? But no Virginia, there is no Santa Claus… The trainer, who gave you that advice, is himself an idiot. There is no way that the body will burn more fat on an empty stomach and who wants to workout on an empty stomach you just feel ten times more hungry after the workout.

Exercising on an empty stomach has never been that good for you. Research studies have indicated that the number of calories burned is far less than when exercising after a meal. A small meal of 300-400 calories an hour or so before training will allow you to train harder. You will get about a 10% increase in metabolic rate alone from eating the food, you will be able to train harder as blood glucose levels will not drop like a rock, and you will have a better anabolic hormone response.

Exercising on an empty stomach does not force the body to burn more fat. In some cases it actually forces it to break down more muscle to get at amino acids which is converted into glucose and then help supply the body with energy. Small amounts of glucose are needed to burn fat. (supplying muscle to help move the body)

This has been the technical part of the programming. Now for the layman’s part… Do not starve your body when working out and don’t listen to trainers that read magazines for their information.