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Exercising When Hungry vs Exercising While Full

Monday, September 6, 2021

Today, I want to answer a question that I frequently encounter in the forum and in daily life, which “experts” often answer in the light of research.

This question is, do you do sports on an empty stomach?

In this article, I will examine many studies from the advantages of doing hungry and satiated cardio, the contribution of doing hungry cardio to weight loss, the contribution of exercising on hungry and satiated abdomen to performance, body hunger and satiety.

Hungry vs full workout: Performance

First of all, I would like to examine how hungry and full exercise is effective in performance.

Research 1

In this study, which examined the effect of hungry and full exercise on performance, 12 subjects were used. One group of subjects divided into two had no breakfast after eight hours of night hunger, and the other group had breakfast.

When the VO2 max was evaluated between the two subjects in the treadmill session lasting 60 minutes after the study, there was no difference in performance.

I would like to add that the 60-minute exercise done was applied as a mid-low tempo.

Research 2

The research was conducted to examine the effect of pre-workout carbohydrate intake on performance. Eight females and six males were randomly divided into two groups and tried with four weeks, five days a week exercises.

One group was given carbohydrates before exercise, while the other group exercised hungry.

At the end of the study, it was found that the VO2 max value was found higher in the group that was rich in carbohydrates before exercise.

As a result

As you can see from the two opposite results above, there is no definite opinion about hungry and full exercise. The only thing I see when I examine these and other studies is that the maximal and medium / low intensity hungry and full exercise changes something.

As you can see in the two studies above, while working on the moderate-low tempo in the first study, maximal exercises were tried in the second study and it was seen that the VO2 max value was higher in the fed group.

If we collect it, if you are in extremely challenging exercise tempo, carbohydrate intake before exercise can help increase performance. But if you exercise at a moderate / low tempo, your diet before exercise is not necessary for performance.

Hungry exercise vs full workout: weight loss

Weight loss is the most speculating issue of hungry and full exercise and the most inconsistent. I want to start with research on this topic.

Research 1

Nine elite male athletes were divided into three groups to examine the effect of exercise on an empty stomach and full stomach on fat burning.

While the first group performed 100 minutes of high-paced cardio training before breakfast after night hunger, the second group did 100 minutes of high-speed exercise after breakfast. The last group performed high intensity exercises for 100 minutes in total, 50 minutes before breakfast and 50 minutes after breakfast.

At the end of the research, when the calories consumed from the fat and carbohydrates for 24 hours are calculated:

The first group contains 1142 kcal fat, 2062 kcal carbohydrates,
809 kcal fat, 2374 kcal carbohydrate of the second group,
The third group was found to spend 608 kcal fat and 2558 kcal carbohydrates.

As a result, it was observed that in the groups that burned approximately the same amount of calories in total, the group doing cardio on an empty stomach before breakfast burned 50% more fat than the group doing cardio on the full stomach after breakfast.

Research 2

27 healthy men aged 18-25 are divided into three groups and used to investigate the effect of hungry and full cardion on weight loss. The first group (10 participants) perform hungry exercise, the second group (10 participants) exercise full, and the last group (7 participants) complete the research without exercising.

In the six-week study, the participants who exercise four days a week follow glucose tolerance and fat burning enzyme levels. While the research is in progress and at the end of the research:

It was observed that GLUT4 carriers carrying glucose intramuscularly increased by 2-3% of the participants who did full exercise, while this amount was found to be 28% in participants who were fasting.

Translocase / CD36 and carnitine palmitoyltransferase (enzymes that provide fat burning) increase 30% in those who do hungry exercise, but no change in those who do full exercise.
As a result, it was determined by the research that insulin sensitivity is increased in people who are fasting, and more glucose is taken into the cell, preventing excess glucose from being stored as fat and providing more fat burning together with the increase of enzymes that provide fat burning.

To sum up, it has been proven by research that hungry exercise burns more fat and loses weight faster than exercising full.

Of course, if you want to have other details to lose weight, if you want to lose weight, if you are wondering your daily calorie needs, you can reach the calorie needs calculation page and if you want to know your ideal weight, you can reach the ideal weight calculation page via links.

Hungry and full exercise: Bodybuilding

Under this heading, I will share the general opinion that I gained with the studies I mentioned above, all the researches and experiences I have scanned before this article. Because the data I did not mention in the studies I gave above will be more than enough for us.

Carbohydrate, which is frequently used for energy production in weight exercises, is very important in producing fast power in explosive exercises. For this reason, as mentioned about performance, its effect on weight and sustainability is quite high.

Especially if you have high and medium repetition training or if you are working with high weights, I recommend you to go to the exercise full.

In addition, it is a fact that exercise on an empty stomach, which I did not mention in research, can lead to intense muscle loss. Although muscle loss is not intense in lower-scale aerobic exercises such as cardio, intense muscle loss may occur in weight training performed on an empty stomach.

For this reason, I do not recommend that athletes who do not know their body, who are exposed to long trainings and who care about muscle mass, do exercise on an empty stomach.

In summary:

Hunger / satiety does not contribute significantly to performance in low / medium-pace exercises. But if you practice high-speed exercises and care about performance, you should definitely eat before exercise.

If you aim for fat burning while exercising, being on an empty stomach allows you to lose weight faster.

Try not to be hungry during long (60 minutes and more) exercise pace. This will protect you from muscle breakdown and prevent you from getting injured.

If you are interested in bodybuilding and practicing weight exercises, it will be more beneficial for you to exercise in full.

Should you be hungry or full now? You know the answer to the question. So are you ready for change?

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