Is cardio useful before breakfast?

We have all heard the statement that aerobic stresses in the morning on an empty stomach can accelerate the process of fat burning. If only this were true .

Author: Brad Schoenfeld

In 1999, Bill Phillips published his famous book on fitness – "Body for Life" – which promises the reader a new look in just 12 weeks.

In the chapter on cardio training, Phillips suggests that performing aerobic exercises in the morning on an empty stomach accelerates the process of losing weight.

Everything else, as they say, is history. Since then, supporters of a healthy lifestyle start each morning not with breakfast, but with classes on the treadmill.

The author justified his hypothesis as follows: a prolonged lack of food causes a slowdown in the circulation of glucose in the blood, which helps to reduce the reserves of glycogen (the main reserve carbohydrate in the human body). To ensure the necessary level of energy, the body is forced to consume fat deposits, rather than glucose.

In addition, a decrease in the level of insulin, caused by prolonged starvation, leads to the splitting of fat cells. As a result, fatty acids are used as a source of energy during exercise.

The technique has gained wide popularity among bodybuilders and amateurs of iron sport, seeking to "dry out" of visible fat. After all, who will give up training, giving the same results with less effort?

Sad as it sounds, but the idea with training "no light, no dawn" – this is one big mistake.

Morning training and metabolism

The first thing you should pay attention to is the process of burning fat cells during physical exertion only from the point of view of dry figures. Metabolism takes place not in a vacuum.

The body regulates the process of using fats and carbohydrates as an energy source on an ongoing basis and depends on a number of factors.

The general rule is that the more carbohydrates consumed during training, the more fats are burned in the post-training period, and vice versa.

In the end, there is no difference. In order to have a holistic picture of the effect of aerobic loads on body weight, this process should be considered on a daily basis, rather than an hourly basis.

Suppose you are not convinced by my arguments. You are sure that it is better to burn fat now than later. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. True? Yes, but not in this case.

Indeed, the results of scientific research show that aerobic loads on the hungry stomach contribute to more efficient splitting of fat cells compared to aerobic loads on the full stomach. However, this statement is valid only for very low-intensity loads.

When the level of intensity increases, the ratio is maintained – more fat cells are split into a hungry stomach than to a full stomach.

It would seem, then what's the problem? Unfortunately, the rate of cleavage is greater than the body's ability to utilize the released fatty acids as energy. In other words, a large concentration of fatty acids is formed in the bloodstream, which are not used by muscle-working muscles.

As a result, after the end of training these fatty acids are converted into triglycerides, and then back to fat cells. You have come such a long way to get back to the starting point.

Cardio on an empty stomach does not guarantee a quick result

Okay, but if you decide to do low-intensity cardio to spend a little more calories? The shot is idle. You see, there is a relationship between the body's fitness and aerobic loads on the hungry stomach.

In particular, if you train on an ongoing basis – as a reader of this article, you are most likely doing so – then from the point of view of utilizing fats, the benefits of aerobic loads on an empty stomach will be negligible for you, even with low-intensity training.

Horowitz and colleagues found that if an athlete trains with an intensity of 50% of the maximum heart rate (such a level of load corresponds to a slow walk), then the difference in the rate of splitting of the fat cells is not observed – even though the athlete is hungry or fed.

This statement remains valid for the first 90 minutes of the load; only after this time, training on an empty stomach starts to give a tangible difference in the consumption of fat stores.

That is, if you do not have the desire or the ability to "stick" on the treadmill for hours on end, then training on an empty stomach will not bring you exactly any result, no matter how much intensity you do.

If we consider aerobic loads on an empty stomach in terms of post-training oxygen consumption, it turns out that their effectiveness is even lower. Post-exercise oxygen demand (PTCA), or "after-burning", is the amount of calories consumed after the completion of training. Can you imagine? Eating before training significantly increases the rate of PTCA.

Do you know where the most calories are spent during the post-training period? Correctly – from fat!

Do not forget about such a factor as intensity. Scientists claim that from the point of view of losing weight, high-intensity interval training is more effective than conventional cardio training (in fact, Bill Phillips singled out VIIT as the most preferred type of aerobic exercise).

Have you ever tried to conduct a VITI training on an empty stomach? I am sure that in this case you will not be enough for a long time. To maintain a high level of intensity, the body needs an easily accessible source of glycogen; If the glycogen stores are depleted, you can forget about the high-intensity training.

In the end result, it turns out that both during training and after it, consumes fewer calories. This slows down the process of losing weight.

In addition to all the above, it is worth noting that training on an empty stomach has a catabolic effect on the muscles. The results of scientific research show that training against the background of depletion of glycogen stores significantly increases the rate of protein breakdown in order to replenish energy reserves during physical activity.

For hourly cardio workout protein loss can exceed 10% of total calorie expenditure – when training for a full stomach this figure is more than two times lower.

Anyway, but to sacrifice hard-earned muscles in a vain attempt to burn a couple of extra calories at least stupid – especially for bodybuilders!

To be or not to be cardio before breakfast?

Summarizing, we can conclude that the hypothesis of aerobic loads before breakfast is erroneous, especially for fans of iron sport.

At best, you will not see any difference between this technique and training on a full stomach; at worst – you can lose muscle mass and slow down the process of burning fat. If eating before cardio is mandatory, what products can be used for this?

The answer depends on many factors, including the duration and intensity of training, the number of meals throughout the day and the genetic characteristics of the body.

Practice shows that it is desirable to use 0,6 g carbohydrates and 0,3 g protein per kilogram of ideal body weight (which may differ from actual).

For example, if your ideal body weight is 80 kg, then your pre-workout meal should consist of 50 g carbohydrates and 25 g protein. A good option is a cocktail of natural fruit juice and whey protein (especially if cardio is done early in the morning before breakfast), we recommend using Syntha-6 protein from BSN.

Of course, each person has an individual reaction to the macronutrients. Therefore, these recommendations should be used only as a guide, making appropriate changes.

I do crossfit every morning at home before breakfast. The effect of training is very strong. Without special restrictions in food (sugar and flour I do not eat) fat is burned very quickly, plus a great mood all day and a bunch of ENERGY!

On the contrary, if the training is intense in the morning, then the mood all day is very bad, depressing!

my goal is to prepare for competitions in fitness bikinis! but if I start my morning from running on an empty stomach, my head starts to spin and pressure goes down! What can be used to avoid this?

Tell me, please, what to do in two cases:

1. Training on weekdays occurs only in the morning, before work. To eat for two hours, have to get up at 5 in the morning and then do not know what these two hours to do. Usually the fees take 15 minutes, the road to the hall – 5 minutes, changing clothes – even minutes 5-10. It turns out that between awakening and training is 30 minutes. How to eat better in this case? What to eat for this mini-breakfast? Additives and the like. we refuse. And not bodybuilders, just ordinary people, watching for health and figure.

2. What of the "natural" to eat after training, if there is a desire to burn fat, but there is no desire to lose muscle?

There is a question. In a previous article, "Cardio Training for Weight Loss", it says that you can not eat for 2 hours before and after your workout. Here they write that on an empty stomach can not. So and what to believe? And what about the power? After it, too, 2 hours not to eat?

The author of this article is based on more recent studies that call into question the effectiveness of aerobic training on an empty stomach. And personally I'm more inclined to this option. But this does not mean that you have to stuff your stomach with food before cardio. A good option is a cocktail made from natural fruit juice and whey protein.

In the case of strength training, everything depends on the goals. If the goal to gain weight, that is necessary, if the goal to lose weight, it is better to refrain from eating.

Thanks for the explanation.

In occasion of power .

The goal is to lose weight. But what about catabolism and attempts to keep muscle mass?

After training, the body needs to restore its energy reserves. And if at that time there is no food, then he has to use his own fats. Nutrition immediately after training stops this process and the body begins to use energy from incoming food.

The problem is that in addition to fat burning, catabolic processes in the muscles are activated. Protect the muscles helps to take amino acids immediately after training. For example, 5 grams of BCAA will be sufficient to prevent loss of dry muscle mass.


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