Fast Forward Fat Loss
I’ve sadly (well quite merrily TBH) failed to put a stop to my indulgent trot in recent months/my entire life. The only thing I’m running out of is weekend… #Mondaze… Sigh. But after bruising myself into ‘work trousers’ this morning, I’ve decided that the bulk stops here. What I haven’t stopped is pondering how to curtail my indulgent trot as painlessly as possible: you’re welcome. This brings me to the quandary of whether or not to exercise on an empty stomach in order to maximize fat-melt potential. It’s a controversial topic and conflicting opinions abound. I’m going to look at the pros and cons in very broad strokes to lend a (hopefully) balanced perspective.
The idea that exercising in a fasted state burns more fat makes sense because, ya know, #Science. Your body’s carb stores in your liver and muscles are collectively known as glycogen. Said glycogen is ever-ready to be converted to glucose to meet your energy requirements. It is usually depleted overnight so if you exercise before your breakfast you should delve into your fat stores since glycogen (your body’s preferred energy source) is AWOL. Does this sound too good to be true? That’s because it is: if your glycogen stores are next-to-nonexistent, your body unforch resorts to shredding muscle for fuel: #NotCool. In addition, it’s unlikely you’d be feeling on top of the world during this process.
TBF it’s unlikely most of us would rise from our slumber with zilch glycogen what with our late night eating after a long day’s #WerkWerkWerk and a short night’s sleep. So if you were to get your fit freak on at cockcrow, chances are you’d be graaaand. You’d have a smidge of glycogen loitering to allow you to burn fat safely and optimally: #Goals.
Fat is stored in what’s charmingly known as adipose tissue. Adiposing a problem for a lot of us sez you. To mobilise the lard from the larder in order to use it as energy, it must be converted converted to lil fatty acids called triglycerides and released into the bloodstream in a process known as lipolysis… Liposuction #ForReal.
You need truckloads of oxygen to keep these fatty acids trippin’ so pigging out before you exercise is actually deflecting your oxygen stash to the muscles of your digestive tract, thereby robbing your fat-burning potential blind. Like a lotta things, it’s all about balance: a light meal or snack usually leaves your body sufficiently fuelled to sustain a workout at optimal fat-busting intensity: #winning. It’s difficult to work up an appetite for exercise after Peppa Pigging out anyway and conversely impossible to muster the energy if you’re starved out of the shop.
Nothing you’d hang your hat on, but there are a few studies that show the combo of intermittent fasting followed by a short burst of intense exercise may go beyond enabling maximal fat-burn and may shower the fountain of youth on your muscles, enhance your smarts and boost your mood and hormones, including growth hormone which is of interest to body builders: #StrongNotSkinny.
Soooo, to fast or not to fast? For sustainable weight loss, I’d say be practical, think about the time of day you plan on undertaking your workout and plan accordingly, listen to your body and give it what it needs – Genius, I know – otherwise you may inadvertently do a disservice to yourself and your summer bod goals: #FatLotOfGood.
P.S. I have my persistent delusional disorder sufficiently controlled to not fool myself into thinking I’m going to metamorphose into an early morning exerciser; at best, I’ll purport to maybe skip a pre-workout breakfast on a (non-hungover) Saturday or Sunday, date TBC.
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