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  • Exercising While Hungry: Good Or Bad?
  • Post author
    Jesse Koltes

Exercising While Hungry: Good Or Bad?

Exercising While Hungry: Good Or Bad?

Need to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds? 

There seems to be a couple trendy ways to lose weight. 

The first one is intermittent fasting. There are a handful of different ways to do intermittent fasting. Essentially, it limits the amount of time you can eat during a day (or calories). 

For example, the most popular time-restricted feeding plan is 16/8, which means you fast for 16 hours and only eat for 8 hours. So for example, you only eat in between the hours of noon and finish eating dinner by 8 p.m.

In this noon to 8 p.m. eating window, the only things allowed in the morning before breaking the fast is black coffee and any non-caloric drink that ideally contains trace minerals. 

Advocates of intermittent fasting claim that this time-restricted eating plant boosts levels of lean-muscle promoting hormones and is effective for fat burning. 

Which brings us to the second easy way to burn fat: high intensity interval training (HIIT). 

Those who do HIIT in the morning, before eating, do so because of the widely-held belief that the human body more quickly taps into fat reserves for energy while in a fasting state. 

Paired together, intermittent fasting and HIIT seem to be a potent fat-burning combo. 

And while we're at it, let's add a third fat-fighting element: eating low carb (50 net grams of carbs maximum per day). 

Here's yet another appetite-control method for weight loss: just drink water or bone broth before a meal (or instead of eating). 

However, if you're new to intermittent fasting and not used to exercising before eating, is it safe to exercise, especially at high intensity, if you're hungry?

The science seems to support high intensity interval training. A few short bursts of exercise per day at high intensity is better for weight loss than one workout at a sustained pace. 

But what if you're starving? Is it bad to exercise?

Exercising While Hungry: Good Or Bad For Weight Loss?

You probably already know you shouldn't eat a huge meal right before exercising. On the flip side, you've heard how skipping breakfast and exercising can encourage fat burning. 

But working out hungry, according to this Canadian fitness website, may hinder weight loss and fitness goals. 


The exercise science professor quoted in the article claims that "whether you are working out hungry or eat before exercise, your body burns fat the same."

Furthermore, working out on an empty stomach can draw protein away from your own muscle tissue. That's because if you're working out hungry, your body is in survival mode. This actually slows down your metabolism rather than boosting it. 

Exercising While Hungry: May Cause Binge Eating Later

Another problem with exercising while hungry is that you may end up wanting to pig out later in the day. 

You're going to be so hungry after your workout that even if there were any fat-loss benefits, they'd probably be negated because you'll likely end up compensating for the calories later in the day. 

Breakfast Before Or After Working Out?

That being said, however, it's a completely different thing to exercise first thing in the morning well before hunger pangs develop. 

Although the sports exercise professor says there's no evidence your body burns fat better or sooner exercising before eating, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that supports working out before eating for fat loss.

There's even some research that does in fact support working out before eating breakfast. (One such study is referenced in this article on Men'

The lessons are, if you want to lose stubborn belly fat, try these things:

1. Wake up early. 

2. Do a HIIT workout, even if it's brief. Try to do a few brief HIIT workouts throughout the day. 

3. Try intermittent fasting. (But only fast for 12 hours at first; gradually build up to 16 hours). 

4. Eliminate carbs from your diet (other than veggies and a little fruit). 

5. Don't exercise if you're hungry. 

6. If you are hungry and don't have time to eat, drink bone broth. You'll be surprised by how drinking a cup of bone broth can curb hunger. 




  • Post author
    Jesse Koltes

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