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Question
Posted by: Missy | 2007/03/20

20 minute cardio on an empty stomach

Hello

I wanted to find out if it was true that 20mins of cardio in the morning on an empty stomach burns more calories than doing cardio in the afternoon after you have eaten. Im going according to the Body for life book. Exercising on an empty stomach is not a problem for me as i feel fine when i do, i just want to know if this "20 minute before eating" statement is true. Or myth?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Missy

Not necessarily, though as with most theories, there is some truth in there. The answer is actually quite complex, and therefore debated, but I'll try to give you my understanding and opinion on the issue.

In theory, when you train without having eaten, your body is forced to rely more on fat as a source of energy. This happens because the hormonal situation in the body changes when you have eaten (as opposed to going without eating). Therefore, eating just before you exercise causes you to burn more carbohydrates and less fat. However, if you eat at least 60 minutes before training, then you are not training on an empty stomach, but you also don't have this problem of not using fat. So it's not necessarily a case of 'empty stomach', as it is of just eating at least 60 minutes before you train.

So my advice if you can do it without problems is to train in the morning before you eat (but eat afterwards, that's quite important), but don't worry too much about this, because in the big scheme of things, it really makes little difference.

Good luck

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