Is empty stomach exercise effective?

With my new blog post yesterday, I realized that I need to clarify my opinion on morning "empty-stomach" exercise.

If you don't know, the theory on morning empty stomach cardio is that since you're in a fasted state and don't have immediate carbs in your system, your body will rely more heavily on bodyfat for fuel during the workout, and you'll burn more bodyfat.  Nice in theory (and to be honest, does work for some people), but as you'll see below, it didn't work for me, and others I know too that have tried it.

As you probably know if you've read my Truth about Six Pack Abs ebook, one of the main problems I've had with morning "empty stomach" exercise, is that in a lot of people, it tends to make you lose lean muscle, which can lower your metabolic rate.

In fact, when I tested morning exercise on an empty stomach in the past, I ended up losing strength and a little bit of muscle after a couple weeks (despite the fact I was still weight training on separate workouts).  I subsequently gained fat quicker due to a reduction in my metabolic rate after that muscle loss.

I found a fix to that problem when I re-tested morning empty stomach exercise a few months ago.  What I did this time was use BCAA's immediately upon waking and before the exercise, which has been proven to help prevent the muscle catabolism that would occur otherwise.

However, there was still a problem... I still would have ZERO energy to do anything intense in this type of empty stomach workout.  Walking maybe...but that's about it.  I prefer high intensity exercise and believe more strongly in the benefits of really challenging your body with intense exercise.  That's why I love to do wind sprints!

For me, I just don't have the energy to anything intense on an empty stomach in the morning, so that's why I tested the little drink concoction that I talked about in yesterday's post

That little drink concoction has totally changed the game, and I've been having TONS of energy and feeling great during my morning wind sprints... plus, as I mentioned, I've actually noticed more definition in the lower abs just doing these morning wind sprints every day for a week straight!

Side note:  For the last couple of months, I've been using those fancy new Vibram 5-Fingers "barefoot" shoes (they look more like socks than shoes) for all of my gym workouts and also my wind sprints.  My physical therapist friends swear by these, and tell me that they are more natural for your feet for squats, deadlifts and other gym exercises, and help reduce risk for injuries.

My squats and deadlifts have felt awesome since I started using these 5-Finger shoes!  My numbers have been going up like crazy.  I even worked my max deadlift from 355 to 405 lbs in the last 3 months!

Also, the 5 Fingers feel perfect for sprints... I've always thought that barefoot sprinting felt more natural compared to running shoes, but I never wanted to sprint barefoot on a field for fear of cutting my feet on a rock or something.  But with these 5-Fingers shoes, you get the feel of barefoot sprinting, but with a layer of rubber protection between your feet and the ground.

Overall, they felt super powerful for the wind sprints and I'm never going back to running shoes again!

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Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer | |