While many people focus on the varying exercises, regimes, and styles of weightlifting in the hopes of improving their performance, people often overlook just how important diet is to any weight training program.
This is true regardless of your end goal whether you want to cut fat, gain muscle mass or simply become a little more lean and athletic.
Unfortunately, diet also happens to be one of the more confusing and difficult aspects of life to keep under control, and there are many ongoing debates about various dieting strategies and eating habits, especially with regards to fitness and health.
Things such as keto, and more recently the rise of various ‘fasting’ regimes have led to a lot of confusion around what’s best for you, and begs the question, can you lift weights on an empty stomach? Is this safe? What are the potential benefits of this, and the potential risks?
In this guide we’re going to discuss the potential risks and benefits of working out on an empty stomach, and what this can mean for your workout and your health and fitness.
But let’s get into the pros to start with.
It’s difficult to say for certain if there are any concrete benefits to working out in a fasted state.
There hasn’t been an awful lot of study into this, and the studies that have looked at it found no particular detrimental effects for people who worked out while on an empty stomach, and for some people, this may be enough for them to consider it perfectly fine.
However, there’s more to it than this.
Working out in a fasted state can potentially increase your weight loss, assuming you don’t pig out on takeaways and chocolate right after you train.
This is because weight training burns energy, and of course, if we don’t have any carbohydrates in our blood or digestive system to fuel our current energy expenditure, then our body will burn energy by tapping into the fat stores on the body.
While this isn’t a one-way ticket to skinny town, it can potentially have some benefits in this regard.
Some people also report feeling much lighter on their feet and less bloated when working out on an empty stomach, which can make you feel more confident as well as potentially improve your motivation and concentration, however, this may differ from person to person.
There are also some cons to working out on an empty stomach, and many of these issues are enough for most people to avoid doing this.
First and foremost, working out on an empty stomach can lead to nausea, lightheadedness, low concentration, and even fainting, as low blood sugar levels combined with high physical activity and high blood pressure can have a host of nasty chain reactions that leave you way below your best, which can result in a very poor training session, or even a potentially dangerous situation of passing out while lifting.
While this of course is going to be different in different people, this is serious enough for a lot of people to simply avoid this practice right off the bat.
There are other cons too, however, such as a much lower performance capability due to lower blood sugar and energy levels. This can make you perform below your best meaning you aren’t getting the most out of your session and are hampering your progress.
Its almost like training with a self-inflicted handicap, and this generally isn’t seen as an optimal way to work out long term.
There are many reasons why you may need to work out on an empty stomach, and it may work for you, it may not, but whatever you choose to do it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced diet regardless of when you decide to actually eat it!