Old Rule: Eat breakfast before you exercise
New Rule: Postpone your morning meal
If you’re trying to lose weight, do cardio before your morning meal, suggests a new study published in The Journal of Physiology. Researchers put a group of healthy, active adults on a hyper-caloric, high-fat diet and then assigned them to one of three experimental groups. The first did no exercise. The second and third groups did identical, strenuous, 60- and 90-minute running and cycling workouts four times a week but followed different dietary protocols around the time of training: The second group ate a carbohydrate heavy breakfast an hour and a half before exercising and then continued to take in carbs during their workout with a sports drink-like mixture, while the third group exercised on an empty stomach, drank only water during the workout and then ate the carb-rich breakfast mid-afternoon.
After six weeks the non-exercisers gained about six pounds and developed insulin resistance, an early sign of type 2 diabetes, and began storing fat in their muscles. The pre-exercise breakfast eaters gained about half as much weight but also became more insulin resistant and started to store more fat. Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained virtually no weight and burned the extra fat they were eating more efficiently. Exercising in a fasted state may cause metabolic changes in muscle that causes them to burn fat, instead of carbs, for fuel, say researchers.
If you want to try exercising on an empty stomach but are worried your performance will suffer, there is good evidence that swishing—but not swallowing—a carbohydrate solution, such as Gatorade, can significantly enhance performance in the fasted state, says study author Peter Hespel, PhD, professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium. "A simple mouth rinse just before starting the exercise certainly would delay the perception of fatigue during the exercise, and thus enhance the ‘quality’ of the training."
Next: 10 Summer Workout Mistakes That Stall Results
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