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Study You Can Use: Work Out Without Food

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This doesn't cut it

Whenever a friend of mine gets a hike or a workout in before eating, he calls it “earning his breakfast.” My opinion was that he was always doing this wrong. Wouldn’t you want to eat first before working out in order to work off the food? Apparently, I’m an asshole. According to a new study, if you perform a work out before eating that massive breakfast, you’re actually going to lost more weight. Bring on the science:

For the study, researchers in Belgium recruited 28 healthy, active young men and began stuffing them with a truly lousy diet, composed of 50 percent fat and 30 percent more calories, overall, than the men had been consuming. Some of the men agreed not to exercise during the experiment. The rest were assigned to one of two exercise groups. The groups’ regimens were identical and exhausting. The men worked out four times a week in the mornings, running and cycling at a strenuous intensity. Two of the sessions lasted 90 minutes, the others, an hour. All of the workouts were supervised, so the energy expenditure of the two groups was identical.

Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. “Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”

So, there you have it. Try and get those workouts in before consuming a big, hearty breakfast and it’s going to impact your workout in a positive way. The more you know, etc.

About Rick Mosely

Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.

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