Tips for exercising on an empty stomach

Tips for playing sports on an empty stomach

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to play sports on an empty stomach

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Tips for exercising on an empty stomach

Even if this sports training can have benefits, in particular on weight loss, precautions remain to be taken to avoid discomfort. A sports coach and a sports doctor detail the right attitude to adopt.

You have always been told to eat before doing sport , to gain strength and not fall for the apple because of a hypoglycaemic attack. However, training on an empty stomach is attracting a growing number of athletes. So what are the benefits of exercising on an empty stomach? “Exercising on an empty stomach can be useful for people looking to lose weight or fat mass ”, explains William Chanconie, sports coach. This method also helps to gain endurance, according to Victoria Tchaikovski, sports doctor in Paris. “The body thus mobilizes more quickly the reserves of lipids to trigger a discharge of energy”, she indicates. But before embarking headlong, a few precautions must be observed.

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Adapt your training

At fasting , we do not practice an activity physical as if we had had a meal or a snack beforehand. Indeed, when the sugar level is high in the blood, that is to say when we have just eaten, the body will draw on these sugar reserves. Conversely, when you exercise on an empty stomach, the body will directly use it where the fat is.

To support this effect, certain sports should be favored, in particular those which stimulate cardio , such as cycling, running or swimming. “However, fasting is not recommended for short and violent exercises, such as interval training or squats , nuances the sports doctor Victoria Tchaikovski. You are more likely to have cramps or hypoglycemia. ”

To avoid these inconveniences, sports coach William Chanconie recommends always carrying something a little sweet during exercise, a cereal bar or a bar rich in protein. “We are going gradually, if we start, we start first with at 20 minutes, then half an hour and we increase the duration at gradually. We are not going to run a marathon on an empty stomach, ”emphasizes the sports doctor.

Do not forget to hydrate

But be careful, staying on an empty stomach does not also mean forgetting about hydration. “In the morning, before playing sports, the ideal is to drink a cup of tea and a drink water ”, advises the sports coach. We of course avoid sugary drinks, such as fruit juice, and we take our tea (or coffee), without adding sugar. And we do not forget to hydrate either during and after the effort.

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Prepare your body

The day before a session, sports doctor Victoria Tchaikovski recommends preparing your body for this particular sports training. “We prefer a meal rich in slow sugars , we have a good dinner with starchy foods, bread and dessert, ”she explains. “It is advisable to have a diet allowing light digestion , with cooked vegetables also, adds William Chanconie. For the same reasons, animal proteins and dairy products should be avoided during this meal. ” The sports coach also recommends a good night’s sleep . “The better we slept, the better we will recover,” he summarizes.

And obviously, we practice sport on an empty stomach only if our mental state allows it: “We do it in good conditions and especially not in a context of professional or general overwork ”, notes the sports doctor.

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An effort away from meals

Morning would be a great time to train on an empty stomach, according to sports coach William Charconie. “Even at a very low intensity, the fat will be directly mobilized,” he says. And if you don’t have time to train in the morning, the sports coach advises to wait at least five hours after the last meal. “For people who have eaten at noon, I offer sessions from 15 h to be really fasting ”, he reports.

Regain strength

After your session, it is important to eat again. “If we want to optimize weight loss, we can wait 20 at 45 minutes before eating again, time to take a shower and get dressed, ”suggests the coach. But we will not go so far as to wait much longer before feeding. “You have to quickly bring something to the body and attack a meal rich in protein and fiber,” he explains. “We can eat anything, but we avoid a meal that is too fatty ”, concludes sports doctor Victoria Tchaikovski.

Originally published in December 2020, this article has been updated.