Running on an empty stomach: yes or no?
Running on an empty stomach: is it good or bad? What is it useful for? What happens if you run out of energy?
These are some of the questions we often ask ourselves, without perhaps being able to find a definitive answer.
Leaving aside the overall regenerative feeling of well-being that a morning run gives us, let’s look at the different issues to understand if it is correct to train on an empty stomach and how to do it correctly.
1. What it means to run on an empty stomach
Starting to run after not having eaten for at least eight hours means training on an empty stomach. Coffee and liquids such as water and tea are tolerated.
It is therefore obvious that it is best to do it first thing in the morning, before breakfast.
2. Why run on an empty stomach
The aim is to stimulate, given the prolonged fasting, the use of fats for energy purposes.
As soon as you wake up, glycogen stores are low and insulin levels are low.
When training in this state, the metabolism does not work in “carbohydrate mode”, as the body is forced to use fats as fuel. Basically, the body gets smart and starts using fat reserves, which are plentiful and offer a prolonged supply of energy.
In endurance sports, such as athletics or cycling, the cheaper the fat metabolism, the more cautious the use of carbohydrate reserves. Therefore, to be efficient for as long as possible, it is advisable to train fat metabolism in particular.
An example? Top Kenyan athletes always do their first endurance run of the day before breakfast.
3. Rythm is crucial
In the fat burning theory, the body can only get energy from fat stores if there is enough oxygen available. What does this mean? It means that the fasting run should be done slowly so that oxygen reaches the whole body. A tip to understand if the rhythm is the right one… Can you still talk? then it’s okay!
Focus is critical. It is absolutely forbidden to start running on an empty stomach with a first outing of one hour or similar. The body has to get used to this new way of running.
So how is it done, especially in the beginning? Get up, drink water, have a coffee (if you’re used to it) and go for a half-hour run at a moderate intensity. When you return, shower and eat breakfast normally, without overdoing it. Rather take care of your hydration.
Little by little you can increase the duration, until you reach 60 minutes. This is obviously the advice for people who want to insert one workout like this per week, getting positive results.
Running on an empty stomach, in addition to setting in motion new adaptation processes in the body, has a particular charm in terms of experience. The early morning air is cleaner than in the afternoon, the tiredness is not yet felt and the desire to run is strong. It is definitely recommended, within a training program, once a week.
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