Should You Exercise on an Empty Stomach?

There are plenty of opinions about if you should eat before exercising.  Should I eat 1 -2 hours before exercising or should I exercise in a fasted state?

When it comes down to it, the answer is mostly dependent on the type of activity you are doing and your overall goals.

There are some people who believe that eating multiple meals all day long is a better idea than fasting because they wrongly believe that this will speed up your metabolism.  However, this has been proven to be a false idea.


Fasting Improves Hormones

The two hormones that fasting drastically improves are growth hormone and insulin.  These two hormones have a teeter totter effect on one another.  For instance, when insulin goes up, growth hormone goes down.

Growth hormone promotes fat loss and muscle gain.  It also improves longevity.  However, taking human growth hormone at an excessive amount by way of injections can have the opposite effect long-term.  The optimal way to improve growth hormone is to help your body to naturally produce more.  The best way to produce more growth hormone is by fasting.  Lifting weights and getting 8 hours of sleep per day also improve growth hormone.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to reduce your blood sugar levels by turning on storage in fat cells and turning off the liver from creating glucose.  When we eat too much, especially carbs and sugars, the cells become insulin resistant.  Fasting lowers insulin levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

Testosterone is a hormone that lowers body fat and increases muscle mass.  When exercising while fasted increases testosterone and growth hormone levels at the same time.


Exercising in the fasted state (on an empty stomach) is a great way to improve the fat burning hormones and improve insulin sensitivity.  When you exercise while fasted, your force your body to get more efficient at burning fat.  Your body will also get better at using oxygen, which you can see because of improved VO2 max.  VO2 max measures the capacity to take in oxygen and is a good way to measure someone’s fitness level.

Many athletes like to drink a coffee, tea or keto-coffee before a workout for an extra boost of energy.

If you are strictly focused on performance, drink a superfood smoothie 1-2 hours before competition and a keto-coffee 30-45 minutes before performing.

A trend among endurance athletes is to train in a fasted state and to eat 1-2 hours before performing on a competition day.

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