If you're a fan of fasted morning workouts, I've got good news for you. A recent study (1) conducted by researchers at the Universities of Bath and Birmingham in the UK looked at the results of exercising in a fasted state before consuming breakfast vs. exercising in a fed state after consuming breakfast. The evidence was clear that exercising in a fasted state, preferably before eating breakfast, produced the greatest amount of health benefits.
The study was conducted over a six-week period and involved 30 men who were considered overweight or obese. They were put into two intervention groups: one worked out fasted and the other did not. Researchers concluded that those who worked out fasted burned nearly double the amount of fat than those who did not.
The reason fasted workouts allow us to burn more fat is because we generally have lower insulin levels from fasting throughout the night. People who workout fasted are able to burn more fat from their own fat tissues as opposed to the nutrients that the fed-state exercisers used.
Researchers are looking into performing similar studies on women, since this study only included men. They expect to see similar results. Whether you're a woman or a man, it's clear that working out fasted is, for the most part, more beneficial to your health. Of course, everyone is different, so there may be exceptions. But the researchers found that those who workout fasted tend to respond better to insulin once meals are consumed, which helps to control blood sugar levels. This in turn potentially reduces one's risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
The group that exercised fasted also saw an improvement in muscle composition, even though they were performing the exact same workout routine as the group working out in a fed state. So if your goal is to burn more fat and gain more muscle, consider working out fasted first thing in the morning. I used to do this, and I'm going to start back up again. I'll keep you updated on what I notice regarding my own health. I expect to see good results, even if it may be challenging to drag myself out of bed first thing in the morning to workout. I'm sure that once I get into the routine of doing this, it won't be as bad.
Do you workout fasted first thing in the morning? How has it been for you? I'm curious to know.