Running on an empty stomach in the morning: risks or benefits?


You wish run fasting in the morning and you want to know more about these effects? You plan to start running and you don’t know if it’s better to run before or after breakfast ?

Great accustomed to morning runs, I tell you more about the benefits and risks of running on an empty stomach.

Running on an empty stomach: what happens in the body?

Run on an empty stomach, it’s training without having breakfast. The last food intake therefore goes back to dinner the day before or more, depending on whether you are fasting 16/8 or another variant. Concretely: you run in the morning on an empty stomach.

After a night’s sleep, the body has no more glycogen reserves, in other words, the sugar stored by the muscles. It will therefore come to draw on the last reserves that are in the blood and then it attacks the fats to find energy.

Running on an empty stomach will therefore have the main effect of burning more fat during exercise. But how much? Should I run every day on an empty stomach? What are the effects on the body? Benefits and risks, I tell you more in the article.

Jogging on an empty stomach for 30 minutes at a moderate pace does not pose a problem. Your body has sufficient reserves to endure a session of medium intensity without food intake.

On the other hand, I strongly recommend that you drink water before, during and after the race.

The advantages and benefits of running on an empty stomach

The benefits of running in the morning on an empty stomach

The benefits of running are numerous!

  • Already for your health, with a reduction in cardiovascular or cancer risks, for example.
  • For the spirit because, running allows you to escape, to evacuate stress and negative emotions.
  • For your body, because it will activate the whole body (tendons, muscles, joints), strengthen your legs and generally the whole body!
  • And so many more!

But if you’re on this article, it’s also because you’ve heard that running on an empty stomach makes you lose weight, right? Let’s see it together.

Burn more fat

Run when you wake up without having eaten, it is using more of its lipid reserves (its fat reserves) than usual.

For this reason, training on an empty stomach is often recommended for people who want to lose weight a little faster.

But don’t expect miraculous results! Running to lose weight is effective but are you going to lose 5kg in a week? Not sure.

Running on an empty stomach will allow you to go slightly faster and much more than just reducing fat. Obviously, running and being active will require energy from the body to begin this weight loss, but you must also understand that it takes time.

Ideal for being in a good mood

Run in the morning, this is the best technique to be sure not to lose motivation. If you too have busy days, choosing to run in the morning will save you from getting discouraged in the evening!

In addition, to make jogging in the morning, quiet, it’s perfect for relaxing and enjoying the fresh air and nature (or the tranquility of the stadium). The stress level is low and calls for a slow and zen jog. You can then recover quietly and be in good shape all day. Because yes, run in the morning gives a great energy to the day!

Gain stamina

Train on an empty stomachit’s teaching your body to better mobilize energy.

Indeed, athletes who regularly practice endurance disciplines burn fat more easily than sedentary or poorly trained people.

When fasting, the body learns to optimize the use of its reserves. However, there is still no scientific proof of the significant improvement in running performance caused by fasted workouts.

Training on an empty stomach is often not recommended for beginners. Indeed, it is necessary to have a little experience on your body in order to know its limits and its possibilities before testing a practice on an empty stomach.

Why run on an empty stomach and lose weight do not necessarily make the pair?

At a jogging in the morning, the energy produced comes mainly from the burning of fat. But the total energy expenditure is relatively low since you are doing low intensity training. Calorie consumption will therefore not be amazing.

Basically, it is often said that to lose weight, you have to spend more calories every day than you consume. If you want to melt off your excess pounds, you should instead perform high intensity training, decrease some calorie intake a little, but practice intermittent fasting, will not make you lose pounds if you are already in your fitness weight but can contribute to this in case of obesity or overweight.

But, ultimately, you have to do a physical activity that you enjoy, eat healthy food and in good quantity in order to hold on in the long term without yo-yoing on the scale.

If you love running in the morning, don’t mind fasting, then try both to get the most benefit! If you’re not sure where to start, you can try a running weight loss program and learn about what to eat while intermittent fasting.

The risks of poorly controlled jogging on an empty stomach

Doing sports on an empty stomach can be harmful to your health when it is poorly controlled.

There are different types of risks, chronic risks and immediate risks. This is why intermittent fasting should not always be taken lightly and must be understood before starting.

beginner running program

Chronic risks

Insufficient calorie intake and excessive energy expenditure can have many consequences:

  • Metabolic disorder: difficulty gaining muscle or losing weight;
  • Dysregulation of menstrual function (amenorrhea);
  • Impact on bones: osteoporosis, stress fracture;
  • Decline in immunity;
  • Difficulty synthesizing proteins;
  • Impact on cardiovascular and psychological health;
  • Decreased performance and difficulty recovering.

We are talking here about fasting sport pushed to the extreme, see significant under-nutrition coupled with intense or very regular physical activity. This is also why you shouldn’t go too fast in your weight loss goal with low-calorie diets and extreme cardio!

The immediate risks

The most common risk when a person runs in the morning without having eaten is to have a hypoglycemic crisis. At this time, the body no longer has enough sugars to function and you may experience dizziness, malaise or muscle weakness.

This is a sign to immediately stop and eat something!

Also, if you’re hungry and low on energy, you may be less attentive to the ecosystem around you. The risk of accidents is therefore a little higher.

Impact on the digestive system

When we play sports, the majority of the blood flow is directed towards the muscles, the heart, the lungs and the brain. And there is a decrease in blood circulation around the digestive system. This is transient ischemia. Immediately after sport, suddenly a lot of blood rushes to the digestive system (this is salting out) and if your stomach or intestine were in labor during your morning jog, it is quite possible that you feel discomfort. . Bloating, difficult digestion, less energy to run…

So in the end running on an empty stomach – at least for me – it’s above all a question of digestive comfort and energy to do my session well.

To run safely on an empty stomach, all you have to do is listen to your body and respect a few principles.

If in doubt: the medical opinion

First, make sure your physical condition allows it.

For example, if you have diabetes, the running on an empty stomach is strongly contraindicated. Similarly, after an injury or in the event of overweight, the fasting race is not recommended.

If you have any doubts, I recommend that you consult your doctor.

Stay hydrated before your run

Drink before running on an empty stomach!

Running on an empty stomach means running without eating. But it’s not running without drinking! Your body needs water when you wake up, and even more so if you’re going for a run. A large glass of water before the race is absolutely necessary.

In order not to break the fast, you can drink:

  • Water
  • Coffee (sugar free)
  • Tea (sugar free)

But we avoid drinking:

  • “Light” or so-called sugar-free drinks
  • Fruit juice

Provide an anti-hypoglycemia snack

Even the most seasoned sportsmen and women can be prone to hypoglycemia.

In case of weakness, eating a snack will provide you with the fast sugars necessary to start again – slowly!

You can take with you:

  • Sugar
  • Of honey
  • Chocolate
  • A very ripe banana

Warm up properly to avoid injury

On average, I advise you to wait 20 to 30 minutes after waking up to start running. This is the time needed for the muscles to wake up. Before you even start warming up, walk around a bit.

Then move on to the joint warm-up: bend the knees, circle the arms and rotate the ankles.

To avoid breakdowns, also do a little muscle warm-up!

Start gradually

The best – especially if you are a beginner – is to start with brisk walking, then move on to gentle jogging. As the body wakes up, it needs time to warm up and then finally start running.

To define the maximum intensity required, you can refer to the Borg scale, also called the “perceived exertion scale”.

A morning jog should never exceed the moderately difficult effort unless you are a regular and know your body well.

Ladder Effort Stress level
0 No effort Full relaxation
1 Very very easy relaxation.
2 Very easy I can maintain this effort all day.
3 Easy I can surely maintain this effort all day.
4 Moderate effort A little tiring, but I can still speak normally.
5 Average Tiring, but I can still speak normally.
6 A bit difficult Hard, but I can still talk.
7 Difficult Very harsh I can barely speak.
8 Very difficult I can maintain this rhythm for a short time.
9 very very difficult I can maintain this rhythm for a very short time.
10 maximum effort Impossible to hold.

Stretch properly after running

After running, the leg muscles were very stressed. The purpose of stretching after running is to return the muscles to their “normal state”. Here, we are not looking to relax, just to relax.

I therefore advise you to perform short stretches: 15 to 30 seconds per muscle group, without necessarily going to pain.

After walking for a few minutes, you can perform the post-running stretches explained point by point in my video:

Remember to prepare a complete and healthy breakfast

You have to eat to lose weight! Your body has undergone an effort, it is now necessary to fill up with energy with a good diet and the nutrients necessary for its proper functioning.

It is therefore essential to have a good breakfast when you return from your race. So no fake foods, we eat the least industrial products possible! Adapt your breakfast to your form, if you are very tired, opt for foods that will give you sugar a little faster, otherwise opt for foods with a low glycemic index to give energy to your body the as long as possible.

The questions you ask yourself about running



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