Benefits of Fasted Training: Can Working Out on an Empty Stomach Be a Game Changer?

Benefits of Fasted Training: Can Working Out on an Empty Stomach Be a Game Changer?

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Fasted training, exercising on an empty stomach may increase fat burning by up to 30% during your workout. This is because your body taps into stored fat for energy when glycogen stores are depleted. However, the total daily calorie burn might not be significantly different.

Fasted training, or exercising on an empty stomach, might be a fat-burning secret weapon! Research suggests it can increase fat burning and improve how your body uses sugar, potentially leading to weight management success. But is it right for you? Explore more to find out! [Source: National Institutes of Health (.gov)]

Key Takeaways:

  • Fasted Training: The Empty Stomach Workout? Intrigued? Exercising on an empty stomach may help you burn fat and improve your body’s sugar usage, according to research from the National Institutes of Health.

  • Potential Weight Management Benefits:Fasted training can help you manage weight by increasing fat burning and regulating blood sugar.

  • But Wait! Is It Right for You? Not everyone benefits from fasted training. Explore more to see if it fits your goals and lifestyle!

Fasted Training: Burning More Fat, But Is It Right for You?

Fasted cardio has many beneficial effects

Fasting while exercising may boost fat burning during your workout by 30%, but it does not greatly affect the total amount of calories burned. It might benefit endurance athletes and those seeking improved metabolic health. However, fasted training isn’t ideal for everyone, especially beginners or those with low blood sugar. Consider your goals before trying it.

Benefits of fasted training

Promotes fat use

  • The body uses body fat as the primary energy substrate to conserve glycogen reserves and minimize glucose utilization.

  • This metabolic change is exciting because quantitatively, fat is the energy substrate that gives us more energy.

  • If you have a low body fat percentage, you should not fast.

Develop your muscles

It helps develop a type of muscle fiber, which can withstand prolonged efforts while performing explosive activities.

Facilitates energy contribution to muscle

Build Muscle Mass

When we exercise on an empty stomach, something interesting happens. Our muscles are equipped with specialized receptors called GLUT4 glucose receptors. These receptors move to the muscle’s surface. This allows the muscles to directly utilize glucose. It becomes a top priority for the muscle.

This whole process doesn’t need insulin. That’s important. It can really help people who have trouble managing their blood sugar or those dealing with obesity. It improves how well they can exercise.

Reduces the feeling of tiredness

In the past, when we often moved to get food, our brain encouraged this activity. The way to achieve this is from the limbic or emotional brain, producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

Among other functions, this neurotransmitter relates to the cognitive ability, motivation, and pleasure. The biochemical translation of physical exercise is an essential part of mental and psychological well-being.

That is, dopamine makes us more tolerant of fatigue.

Improve your metabolic health

The energy stress caused by exercise and fasting increases the expression of energy homeostasis-regulating proteins.

This process transmits a cellular signal. It improves glucose uptake and increases fat oxidation. Additionally, it stimulates the creation of new mitochondria. Mitochondria are cellular structures that produce energy for the body.

👉 These functions are critical to maintaining a healthy metabolism.

What is Fasted Training?

Fasted training simply means exercising in a non-fed state. This can be done first thing in the morning before breakfast, or even after a long gap between your last meal and your workout. To achieve the best results, it is important to be in a fasted state. This means that your body’s glycogen stores, which are its main source of energy, should be depleted.

The Science Behind the Burn

So, why all the fuss about fasted training? When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body needs to find other sources of fuel. Since glycogen stores are low, your body taps into stored fat for energy. This can potentially lead to increased fat burning during your workout. Studies suggest that fasted training can increase fat burning by up to 30%, which sounds pretty darn impressive!

But Hold on There, Partner…

Before skipping breakfast and rushing out, think about a few things. Training without eating might burn more fat during exercise. But, the total calories burned might not change much from training after eating. Also, not everyone can train fasted. If you’re new to working out or have low blood sugar, talk to a doctor first.

What is fasted cardio?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasted cardio involves exercising without eating first. This method is debated because it occurs when the body isn’t processing food. Some studies, however, argue that fasted cardio isn’t more effective for losing fat than exercising after eating.

This exercise is doing cardio on an empty stomach. People often pick low-intensity workouts for this. They like to do it before breakfast. This way, they don’t have to change their meal times.

If you’re intermittently fasting, you can fit fasted cardio into your non-eating periods. Intermittent fasting involves alternating between eating and fasting throughout the day or week. It’s unclear when fasted cardio started, but it likely has ancient origins. Bodybuilders have also used it in the morning to lose fat for many years.

Fasted cardio aims to burn fat. Critics say it’s more about burning more calories than you consume, regardless of when you exercise.


Fasting is a perfect way to boost your metabolism
  1. Fasting means you don’t eat before exercising, but you can drink coffee, infusions, or kombucha. 

  2. These drinks can energize you and make you feel better during your workout if you’re new to fasting. 

  3. If it’s your first time fasting, avoid starting with a 20-kilometer run or intense strength training

  4. You might feel dizzy or unwell throughout the day. 

  5. Start with regular or medium-intensity workouts to see how you feel. 

  6. After fasting, eat foods rich in real nutrients and macronutrients. 

  7. If you’re interested in what to eat after training, you’ll find this article helpful.

Fasted Training – Potential Benefits vs. Considerations




Fat Burning

Potentially increases fat burning during exercise by up to 30%

Overall calorie burn for the day may not be significantly different

Metabolic Health

May improve insulin sensitivity

Not suitable for everyone, especially beginners or those with low blood sugar

Endurance Performance

May help athletes become more efficient at using fat for fuel

May cause dizziness, fatigue, or nausea in some individuals

Reduced Inflammation

Some studies suggest fasted training may reduce inflammation

May require adjustments to workout intensity or duration

Cellular Repair

May promote cellular repair mechanisms

May not be ideal for high-intensity workouts

Who Can Benefit From Fasted Training?

How to get started in fasted training

Fasted training might be a good option for:

  • Endurance Athletes: Athletes who train for long distances can benefit from fasted training as it helps their bodies become more efficient at using fat for fuel.

  • Metabolic Health: Studies suggest fasted training may improve insulin sensitivity, which can be beneficial for overall metabolic health.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re interested in trying fasted training, here are some tips:

  • Start Slow: Don’t jump straight into intense workouts on an empty stomach. Begin with low-intensity exercise and gradually increase the intensity as your body adapts.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout is crucial, especially when training fasted.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel during your workout. If you experience dizziness, fatigue, or nausea, stop exercising and refuel with some food.

Fasted Training – Suitability for Different Fitness Goals

Fitness Goal

Fasted Training Suitability


Weight Loss

May be a strategy, but focus on overall calorie deficit

May not be as effective as other weight loss strategies

Improving Endurance

Can benefit long-distance athletes

May require experimentation to find optimal training window

Building Muscle

Not recommended

Pre-workout meal can optimize muscle protein synthesis

General Fitness

Can be incorporated, but listen to your body

Start slow and gradually increase workout intensity

Morning Workouts

Convenient option if time is limited

Ensure proper hydration before and during exercise

Fasted Training vs. Fed Training: Weighing Your Options

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to fasted training. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:


Fasted Training

Fed Training

Fat Burning During Workout

Potentially Higher


Overall Calorie Burn

May Not Be Significantly Different

May Be Higher

Suitable For

Endurance Athletes, Metabolic Health

Beginners, High-Intensity Workouts


May Cause Dizziness, Not for Everyone

Requires Proper Pre-Workout Meal Planning

Fasting aerobic exercise

The Bottom Line

Fasted training can be a valuable tool for some, but it’s not a magic bullet for weight loss. Consider your fitness goals, experience level, and overall health before giving it a try. Remember, consistency is key! Regardless of whether you train fasted or fed, sticking to a regular exercise routine and healthy eating habits will lead you down the path to a healthier, fitter you.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on fasted training, you might be wondering what kind of workouts are best suited for it. Check out our guides on Strength Training Basics for Beginners and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Fat Burning for some inspiration!


Increased Fat Burning During Exercise: Research shows working out on an empty stomach may boost fat burning by up to 30% during exercise. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242477/). Your glycogen stores are depleted. This means your body has used up its readily available energy source. As a result, your body starts using fat for fuel.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Research shows that training on an empty stomach could make the body more sensitive to insulin. This is good for the body’s metabolism. (https://www.nsca.com/).

Overall Calorie Burn: Fasted training may burn more fat. However, the total calories you burn in a day might not differ much compared to when you eat before exercising. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242477/).

Suitability: Fasted training might not be ideal for everyone. People who are just starting to exercise, those who have low blood sugar, and individuals who do intense workouts might find it beneficial to eat before exercising. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242477/).