Workout on an empty stomach?



mpr755

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Jan 30, 2004
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I *am* trying to lose weight but would like to minimize muscle breakdown.

I've heard some say that working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach forces your body to burn fat. I've heard others say that will actually burn muscle tissue and that you should definately have some carbs in your stomach to burn.

Anyone have definitive proof or experience?
 

Cipher

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Sep 7, 2002
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Originally posted by mpr755
I *am* trying to lose weight but would like to minimize muscle breakdown.

I've heard some say that working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach forces your body to burn fat. I've heard others say that will actually burn muscle tissue and that you should definately have some carbs in your stomach to burn.

Anyone have definitive proof or experience?

I've heard in order for this to be successful, you must maintain an aerobic state during your workout. (It should be a relatively low stress ride with your heart rate roughly 120 ~ 135 bpm).
 

Lasalles

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Aug 6, 2003
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A good way to burn fat is to hit the road and do some long Ks regularly.Im going through the same thing now,and its bloody hard work.I normally have 1 piece of toast before a ride if its first thing in the morning and if its a long one take a museli bar or something similar and eat half way.
 

2LAP

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Feb 22, 2002
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Originally posted by mpr755
I *am* trying to lose weight but would like to minimize muscle breakdown.

I've heard some say that working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach forces your body to burn fat. I've heard others say that will actually burn muscle tissue and that you should definately have some carbs in your stomach to burn.

Anyone have definitive proof or experience?
The key to weight loss is to eat less energy than you use. Use about 3500 calories more than you eat and you will lose roughly a pound of body fat.

Remembering this, riding on an empty stomache is a bad idea because it limits calorie use because...
1. reduced time to fatigue at any intensity.
2. reduced exercise intensity.
3. reduced recovery between sessions.

Factors 1 to 3 result in lower energy expendature in a single session or over a number of days. This is not the situation you want to encourage.

Lasalles advice is good because he is telling you to do a large volume of exercise (hence a large energy expendature) and by eating before and on the ride you will not fatigue.

Cipers advice isn't so correct. At low intensities the energy expendature is also low, at high intensities energy expendature is high. To maximise the energy expendature in any given session go as fast as you can for the whole session; if you exercise for 10 minutes you'll have to go very hard and if you exercise for many hours the intensity you can maintain will be quite low.
 

mpr755

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Jan 30, 2004
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This makes sense, especially given that while my early season goal is to climb like a goat (hence the weight loss) my late season goal is to do my first century. Getting a lot of time in the saddle will pay off double.

Of course, here in New York, my riding will be of the indoor sort.

I have to admit I was hoping for some rapid weight loss ... not healthy, I know.
 

Cipher

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Originally posted by 2LAP
The key to weight loss is to eat less energy than you use. Use about 3500 calories more than you eat and you will lose roughly a pound of body fat.

Remembering this, riding on an empty stomache is a bad idea because it limits calorie use because...
1. reduced time to fatigue at any intensity.
2. reduced exercise intensity.
3. reduced recovery between sessions.

Factors 1 to 3 result in lower energy expendature in a single session or over a number of days. This is not the situation you want to encourage.

Lasalles advice is good because he is telling you to do a large volume of exercise (hence a large energy expendature) and by eating before and on the ride you will not fatigue.

Cipers advice isn't so correct. At low intensities the energy expendature is also low, at high intensities energy expendature is high. To maximise the energy expendature in any given session go as fast as you can for the whole session; if you exercise for 10 minutes you'll have to go very hard and if you exercise for many hours the intensity you can maintain will be quite low.

I'll correct and re-state my position per his original post. Riding on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is not the optimal way to maximize the conversion of fat into energy. But if you were intent on doing so, I would still recommend a low intensity (65% of your VO2 max.) workout which one would not want to maintain for any length of time. (1/2 ~ 1 hr. tops).


A better approach, as others stated would be to eat something before you go out. (Whole grain toast, bagels, yogurt and maybe a cup of coffee etc).
 

mpr755

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Jan 30, 2004
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I may actually put this into practice as anyway for the occasional morning recovery ride ... if that keeps keeps me from burning lean mass, then it's definately info I can use. :)
 

limerickman

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Jan 5, 2004
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Originally posted by mpr755
I may actually put this into practice as anyway for the occasional morning recovery ride ... if that keeps keeps me from burning lean mass, then it's definately info I can use. :)

The equation to losing weight to is expend more energy than you consume : assuming of course that you want to lose weight.

However, the fact that you train on a relatively empty stomach doesn't mean that you will lose weight because you're expending
energy (food) that isn't there trough eating little or nothing before
your cycle.
It's not advisable to train without having sufficient fuel in the first place and it's recommended that you should eat within two hours
of doing a training session.
You should eat and digest your food before commencing a session.
What you need to do is try to measure your calorie intake on a daily basis - and then you've got to develop a training program whereby you can expend more energy than you consume on a daily basis.
In this controlled way, you will be able to lose weight.
 

Lasalles

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Another bad thing about training on an empty stomach is you burn out faster.Ive done it before and apart from getting the really hungry feeling,i was also lightheaded and felt very flat.
 

limerickman

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Originally posted by Lasalles
Another bad thing about training on an empty stomach is you burn out faster.Ive done it before and apart from getting the really hungry feeling,i was also lightheaded and felt very flat.

your absolutely right about this :
(Like the Mr.T image !)
 

mpr755

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Jan 30, 2004
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Originally posted by limerickman
The equation to losing weight to is expend more energy than you consume ...
In this controlled way, you will be able to lose weight.

Can't argue with that ... are there simple reliable ways to estimate calories burned per session?
 

2LAP

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Feb 22, 2002
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Originally posted by mpr755
Can't argue with that ... are there simple reliable ways to estimate calories burned per session?
Affraid not! There are some other threads specficaly on this topic though. Might be worth you checking them out.
 

ric_stern/RST

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Nov 11, 2002
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Hurstpierpoint
www.cyclecoach.com
Originally posted by mpr755
Can't argue with that ... are there simple reliable ways to estimate calories burned per session?

the only reliable ways to ascertain energy expenditure is either in the lab looking at calorimetry VO2, and/or looking at a power meter (as power x time = workdone)

ric
 

Roadie_scum

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Nov 14, 2003
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Originally posted by 2LAP
Remembering this, riding on an empty stomache is a bad idea because it limits calorie use because...
1. reduced time to fatigue at any intensity.
2. reduced exercise intensity.
3. reduced recovery between sessions.

Factors 1 to 3 result in lower energy expendature in a single session or over a number of days. This is not the situation you want to encourage.

Lasalles advice is good because he is telling you to do a large volume of exercise (hence a large energy expendature) and by eating before and on the ride you will not fatigue.

Cipers advice isn't so correct. At low intensities the energy expendature is also low, at high intensities energy expendature is high. To maximise the energy expendature in any given session go as fast as you can for the whole session; if you exercise for 10 minutes you'll have to go very hard and if you exercise for many hours the intensity you can maintain will be quite low.

Riding on an empty stomach can result in increased lipolysis at certain exercise intensities. This is different to the question of weight loss, but is relevant if you are doing base miles. 2LAP, factors 1-3 apply if you don't eat properly having started, and certainly the reduced intensity would be a concern if intensity was the goal of your session. BUT if you are doing purely aerobic work, it makes sense to not eat in the first hour of exercise, then eat a lot on an ongoing basis to make sure you don't get glycogen deplete. This can actually reduce the risk of glycogen depletion, because you the increased lipolysis means that you end up burning less glycogen for the session, despite not having replenished it in the first hour. Don't worry about any of this stuff though if you're primary goal is weight loss and YOU only have an hour or two a day to train...
 

taras0000

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Sep 12, 2003
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Originally posted by Roadie_scum
Riding on an empty stomach can result in increased lipolysis at certain exercise intensities. This is different to the question of weight loss, but is relevant if you are doing base miles. 2LAP, factors 1-3 apply if you don't eat properly having started, and certainly the reduced intensity would be a concern if intensity was the goal of your session. BUT if you are doing purely aerobic work, it makes sense to not eat in the first hour of exercise, then eat a lot on an ongoing basis to make sure you don't get glycogen deplete. This can actually reduce the risk of glycogen depletion, because you the increased lipolysis means that you end up burning less glycogen for the session, despite not having replenished it in the first hour. Don't worry about any of this stuff though if you're primary goal is weight loss and YOU only have an hour or two a day to train...

This makes sense to me. I've done similar stuff like this before, go out for a 4-5 our ride and not eat the first hour to1.5 hours and then snack every 30 minutes on Fig Newtons. Can keep up a reasonably good endurance pace and not feel light headed or end up bonking, at least I haven;t yet. Just make sure that if you are eating a calorie dense food such as figs, make sure that it's water that you are drinking. I had a carb drink while doing this and i think it was too much for my stomach. I dumped the carb drink and filled with H2O and felt much better.

This also worked for me, 20-30 minutes on rollers upon waking at a reasonably light intensity.
 

2LAP

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Feb 22, 2002
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Originally posted by Roadie_scum
Riding on an empty stomach can result in increased lipolysis at certain exercise intensities. This is different to the question of weight loss, but is relevant if you are doing base miles.
Why would you ever want to increase lipolysis in this way? It will neither help weight loss significantly or alow you to cycle faster. Any change in the rate of lypolysis by riding on an empty stomach is likely to be very small. If you want to increase the rate of lipolysis its far better just to do dome aerobic training than manipulate diet. If you wish to do some quality endurance training then you need to be well fed.
Originally posted by Roadie_scum
2LAP, factors 1-3 apply if you don't eat properly having started, and certainly the reduced intensity would be a concern if intensity was the goal of your session.
Or if you train regularly (i.e. 5 days a week) and therefore struggle to maintain glycogen stores despite correct eating.
Originally posted by Roadie_scum
BUT if you are doing purely aerobic work, it makes sense to not eat in the first hour of exercise, then eat a lot on an ongoing basis to make sure you don't get glycogen deplete.
Tell that to someone riding a 50 or 100 mile TT :) By doing this you will reduce your glycogen levels (perhaps by as much as 50% is your stores were full to start with) and then are fighting a battle by eating to both not have glycogen depletion in that ride and more improtantly to recover glycogen stores by the next day.
Originally posted by Roadie_scum
This can actually reduce the risk of glycogen depletion, because you the increased lipolysis means that you end up burning less glycogen for the session, despite not having replenished it in the first hour.
I'm sure there is no evidence to support this. Given that glycogen stores would be reduced by a huge amount and lipolysis raised by only small amount (if at all); I would argue that you are at greater risk of glycogen depletion.
 

flysolo1

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Nov 18, 2003
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i have lost 160 lbs the secrete is simple people just want to complicate the subject have a balanced diet 70 % carbs, 15 Protein, 15 fat. only drink recovery drinks on rides longer than 2 hrs and watch your mouth cut the calories 500 cal per day for example i weight 197 i take in 2500 cal i lose 2 lbs per week dont freak if you dont lose weight on that week its your body getting use to the diet if you lose more that 2 lbs its too much and if you dont lose in 2 weeks then cut 250 cal more keep the same all week dont cheat if you cheat then it slows your diet to 1 lbs per month i ride 15 hrs a week i only eat on hard days and that is a cliff bar good luck

if your hungry at night go to sleep
 

zaskar

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Aug 3, 2003
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Originally posted by flysolo1
i have lost 160 lbs the secrete is simple people just want to complicate the subject have a balanced diet 70 % carbs, 15 Protein, 15 fat. only drink recovery drinks on rides longer than 2 hrs and watch your mouth cut the calories 500 cal per day for example i weight 197 i take in 2500 cal i lose 2 lbs per week dont freak if you dont lose weight on that week its your body getting use to the diet if you lose more that 2 lbs its too much and if you dont lose in 2 weeks then cut 250 cal more keep the same all week dont cheat if you cheat then it slows your diet to 1 lbs per month i ride 15 hrs a week i only eat on hard days and that is a cliff bar good luck

if your hungry at night go to sleep


What do you mean by if you "cheat" it slows diet 1lb a month?
also you say on days you ride hard you only eat a cliff bar, is that on the bike??? days i ride hard i consume 4 thousand calories and if im still hungry i eat more, i dont go to bed hungry.
 

Roadie_scum

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Nov 14, 2003
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Originally posted by 2LAP
Why would you ever want to increase lipolysis in this way? It will neither help weight loss significantly or alow you to cycle faster. Any change in the rate of lypolysis by riding on an empty stomach is likely to be very small. If you want to increase the rate of lipolysis its far better just to do dome aerobic training than manipulate diet. If you wish to do some quality endurance training then you need to be well fed.


OK, why do you say it is likely to be very small? Plenty nutritional considerations can affect the glyc/lip balance. I agree you need to be well fed to do quality endurance training - that's why I say eat A LOT during your ride. Heaps of people fail to eat enough during training. I've posted heaps on other threads about avoiding glycogen depletion, and I'm not advocating it here. I know you don't accept my thesis here... but think about the reaction of regulatory hormones at rest (insulin/glucodon) to food intake, and their suppression during exercise. There are two reasons to do this kind of training, first (which you've already said you don't agree with) is because it may actually preserve glycogen by lowering the rate of consumption, second is to train lipolytic systems more specifically.


Or if you train regularly (i.e. 5 days a week) and therefore struggle to maintain glycogen stores despite correct eating.

I wouldn't advocate doing this kind of training more than once a week. And I don't advocate glycogen depletion EVER.

Tell that to someone riding a 50 or 100 mile TT :) By doing this you will reduce your glycogen levels (perhaps by as much as 50% is your stores were full to start with) and then are fighting a battle by eating to both not have glycogen depletion in that ride and more improtantly to recover glycogen stores by the next day.

I wasn't advocating TTing on an empty stomach. I'm talking base miles, below lactate threshold (<1mmol/blah blah...) It would be really, really stupid to do a 100mile TT on an empty stomach (actually, I don't think I'd be keen to do one at all but that's another story).

I'm sure there is no evidence to support this. Given that glycogen stores would be reduced by a huge amount and lipolysis raised by only small amount (if at all); I would argue that you are at greater risk of glycogen depletion.

Why do you say glycogen stores are reduced by a huge amount? I'm actually only really advocating doing this sort of training straight out of bed, so you miss breakfast. Unless you're doing a tour, that's what, a third of a cup of oats or other cereal? 100g of carbohydrate at most. You only exercise at mild intensity for one hour before (sorry forgot to mention) consuming a breakfast style amount of food anyway (say 60g carbs), then keep your glycogen topped up by eating for the rest of the ride, and eating properly.
 

Roadie_scum

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Can I just reiterate that I'm not advocating training on an empty stomach for weight loss also. It is exclusively to train lipolytic metabolism specifically for endurance athletes, and it's training that needs to be completed at pretty low intensities.