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To Eat or Not to Eat?

Researchers:  Skip Pre-Workout Meal, Increase Fat Loss

Why you may be better off postponing your meal until after you've exercised.

There are plenty of opinions out there regarding the benefits and detriments of eating immediately prior to working out.  Advocates say that food provides the fuel an athlete needs to perform at his or her best.  But detractors say that pre-workout meals prevent the body from burning off stored fat, thus reducing the benefits exercise has in helping people lose weight.

Both arguments have their validity, which is why you need to consider what your goals are before deciding on whether or not to chow down prior to working out.  If your goal is to maximize performance—to leg out that extra mile, or to bench that extra rep—then eating is the way to go.  Fat and carbohydrates provide the muscles with the fuel they need to perform rigorous tasks.

But if the purpose of your exercise program is to lose weight, you may be better off skipping out on that pre-workout shake.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  Uh, duh Frank – if you want to lose weight, then of course you have to consume less than you’re burning!  But there’s a plethora of data out there suggesting that skipping meals is a bad way to try and lose weight.  Skipping meals slows down the body’s metabolic rate and it also encourages us to eat more later in the day because we’re feeling famished.  In fact, some studies suggest the best way to lose weight is to eat more.

But researchers from the University of Birmingham say that skipping the pre-workout meal “tricks” the body into tapping into fat stores for fuel.

They discovered this after following 14 people who either ate prior to working out or did not eat prior to working out.  For those that did eat, they waited one hour before mounting their bicycles.  Both groups used bicycling as their modes of exercise for the experiment.

At the end of one week, the researchers found that the pre-workout eaters outperformed those that didn’t eat prior to working out (i.e. they didn’t travel as many miles), but the fasting group wound up burning off more fat.

The study is published in the journal American College of Sports Medicine.

Now, does this mean that everyone should skip out on eating prior to working out?  Of course not.  Many people simply can’t exercise on an empty stomach without feeling dizzy.  If this is the case, then by all means, EAT!

Others are able to eat prior to working out and can lose weight just fine.  In fact they’ve tried fasting before exercising, but it left them feeling listless and lethargic, severely hampering their exercise efforts.

For everyone else, though, skipping your pre-workout meal may lead to big gains—or should I say “losses”—in your weight loss endeavors.

Source:
newsmaxhealth.com

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