"You should exercise before breakfast."
In the early 2000s, a theory emerged. This theory was that that performing aerobic exercise before breakfast, while the stomach is empty, will maximize fat loss. It’s an attractive idea, because anything that helps us burn more fat while putting in the same amount of work is great, right?
Except that this particular theory doesn’t quite pan out in real life, and can actually impede your weight-loss efforts.
When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body does break down fat at a faster rate, but it’s broken down so quickly that your body can’t use it. It floats around in your bloodstream, and after you work out, guess what? It’s reabsorbed.
But while exercising before eating may not have any effect on overall fat loss, it does affect your performance. Without a pre-workout meal, you’ll find yourself quickly tiring, limiting the number of calories you can burn.
Exercising without food also causes your body to break down your own muscle tissue for fuel—more than double what would be broken down had you eaten.
No matter what, sacrificing performance and hard-won muscle for the sake of a mythical shortcut is never a good idea. Grab a protein shake that has a few carbs before you go for your morning run, and your gains will be all the better.