Does Fasting Help Burn Fat?


There is a circulating theory that exercising in a fasted state (empty stomach) will cause the body to burn more fat than in a fed state (eating at least 3 hours before exercise).  This theory is very attractive to people wanting to lose weight, burn fat, and tone up.  However, multiple studies show this approach to be counterproductive to losing fat and building muscle.  In fact, most studies do not a find a difference in fat loss between fed and fasted state groups.

What to Eat Before a Workout:

2-3 hours prior to exercise eat a easily digestible meal

  • Oatmeal/Cereal
  • Banana and Peanut Butter with Hard Boiled Egg
  • Cereal
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • 1 serving of Yogurt with Granola

OR Within 1 hour prior to working out eat an easily digestible snack no more than 150 calories

  • Gatorade
  • ½ of a Clif Bar
  • Kind Bar
  • Banana
  • Nutrigrain Bar

The Benefits of Exercising in a Fed State include:

  • Helps the body reach a higher level of intensity during workouts
  • Higher intensity exercise burns more calories during and after exercise
  • Prevents metabolism of protein from muscle (which we are trying to gain)
  • In addition to post exercise protein consumption, it decreases muscle soreness and overall fatigue.


Wondering how carbohydrates work into healthy eating? Click to download our Carb FAQ Sheet!