If I perform cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach–will doing so result in greater fat loss?

This is another popular myth that needs to be discussed! Performing cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach for the purpose of burning more fat, is in fact, an empty promise!

Asian healthy girl with dumbbell and salad isolated on white background

The truth: It is VERY important to eat a small, approximately 100-calorie snack, about an hour before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout! A combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat is acceptable. The issue here is really one of “carbohydrate burning” versus “fat burning.” Experts across the world, while acknowledging that intensity of effort (how hard you workout) is the determining factor with regard to how much fat or carbohydrate will be burned per single calorie—agree that the overlying factor that contributes to greatest weight or fat loss, is total calories used or burned.

A sporty woman is standing in her kitchen, making a smoothie with fresh, seasonal fruits, nuts, and oats, to complete her healthy start to the morning.

The take away message here is…. from a fat loss standpoint it is not important to differentiate what types of energy sources–fat or carbohydrate—are being burned (utilized). Period.


Be sure to check out all of our blogs and bi-weekly posts. You’ll always find my favorite progressions, drills, coaching philosophy and trending topics at COREFX.ca

Douglas Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist, Director of Education for COREFX, is a former-Ironman® triathlete and currently directs Athlete Conditioning for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy where he works with elite junior and professional athletes. Douglas was inducted into the U.S. National Fitness Hall of Fame and has been honored by Can-Fit-Pro as the International Presenter of the Year. Coach Brooks is the author of numerous training books, and most recently, was the recipient of the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award.


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