Weight Training on an Empty Stomach, Study Finds

strength training on empty stomach

In 2014, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a large randomized study on the effect of breakfast on the general metabolic processes in the body. In other words, the aim of the study was to find out how does weight training on an empty stomach influences our health.

Weight training on an empty stomach and health

The total energy consumption of our body is conditionally composed of three main components: basic metabolism, regular thermogenesis (there is also food thermogenesis), and energy consumption for physical and intellectual activity.

As a result of this study, conclusions were drawn:

  • Regular breakfast leads to a significant increase in total energy expenditure through an increase in energy expenditure on thermogenesis and physical activity. This is explained by the fact that breakfast can affect spontaneous behavior in structured physical activity.
  • A higher blood sugar level (blood glucose concentration of 7.6 +/- 1.2 mmol/liter compared with the fasting group of 6.5 +/- 1.0 mmol/liter) gives the body a signal for active energy expenditure. It is noted that over time there is no metabolic adaptation to breakfast.
  • This study clearly shows that the correlation between eating breakfast and total daily energy consumption does exist. The average daily energy consumption at breakfast is, on average, 539 kcal/day more than without it.

Regular breakfast significantly increases the body’s total energy expenditure over the next 24 hours

weight training on empty stomach

Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research stated that the placebo group had higher levels of cortisol, myoglobin, and creatine phosphokinase after exercise compared with those who consumed protein or carbohydrate mixtures before exercise.

High blood levels of myoglobin and creatine phosphokinase most often indicate muscle damage. In severe cases, this can lead to a condition known as acute skeletal muscle necrosis, which in turn can lead to acute renal failure.

Eating some protein and carbohydrates before exercise can reduce the amount of muscle damage caused by intense exercise

In 2005, again, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study on the effect of breakfast or lack of breakfast on the overall balance of energy, insulin, and lipid concentration in healthy women.

In women performing training on an empty stomach (without breakfast), there was a deterioration in postprandial (two hours after eating) insulin sensitivity. That is, the area of ​​the curve of the insulin response to the test meal, in women having breakfast before training, was significantly lower than in women who had strength training on an empty stomach. The level of cholesterol in the fasting group was also significantly increased.

Insulin sensitivity is very important for the proper absorption of nutrients, and impaired insulin secretion in the long term is a risk factor for the development of a number of serious diseases, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Study finds about weight training on an empty stomach

training on empty stomach

Regular exercise on an empty stomach can provoke the occurrence of insulin resistance and, as a result, become a risk of developing some chronic diseases.

And of course, playing sports on an empty stomach, and even more so doing high-intensity workouts with a low glucose level in the blood, firstly, will not allow you to perform this workout as efficiently as possible, and accordingly, such a workout will not be developmental; Moreover, fasting can provoke an increase in the number of muscle injuries; secondly, training on an empty stomach can cause a rapid drop in blood glucose levels much lower than usual and provoke a dangerous state of hypoglycemia.

It is best to take easily digestible food (for 30-60 minutes) or drink a protein (preferably) or carbohydrate shake (for 15-30 minutes) before playing sports, which will allow you not only to increase the effectiveness of the exercise but also to maintain health.


  1. The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults
  2. Timing protein intake increases energy expenditure 24 h after resistance training
  3. The effect of a carbohydrate and protein supplement on resistance exercise performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage

Additionally, see what are the benefits and drawbacks of the empty stomach cardio.

What is more, find out whether it is good for health to take pre-workout complex.