You can't drive a car without gas, so why expect something different from your body? The trouble with this theory is that the large muscles that power you through your cardio exercise rely heavily on a combination of carbs and fats for energy. When you run or bike on an empty stomach, your body will turn to the carb and fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle stores, not to the fat in your fat cells to energize your workout, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University. This strategy could completely backfire, she adds, as you may become hyperglycemic and low on hydration, which can cause you to cut back on the intensity or stop before you've put in the 40 to 50 minutes research has shown is necessary for your body to burn fat.
Skip the pre-gym fast and show up ready rock (and torch major calories) by fueling up about 90 minutes before your workout. Olson suggests something light and easy to digest, such as a small piece of fruit and half a cup of low-fat yogurt sprinkled with a couple of tablespoons of granola, or try one of these pre-workout snacks. And be sure to wash it down with one or two full glasses of water.
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exhausted woman on treadmill
8 Cardio Myths That Are Making You Fat