Should You Be Eating Before Going to the Gym?

Looking to lose fat more efficiently? Skip eating before exercise.


Oatmeal and yogurt are low calorie foods, but according to new research, eating before exercise blunts adipose tissue fat loss. It’s as simple as that. Exercise initiates a number of other responses in adipose tissue, such as increased blood flow and altered expression of various adipokines within abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. However, these physiological changes are altered in the presence of food. Researchers had volunteers walk for 60 minutes at 60 percent maximum oxygen consumption on an empty stomach. They also had volunteers walk two hours after consuming a high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich breakfast. The carbohydrate meal held an average of 648 calories per meal. The researchers also collected adipose tissue samples immediately before, and one hour after walking.


The researchers found that eating before exercise altered genes for fat metabolism. As anticipated, eating before exercise increased relative carbohydrate utilization and decreased fat oxidation during exercise. The expression of two genes, PDK4 and HSL, increased when the men fasted and exercised, and decreased when eating before exercise. The rise in PDK4 after eating likely indicates that stored fat was used to fuel metabolism during exercise, instead of carbohydrates from the recent meal. HSL typically increases when adipose tissue uses stored energy to support increased activity, such as during exercise. It shows that prior feeding increased relative carbohydrate utilization and decreased fat oxidation during exercise.


This study suggests that if you are looking to lose weight, exercise in a fasted state may be beneficial. The genes for fat metabolism were blunted during exercise when food was consumed, as opposed to exercise in a fasted state. One of the supplements that VPX recommends is taking either ThermIQ or Redline Microburst thermogenics on an empty stomach before exercise.


Yung-Chih Chen, Rebecca L. Travers, Jean-Philippe Walhin, Javier T. Gonzalez, Francoise Koumanov, James A. Betts, Dylan Thompson.
FEEDING INFLUENCES ADIPOSE TISSUE RESPONSES TO EXERCISE IN OVERWEIGHT MEN. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology And Metabolism, 2017; ajpendo.00006.2017
Thompson D, Karpe F, Lafontan M, and Frayn K. Physical activity and exercise in the regulation of human adipose tissue physiology. Physiological reviews 92: 157-191, 2012.