Yes, but you might not be able to work out as hard as you would if you'd eaten first.
Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada asked two groups of people to hit the treadmill in the morning until they'd burned 400 calories. The joggers who skipped breakfast burned 58% more fat than those who had eaten a meal before their run. But pre-workout fasting won't necessarily translate into weight loss. "People incorrectly assume that if you're using fat for fuel, it equates to losing body fat," says Nancy Clark, R.D., a sports nutritionist in West Newton, Massachusetts. "But what affects weight loss most is how many calories you've depleted during your workout and if you've sustained a deficit by the day's end."
It may sound counterintuitive but having a 150 to 200 calorie snack at least 30 minutes before your sweat session could help you get slimmer in the long run. A study from Pennsylvania State University found that women who had a mini-meal before their workout were able to exercise up to 16 % longer than those who drank only water beforehand. Plus, says Clark, women who exercise on empty stomachs become so ravenous after they finish that they often end up making poor food choices. Eating a banana or a granola bar before lacing up your shoes can give you the energy you need to crank up the intensity.
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