top of page

Should you work out on a full or empty stomach?

JAN 27, 2023

Minute 1: It could be the best time to buy a bike in years

Back in the depths of the pandemic, the supply chain for bicycles was stretched longer than George Santos’ resume. When gyms and offices shut down, millions of people rediscovered cycling and cleared out the inventory of bike manufacturers. While bike shop cash registers were ringing, bike production braked suddenly as parts from overseas were no longer available. That drove up prices and profits. Fast forward a few years, however, and now the bike industry has too much inventory, according to this new story: “Bike prices will fall in 2023 due to excess stock, but not across the board.” Proving that hope is not a sound business strategy, manufacturers learned (like Peloton) that consumer demand would change quickly once everyone was let out of their homes again. Now, lots of companies are overstocked and have turned to price reductions to keep sales flowing. In other words, if you’re looking to get into cycling, 2023 could be the year to do it. We’re already seeing some price dips in action, with sales from some big brands: “Trek and Specialized MTB Gear on Sale Right Now.” Bikes are just the start of what you can pick up, but there are also deals on helmets, cycling pants, and more. While we’re on the topic of deal hunting, check out this advice on “How to Buy a Used Bike: A Complete Guide.” It will tell you where to search, what questions to ask the seller, and areas that commonly show signs of wear. Non sequitur alert: We can’t resist sharing this video we stumbled across while researching this minute: “The Wildest Mountain Bike Shot I Have Captured.”


Minute 2: Should you work out on a full or empty stomach?

There are two big questions every runner should consider: What and when should I eat? (OK, actually there are three important questions, if you include: How long is too long to wear your marathon finisher medal?) Your answer to the nutrition question can have a big impact on both your performance and recovery, but there are a few competing theories on what works best. One school of thought is described in this new story: “Stop Working Out on an Empty Stomach. You're Missing Out on Big Muscle Gains.” Our bodies typically use glycogen and carbohydrates as their main source of energy, so it’s generally a good idea to ingest carbs in the leadup to a race or workout. That’s especially true if you plan on going for more than 90 minutes, when your glycogen storage begins to deplete significantly. Some research has suggested that eating before a workout results in a greater number of calories burned, meaning that fasted cardio isn’t the only option for those looking to lose weight. For more on that, check out: “5 Pros and Cons Of Fasted Cardio: Exercising On An Empty Stomach.” By neglecting to take in carbs, your body will rely on burning energy stored as body fat instead. Some athletes find that fasted exercise reduces GI distress as well. However, in the long term, fasted cardio doesn’t seem to offer significant fat burning benefits compared to fueled exercise. Working out on an empty stomach can also reduce your ability to build muscle, and that’s why eating protein before and after exercise is so beneficial. Check out “How Long to Wait After Eating to Run?” for some more useful rules of thumb. It’s often been said that ultra marathons are eating competitions with some running mixed in, so it makes sense to see how those athletes deal with fueling: “Ultramarathon Nutrition Guide: What To Eat Before, During, After An Ultra.”


Minute 3: Pasta, olive oil and bread for runners

When it comes to cooking oils, there’s a lot of slippery messaging. Some say they’re too high in fat, or refined in an unhealthy way. That’s true in some cases, but not all oil is alike, and you can find out which kinds to avoid in the “8 Healthiest Cooking Oils: The Definitive Ranking (And Which Ones To Skip).” All oil contains fat, but research suggests that the ones high in mono and polyunsaturated fats are best, given that they help reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol, and support cardiovascular health. Additionally, look for oils marked “unrefined” or “naturally refined,” since they’ll retain higher levels of phytochemicals and nutrients. With all that in mind, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil are some of the most recommended options. Lots of runners swear by a combination of pasta with olive oil to give them all the carbs and fat they need to perform. If you are looking for the tastiest topping for your training table spaghetti dinner, the Washington Post just did a comprehensive taste test that has our mouth watering: “We tested 12 supermarket marinara sauces. Only one was a clear winner.” Spoiler alert: Rao’s Homemade Marinara took the win, with Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce close behind at a much lower price. When we are cooking Italian at home, we can’t resist some crusty sourdough bread dipped in olive oil. As it turns out, it’s actually a reasonably healthy combination: “Bread and olive oil: five reasons to have it every day.”


Minute 4: Shoe Review: Brooks Hyperion Max ($170)

Too often we read running shoe reviews and get the feeling that it was just a chance for the author to carpet bomb your ego with their humble brags like: “These shoes held up just fine on back-to-back days of 20-milers at 5K pace.” Today our favorite shoe expert, Brian Metzler, humbly explores the much more realistic challenge of finding the right shoe when you’re re-engaging after a long lay-off. Brian finds that the new Brooks Hyperion Max is the perfect shoe when we need to bounce back from injury or sloth. The highlights are below, but you should also check out the full review on our website.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of a light and fast performance trainer under your feet when you’re getting in peak shape for a goal race. But it’s also true when you’re just starting to run after a long break and you’re decidedly out of shape. That was me in December when I started running in the new Brooks Hyperion Max, an energetic training shoe with a hyper-responsive midsole. As part of my effort to regain my running fitness, I set out to run 30 days in a row – a modest but surprisingly difficult thing to do. I ran in the Hyperion Max often (when I was able to run on dry roads and bike paths in otherwise wintry Colorado) en route to reaching that goal and I have to give the shoe some of the credit. When I laced it up, I forced myself to run slightly faster paces than I was ready to do, and it made me feel fitter and faster than I actually was. Ultimately, that helped me to log a lot of miles that otherwise would have felt pretty bad and moved the needle on my fitness forward. Now that my streak is at 50 days and counting, I’ve started using the Hyperion Max for its intended purpose — running up-tempo workouts and faster long runs, and I love it even more!

What’s New: While this is a brand-new shoe from Brooks, it’s essentially a modified version of the high-end Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 long-distance racing shoe without a carbon-fiber propulsion plate. It has a similar midsole made from nitrogen-infused, lightweight DNA FLASH cushioning that returns energy (thanks in part to a rockered shape) and adapts to your stride. It also has a similar lightweight, supportive and breathable upper with the same heel-toe offset and similar weights.

Why It’s Great: It’s great because it has all the bells and whistles of a top-tier racing shoe, except for the carbon-fiber plate and lofty price tag. While plated shoes are a smart choice for race day, there are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t be wearing them very often in training. The extremely light Hyperion Max is comfortable and cushy enough to wear for long runs and quick and agile enough for tempo runs, long intervals, fartleks and progressive long runs in which you drop your pace as the miles go by.

For the complete rundown on the new Brooks Hyperion Max, check out Brian’s full review here.


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • So while Brian Metzler provides the science behind new running shoes, our friend Dara Zall Kelly delivers some funny real-world analysis. As you may recall, Dara recovered from an injury and is now training for the Boston Marathon. Astute SMM readers will also remember that Brian Metzler recently helped Dara select a new pair of Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 shoes for training. Dara hoped they would bring her more speed, and remarkably, they made a big difference on her first long run. Even Dara’s teenaged son was impressed … sorta. For all of the details (including a few downsides of her faster pace), you can get the full (funny) story by clicking here.

  • Recently in Minute 6 of this issue, we caught up with Erchana Murray-Bartlett, a runner from Australia doing a marathon every day to raise money for endangered animals. We’re happy to report the journey was a success on all fronts, raising $128,000 AUS and smashing the world record for most consecutive marathons. 150 is the astonishing number she hit, and for a look into the lessons she learned along the way, check out: “Aussie runner smashes world record by running 150 consecutive marathons.”

  • Speaking of world class marathoners, have you heard of Callum Hawkins? He’s competed at the highest levels of long distance running for a while now, setting a personal record of 2:08 in the marathon back in 2019. Even if you don’t think you can come within an hour or two of his time, Callum has some practical advice that can help all of us: “I’m a 2:08 marathon runner — here’s 5 essential running tips.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Legendary Formula 1 driver Ayerton Senna once said that the day you no longer try to pass through a gap that exists is the day you’re no longer a racer. He was referring to motorsports, but the same can be said for runners too. There’s nothing quite like watching track stars barrel down the final straight in a tight pack, only for one to squeeze ahead, break away, and seize the victory. Benjamin Robert did just that, proving the racing spirit is alive and well in him, and inspiring all of us in the process. Watch his phenomenal performance to get fired up for your own race and seize those gaps.

bottom of page