Does Running Before Breakfast Burn Fat

Running is a popular form of exercise that many individuals turn to in order to burn fat and improve their overall fitness. One common question that often arises is whether running before breakfast can actually help burn more fat. In this article, I will explore the concept of running before breakfast and its potential impact on fat burning.

The Theory Behind Running Before Breakfast

The idea behind running before breakfast is rooted in the concept of fasting cardio. Fasting cardio refers to performing aerobic exercise on an empty stomach, typically after an overnight fast. The theory is that when your body is in a fasted state, it has depleted its glycogen stores and relies more on fat as a fuel source during exercise.

Proponents of running before breakfast argue that by tapping into fat stores for energy, you can increase fat burning and potentially achieve greater weight loss. This theory has gained popularity in recent years, with some individuals advocating for fasted cardio as a means to optimize fat loss.

The Research: Does Running Before Breakfast Burn Fat?

While the theory behind running before breakfast seems logical, the scientific evidence on its efficacy for fat burning is somewhat mixed. Some studies have suggested that exercising in a fasted state may indeed lead to increased fat utilization during exercise. For example, a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that fat oxidation was higher after an overnight fast compared to exercising after breakfast.

However, it’s important to note that other research has shown conflicting results. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found no significant difference in fat burning between individuals who exercised in a fasted state and those who ate before exercise. Similarly, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that pre-exercise fasting does not enhance fat burning during exercise.

Considerations and Caveats

While the research on running before breakfast is inconclusive, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Individual Variability: Everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some individuals may find that running before breakfast helps them burn fat, while others may not experience the same benefits.
  2. Energy Availability: Running on an empty stomach may affect your energy levels and performance. If you feel weak or lightheaded during your run, it’s essential to listen to your body and refuel if needed.
  3. Overall Caloric Intake: The key to fat loss ultimately comes down to creating a calorie deficit. Running before breakfast may only provide a marginal increase in fat burning if your overall caloric intake remains unchanged.


So, does running before breakfast burn fat? While the theory behind fasted cardio appears plausible, the scientific evidence on its effectiveness for fat burning is inconclusive. It’s important to remember that achieving fat loss requires a comprehensive approach that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and creating a calorie deficit. Ultimately, the best approach to fat burning is the one that aligns with your individual goals, preferences, and overall lifestyle.