Should women train on an empty stomach?

June 13, 2024

Written By Cathy Prowse

The short answer to this question is no. I am talking to us girls.

Now there is this thing called kisspeptin, which is like the hormone producer. In women, it’s set up in two zones because of our menstrual cycle. When we exercise on an empty stomach, it messes with kisspeptin, which then messes with how estrogen and progesterone are released. Guys, with only one zone of kisspeptin, don’t get affected. 

If you’re going through menopause or already dealing with hormone rollercoasters, exercising without eating can just throw things into more chaos. And let’s be real, nobody wants more chaos when it comes to hormones. According to Dr. Stacy Sims, who is a New Zealand based exercise physiologist, there is also the energy factor: Skipping breakfast and hitting the treadmill might make you feel all dizzy or shaky because your blood sugar levels drop. Plus, your body might start hoarding fat instead of burning it for fuel, which is not what we’re aiming for at the gym.

Depending what workout, you plan to do can also impact on how much fuel you need. If you are doing strength training you should eat 15g of protein before the workout so a suggestion could be fortified cold brews with some added protein, such as a whey or pea-based protein powder, which can make the cold brew a more substantial snack or meal replacement option.  If it’s a cardio based workout you should aim to consume 80-100 calories of food including protein and a carbohydrate. 

So, bottom line: guys might get away with it, but for us ladies, it’s better to grab a bite before hitting the gym. This does not mean a huge breakfast, a fortified cold brew with almond milk is all that is required. Balancing out those hormones and keeping our energy levels steady is key for smashing those workouts and feeling awesome.


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