I know this is something that gets mentioned a lot. Exercise on an empty stomach. But… does anyone explain properly why and what an empty stomach even means?
This short post should explain at least some.
To start with, your stomach needs to be empty so that you don’t make yourself feel sick. Believe me, I’ve made the mistake of having forgotten the time and then I felt queasy after doing a bit of yoga. And while the idea of the “empty stomach” does need to be tailored to every person’s lifestyle, not doing stuff right after you’ve eaten, especially a big meal, and especially if your stomach is sensitive is a good idea.
The food that we eat, depending on what it is, how slow our digestion works (which in turn often has to do with how active we are) and how much we just had, takes many hours to go through our system. The best way to learn about what is good for us personally is to figure it out by, sadly, some trial and error.
If you know yourself to be very sensitive, and feel that heavy, uncomfortable feeling if you have to walk somewhere fast even after having something as trivial and non-existent as a power bar, then you need to figure out if you’re sensitive to specific foods (like honey, which can trigger some people’s acid attacks) or if you’re just a light eater.
Whatever the reason, if this is you, then please, please do not go and do an hour of yoga or aerobics or what not after you have just eaten. Normally, two to three hours after a reasonably big meal (so more than just a nibble, whatever that means for you personally) is OK for most martial arts and most other types of exercising. Yoga demands three to four hours instead, for a good reason (what with all the stretching and bending and lying on your tummy)… but all in all, I find that learning whether you still feel too full is the best way to go.
And it works. Not only do you learn to understand your body better, you also learn not to just stuff food into you (which is another reason for feeling heavy). If you learn to figure out what you need, and when, and in quantities that are you specific, then you’re already more than half-way to a healthier, happier body and life.