This is a question we get asked quite often, usually by people who do not normally need to eat before a normal gym or cardio workout.
Now it is important to understand, that when I entered the industry in 2003 no recommendations or thought had been given to this topic at all. Do you eat before, after, will it make you throw up, do you get "the stitch" etc...? All logical questions that for anyone experienced in exercise would want some guidelines on.
Note: The academic research and literature did not even breach the subject, and the marketers did not care, so it was going to be up to those working within the industry to set some recommendations and standards set.
How was this done ....?
When I first tested the Safety Program on a cross section of personal trainers, amateur athletes and beauty therapists at the worlds first Vibration Training studio in New Zealand.
One of the tests we did was "empty stomach" and "full stomach" workouts. Simply recording the fatigue points ( at what time and place in the program they actually failed ) and matching those up with perceived exertion questions ( how the person feels ) quite quickly an overall pattern started to emerge for everyone.
(1) Empty stomach ......... Feeling weak by 4th pose. Sometimes light headedness ( usually in the lighter girls ) 9th pose ( Super Squat ) loss of control and poor form. And just a general feeling of tiredness and loss of focus afterwards.
(2) Full stomach ....... Feeling good and powerful , with most not showing signs of fatigue until the second minute Super Squat. A marked difference in mood, uplifted and happy. Feeling very mentally foucused.
Throwing up ..... Now this was something we just had to try, how full is too full ? So we did the only thing logical. We went across the road to Burger King, had as much to eat as we could and then went straight over for a workout.
The results were unexpected. No-one felt ill, in fact quite the opposite. We rocked out our workouts and still wanted to add extra poses at the end.
The dreaded "stitch" ......... This is the side pain usually associated with eating and then exercising ( usually running ) It is debilitating in some people and can take the fun right out of exercise, and bring it to a shuddering halt. Not during the original tests or since has someone ever complained of getting the stitch.
Why such a big difference in results, when they could normally work out with no problems......
I think the biggest problem with people getting their heads around this one, is completely under-estimating how much work is carried out by the body in Vibration Training.
(1) You are recruiting 100% of your muscles cells as opposed to approx 30% at the gym or running. Every single contraction is over a 300% increase in normal muscle usage.
(2) You are contracting your muscles at a rate of approx 2500 a minute. In the push-up pose that is like catching a medicine ball 40 times a second. You are moving faster than a humming birds flaps its wings
(3) On any decent platform you are ( for split seconds ) taking the load of 6 x your own body weight ( in the squat pose ). You could not even imagine lifting that at the gym, where you only get to use 30% of what muscle you really have.
(4) You are not in control. In other words, at the gym or out running if you get tired you automatically self regulate and slow down. With involuntary reflexes they just keep on going, and going and going. Reaching what they call "super fatigue" in each minute.
Please note: Even though the above seems extreme, your body is designed to do it. The ability is built into every cell. You do not have to be an athlete to do Vibration Training, just alive.
Now try thinking about where all the energy comes from to do that. Well in the first 3 minutes you will use up your instant energy stores ( Note : These normally take over 20 minutes hard slog at the gym to go through ). Fat can not be accessed that fast ( instead Vibration Training burns fat for 2 days after you get off the machine ).
It has to come from food. If you have none, you will crash and burn.
What's the worst that can happen...?
(1) Hyperglycemia ..... Blood sugar drops too quickly and quite simply you may faint. Now just in case people think I am being dramatic, this has happened right in front of me, and on every occasion the person admitted they had "forgotten" to eat. And all have been females that normally eat like sparrows anyway.
Important note: In 15 mins they feel fine again. But why risk it.
(2) Losing form...... All pressure, speed and precise angles have been accounted for, so you can safely use Vibration Training for the rest of your life, with none of the wear and tear normal exercise creates on your joints. Correct joint angles also create the most tension in the muscles, which in turn burns more fat.
(3) Finish feeling very tired ........ The body needs energy to complete the workout cycle, which in turn produces all those happy hormones. If you have to stop half way through, all you get is the pain, with none of the hormonal rewards.
(4) Not being able to finish the basic program let alone add extra poses to get faster results........ Ok this one is not so important. But really why would you take the time to do something as efficient as Vibration Training, pay for it, and then fail to even do the minimum requirement to get results. Basically doing a warm up and then being forced to stop.
Think about this, if you crash and burn and fail to complete the last 2 squats. You are taking 5000 movements out of your program. The very end of your workout where all the really good stuff happens.
So remember ......... The best machine in the world can basically be made useless or even dangerous if used incorrectly. Getting weak and losing form simply because you didn't eat is not the smart thing to do. Give yourself the chance to get the best results, and eat a small meal before your workout.
If you are a trainer make sure all your customers are aware of this rule, and are reminded regularly.