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Before Starting Exercise

before starting exerciseBefore you start any new fitness regime you should arrange to meet with your doctor. If you are fit and healthy you should be fine to get started. However, there are some circumstances when it is highly advisable you see your doctor first.

You should ensure that you are healthy and fit enough to follow the fitness regime and are not putting yourself in any type of danger, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are on medication. Below are some guidelines provided by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. If any of the medical conditions or points affect you, you should categorically see a doctor before starting a new fitness plan:

  • High blood pressure
  • Pains or pressure in the chest, left side of your neck, left arm or left shoulder, esp during or immediately after exercise
  • Episodes of dizziness or faintness
  • Breathlessness after mild exertion
  • Medical condition such as diabetes that may need a little closer attention once you start exercising
  • Heart trouble, heart attack or heart murmur
  • Arthritis
  • You are over the age of 60 and have not been physically active
  • You have family members who suffered with coronary artery (heart) disease before the age of 55
  • You plan a vigorous activity program

None of these things mean that you cannot exercise, but simply that a doctor must check you out first. The doctor will either clear you immediately, jiggle round your meds first, perhaps request some blood tests or suggest you adapt your exercise program to suit your needs.


Unless you are advanced , do not exercise on an empty stomach. Your aim is to lose weight, but do not skip on fueling up before you exercise. Make sure you eat a small snack about 30 minutes before your workout. Also, make sure that your general calorie restriction is reasonable. No very low calorie diets (under 1200 calories). You need to give your body enough energy to allow you to exercise successfully, as well as for your body to recover effectively and to prevent ill health.

Unless you are exercising every day, which isn’t advisable, as your body needs time to rest, heal and recover, you should plan for your calorie intake to vary between the days you exercise and the days you rest. Eat a little more on the days you exercise and less on the days you rest. This will ensure that your body gets the energy it needs to function, while maintaining your calorie restriction (diet).


  1. So since I’ve read here one article reporting it’s a good idea to exercise in the morning (entailing an empty stomach) when your glucose levels are lower, and another that says “don’t do it!”, what are the pros and cons of each so I can mindfully decide which one is “right” for me. What are potential consequences of empty-stomach exercising? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Kristen, I think I know to which article you’re referring. That article wasn’t meant to encourage exercising before or after breakfast one way or another, but to simply lay out the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Like I said in the first paragraph of article, it doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you do and do when it feels best for you to do it (that’s a lot of do’s :-) ) For most of us, it is probably best to have something to eat before working out, as it allows us to exercise harder and longer and burn a lot more calories than if we’d exercised on an empty stomach. However, some people don’t have time to eat before working out in the morning without risking an upset stomach, while others believe they’ll burn more fat. The jury’s out on whether or not exercising before breakfast burns more fat, but one thing’s for certain, if it is true, burning more fat isn’t going to help if you are hungry and weak and are unable to workout at a higher intensity. Thus, it’s best left to the pro’s/ advanced exercisers who are very aware of their body’s limitations and boast immense levels of fitness. What’s more, some experts believe that you don’t actually burn more fat, but burn up muscle! Also, exercising when you’re hungry means you’re more likely to feel lightheaded, which is obviously no good thing during exercise – in fact it’s dangerous! Which is why it’s best to veer on the side of caution and have at least a light snack or a protein smoothie before you head out the door! Hope this answered your question?!

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