Yesterday morning I committed one of my cardinal sins – working out on a completely empty stomach! I knew this as I headed out the door for my interval run, but rationalized it by saying I had a late dinner + a snack afterward the night before. Still, that was more than 9 hours prior, which is technically a fasted state. Exercising when the body is in a fasted state is no bueno. Here’s why.
When you wake up in the morning
feelin’ like P Diddy, the body is typically in a fasted state (providing you didn’t wake up at 4:00 a.m. for a snack.) Adding exercise to the equation stimulates the body’s inner furnace, and without eating a pre-workout snack, it won’t have any fuel to convert to energy.
Even if you wake up with no appetite, or your appetite disappears when you start working out, you still need to eat something. Without consuming something beforehand, the body has to turn to glucose and fatty acids from the blood and then breaks down muscle protein for energy to get through the workout. I know I don’t want to break down the muscle I worked so hard on building during the previous day’s strength workout!
Moreover, by tapping these energy stores, we’re more likely to feel famished and binge later on throughout the day. And if saving calories is your concern, consider this: evidence supports that eating breakfast before working out actually leads to a higher calorie burn during your workout!
The International Journal of Sport and Nutrition Metabolism conducted a recent study that measured a group of men who performed a 35 minute treadmill workout both after eating breakfast and without eating breakfast. The group who ate breakfast beforehand showed a significantly higher calorie and fat burn post-workout than those who didn’t break the nighttime fast, due to an enhanced utilization of fat during the workout. Yikes! I don’t think I’ll neglect breakfast anytime soon
Knowing this, the next logical question is probably, “what should I have for breakfast before working out??” Something is always better than nothing, so while not optimal, something as little as fruit juice or a donut is better than skipping altogether. However, good choices include a meal that has carbs and fiber, such as from a piece of fruit, as well as a low-fat protein source, such as yogurt or milk. That said, what works best for me is either a banana and a little bit of PB before cardio, and the same or a protein shake before lifting.
On that note…breakast!
I woke up at 5 this morning to train an early client, and because I needed something, I had half a banana with a tsp of sunflower butter. Now I’m eating some full fat Fage greek yogurt, blueberries, and a drizzle of honey. This has got to me one of my favorite breakfasts. simple and delicious