Skipping breakfast to save calories? The idea seems logical — if you don't have any food in your belly, your body will start using up stores of fat as its energy source. This couldn't be further from the truth, because research conducted by Strength and Conditioning Journal shows that calories burned comes from muscle instead.
Not only are you losing muscle by exercising hungry, but since you have no fuel to work out, you won't have the energy to exercise as long or as intensely as you would if you had eaten. This translates to less overall calories burned. In order to maximize your caloric burn, you want to eat a healthy snack that focuses on carbs rather than protein to offer your body fuel. Simple carbs are best since they digest more easily than complex ones.
An hour before a workout, eat around 45 grams of carbs with a small amount of protein:
- Half a slice of whole wheat bread with one tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
- Some crackers with an ounce of cheese
- Quarter cup of sliced grapes mixed into half a cup of cottage cheese
- Fruit smoothie made with milk or soy milk
- Quarter cup of blueberries mixed with half a cup of yogurt
If you have less time, 15 to 30 minutes before your workout eat about 25 grams of carbs:
- Small banana
- A few crackers
- Handful of raisins