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Fact or Fiction: Not Eating Breakfast Before Exercise

I think it is safe to say that we all want the most out of our morning workouts. For many of us that means firing up our metabolism and burning fat, which are two benefits of getting the heart rate up. Is it beneficial to run on an empty stomach? Does it burn more fat and fire up the metabolism to skip breakfast? Take this one question quiz to see if this is a piece of fiction or a fitness fact.

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Fact or Fiction: Not Eating Breakfast Before Exercise

T/F: Running, or doing any form of cardio, on an empty stomach will burn more fat and fire up the metabolism.

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kiwishe kiwishe 8 years
I totally think this is incorrect. Working out, especially running, after eating will give one a massive stomach ache.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
can't work out with food in my stomach so early in morning. makes me so nauseous. learned that lesson well in college water polo. morning workouts were at 6 am and even if i ate more than 1/2 hour before gym i still was running to a garbage can or toliet. but how about eating directly after? my spin instructor says to eat within a 1/2 hour of workout because it supposedly gets burned up immediately. . . this true?
Mmmarshmallow Mmmarshmallow 8 years
I get up at 5am as it is, getting up even earlier to prepare food is nightmarish on the sleep! However, my afternoon workouts are always more intense, since I am better fuelled - I just make sure that my morning workouts aren't frenetic cardio and are either a light cycle, Body Pump, or a session with my trainer. (let someone else deal with all of the brain power!)
GrapeBubbleGum GrapeBubbleGum 8 years
I need food. I eat a big ol' bowl of oatmeal with a piece of fruit about an hour before exercise. It's a complete breakfast. I can't exercise within HOURS of eating my other meals or I'll get cramps though. It's very strange.
nopenope nopenope 8 years
I cannot exercise on an empty stomach -- that is, unless I want to pass out during or afterwords because of low blood sugar. I'm little (5'4, 115lbs) and get hypoglycemic incredibly easy if I don't have enough food in me (at any time). I even end up snacking a bit while working out sometimes since I go through food so quickly. My boyfriend can't exercise within 30-40 minutes of eating as he feels sick from it if he does. He usually ends up eating after early morning workouts, otherwise we wait until after he eats if we're working out together.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I try to have SOMETHING, maybe a piece of fruit or something.
tulipsaki tulipsaki 8 years
I totally disagree with this. I lose so much more fat and drop dress sizes faster when I do cardio on an empty stomach than after eating something. At most, keep it carb-free so the body goes straight into burning fat for energy.
NLM1212 NLM1212 8 years
Scottdavis, well said. There is so much conflicting information about calories, work outs, etc, I don't feel like there are any concrete truths to alot of this stuff, and it that is what works for you, more power to you!
scottdavis0676 scottdavis0676 8 years
One other footnote that I forgot to include, is if you are indeed famished upon rising each morining, then consume a source of lean protein (chicken breast, protein shake mixed with water, can of tuna fish, etc) PRIOR to your run or other form of cardio. Protein has minimal impact on insulin levels, and thus will not stymie your attempts to burn maximal amount of fat per exercise session. Plus it has the added benefit of protecting your muscle from catabolism (muscle wasting). Too much glucose in the bloodstream hinders your abilty to mobilize fat as a fuel source, essentially because you are burning off the contents of your last meal, as opposed to tapping into your fat stores directly. HOWEVER, in summation, what matters most is calories in versus calories out. NOTHING overrides the law of energy balance. If what you are doing is working for you, then continue doing just that. If not, give this a shot! I apologize for the prolix nature of these last two posts, for I tend to be a bit loquacious on this matter.
AIMEESUGAR AIMEESUGAR 8 years
i have a hard time eating more than a granola bar before working out. i hope that covers me...
scottdavis0676 scottdavis0676 8 years
If I'm understanding it correctly, this issue hasn't been proven one way or the either DEFINITIVELY. I've heard countless bodybuilders and other fitness professionals extol the virtues of fasted matutinal cardio ad nauseum. So much so, that I decided to experiment with it myself. I had previously ran on my treadmill after having cosumed two meals each day, five days of week, for one month. Then I decided to switch gears, and perform my cardio first thing in the morning, in a fasted state. I also did this for one month. My workouts would typically last for 35-45 minutes, which constituted me running 4-5 miles per session, mostly on the treadmill. I was astonished by the results, to say the least! I lost five inches off my waist during that thirty day period when I performed said cardio in a fasted state. However, when performed after a meal or two, I ONLY lost two inches from my waist during the same alloted period of time. Now I'm not ready to say that everybody should abandon their current exercise regimes and follow my lead, but what I am saying, is to be OPEN-MINDED and experiment a little. If you're results have stagnated, mix it up and try fasted cardio. ALWAYS let the results dictate your approach. If something is working, then continue doing it IN SPITE OF what others may say. The problem is too many people are dogmatic (rigid) in their fitness philosophies, which CAN steer people in the wrong direction. Every person's body is unique (metabolism, ability to burn fat, gain muscle, etc). Let the resuts dictate your approach. I am a paladin of Tom Venuto's program Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle, which delves into this very issue at length. If you're serious about losing fat, or gaining muscle, I'd suggest you give this e-book a perusal.You won't regret it!
klandrach klandrach 8 years
I have a hard time with this as well, if I wake up early enough to do a morning workout I never seem to think about eating something first. Maybe I will try half a kashi granola bar next time though and see how I do.
nancita nancita 8 years
Great to know. I simply cannot exercise without eating, but I want to send this to all the people I know who do.
AMP AMP 8 years
Good to know.
misschester misschester 8 years
I do a scoop of whey protein and 1/2 a banana every morning before cardio and weights.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
I can never workout without eating a little something, even if it's not in the morning. It just makes my stomach feel weird. I usually eat something small, like 2 crackers and a dab of peanut butter or a little bit of cereal. Keeps me going and I'm not hungry when I finish.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
hmmm so you should never execersie on an empty stomach?
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Even though I know this, I usually go to the gym without eating breakfast. I just can't stomach the thought of eating at 6:00 in the morning. But it totally helps. I was DRAGGING this morning through my 3 mile run after doing weights. Definitely should have grabbed a granola bar or something before running out the door.
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