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Eat Before You Workout in the Morning

Don't Wake and Work Out: Eat a Bit First

With everyone concerned about eating extra calories over the holidays, I am here to tell you that you should eat ... before you exercise first thing in the morning. It seems that many folks think that if they work out on an empty stomach, their bodies will target fat. Unfortunately, that is just not true, and this persistent myth can actually set you back if you are trying to lose weight.

After fasting all night, since you don't eat while you sleep, your glycogen (or carb) stores are low. Glycogen is the fuel the body generally burns first for energy. If your glycogen levels are low and your body is in motion, your body decides to hold on to your fat. The body is essentially paranoid and thinks a famine might be coming, so it holds on to the fat as emergency reserve and targets muscle instead. This is not good, since you are working out to lose fat, not lean muscle. You want to keep lean muscle, because it will boost your metabolism.

The good news is that you just need to eat just a small amount to let the body know that fuel is on its way and you are not entering a famine. Just a simple snack that contains 100 to 200 calories will do. Me? I eat a banana and a small handful of nuts before a run, or I eat yogurt before a weight training session.

funkaylaydee funkaylaydee 8 years
ahhhhhhhh finally my questions have been answered! i've been going to swimming practice at 5 in the morning for weeks now w/o filling up on food... uh ohhhh not good for my failing diet... =(
sfunkera sfunkera 8 years
Oops! I almost always work out first thing in the morning, before eating. Maybe that is why progress has been slow! A trainer I used to work with told me the opposite.
Peyote Peyote 9 years
GAH. Completely opposite what I've always heard. I never know which advice to take and which to leave. :(
codegirl codegirl 9 years
This is probably superbad, but I drink coffee (with milk and splenda) before I work out and don't eat. But honestly the last thing my body wants is food when I first wake up.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I think it's perfectly reasonable to do what works best for your body & your schedule. I definitely get cramps if I eat breakfast before working out (and whenever I eat anything within three hours prior to a workout). Rolling out of bed and straight onto the treadmill works great for me. I'm not coherent enough to talk myself out of my workout, and after 20 minutes I'm more alert than if I'd had two cups of coffee. Also, when I work out first thing I generate enough of an appetite to eat a significant breakfast.
ibron ibron 9 years
I have a bowl of corn flakes and a cup of coffee about 45 mins to an hour before my weight training sessions. If I am in a rush I would have a protein shake instead. I am someone that has to eat before a workout, or I get hungry half way through. Post workout, I follow my trainer's advice in having a recovery protein shake within 20 mins after the workout, and a balanced meal within the hour after that.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I work out on an empty stomach all the time because I get ill if I eat beforehand. It's a myth that not eating promotes your body to store fat; actually, once your glycogen stores run out, your body will turn to fat stores first to fuel muscles. If you work out regularly, your body will actually hang onto muscle because it's an active tissue. As you get more and more conditioned, your body becomes better at storing glycogen in your muscles and you don't store fat so easily. I think it's a personal preference thing...if you can work out on an empty stomach, do it. If you need a preworkout snack, have one. It's more a question of total calories in vs. total calories out...when you eat them isn't quite as important.
behemoth_the_cat behemoth_the_cat 9 years
oops! i always jog in the moring on an empty stomach... i don't do it to lose extra weight, i just do it cause i hate something splishing around in my stomach while i'm jogging, it gives me cramps!
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
ITA with Polishpierogi and FITnFAB, There are conflicting reports, as with anything in fitness. But, the average person will not have issues with not eating before working out. In fact, I do it all the time, especially early morning, and if there's ever a woozy moment (usually after a night out drinking) I have some juice. Water or Water mixed with a bit of fresh juice, and I'm good to go. Actually, I perform and feel better working out prior to eating.
Dr-Christine Dr-Christine 9 years
Once, I tried to work out on an empty stomach, and I almost fainted on the stairmaster!
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 9 years
I usually eat oatmeal, because cereal+milk before exercising gives me cramps and makes me feel like theres liquid splashing around in my stomach. Oatmeal is great because it isn't too filling, but it gives you fuel, and is kinda good for you. Hope this helps!
pandacn pandacn 9 years
This advice is so helpful! When I run in the mornings, I'm scared to eat because I think I'll get cramps, sometimes when I have even a small bowl of cereal, I get cramps when running. But I didn't know that not eating anything is bad for you too. Maybe I'll start having a piece of fruit or something along those lines too.
divinelight divinelight 9 years
Eating a LITTLE before working out is a good thing like Fit said. However, if you eat too much you will get cramps and/or sick. The reason is that your nervous system is split into two halves, and only one half can work at a time. If you eat a lot before working out, the parasympathetic nervous system is trying to digest the food while the sympathetic nervous system is trying to help your body run. The sympathetic nervous system will win over the other because it assumes you are running for your life, and that's more important than digesting your food. The food stays in your stomach and will slow you down, cause you to cramp and possibly even throw up.
adrianalimafan adrianalimafan 9 years
I can't workout without eating it least a little bit first, I feel very weak and shakie(sp?). Most of the time I work out very late at night but when I do workout in the mornings I always have some acai with gronla or kashi with a little fruit mixed in.
I just read in the November issue of Fitness magazine that not eating promotes fat loss. I understand your reasoning, but why would they have an expert (the person who said this is the drill sergeant guy from Celebrity Fit Camp) say this when it is as easy refutable as you say it is? How do we know who to believe in these types of situations? Another controversial one is if you should do weight before or after cardio? Every trainer seems to have their own study or something.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
I get sick to my stomach if I try to eat anythig first thing in the morning. And I get up at 6 to be at the gym by 6:30.
polishpierogi polishpierogi 9 years
I hate when people tell you to eat before you work out or before a run. If i eat before a run, i get a cramp. And considering i wake up at 6 am to work out by 6:45 am, eating isn't possible nor does it feel good. I drink a lot of watert and i'm still alive. Eating before working out in the early morning is not the end all be all.
EllaBella EllaBella 9 years
I also can't stand eating before my morning run but I just do it cause I fell more awake if I have a coffee, some orange juice and sometimes a couple of spoons of yogurt. That's really all I can eat before a run.
jkat jkat 9 years
I work out at 6:30 am, and I hate eating before. I get so sick running with food in my stomach. I guess I will have to try to eat something very light, like a little of a Kashi bar and see if I can make it work.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Good to know!!
Punkingirl Punkingirl 9 years
I always heard that you're supposed to wait for an hour after you eat to work out. I'm guessing from your post that that guideline is for meals. I'll try having a handful of nuts before since I usually work out first thing and start about 15-20 minutes after I wake up. Doing it in the morning is easy (if you're prepared and a morning person-I became one as a result) and it solves that pesky problem of talking myself out of working out throughout the day. Thanks for the tip!
melda melda 9 years
I used to workout on empty stomach for like two hours i will eat some fruit then
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 9 years
I worked out at 7 this morning because it was the only time I could..I had a handful of pretzels because that was the only thing in my dorm room
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I'll try and do this.
mtiger mtiger 9 years
I just can't get up early enough to work out in the morning. I usually eat a Nutri-Grain bar in the afternoon and then work out when I get off work.
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