Experts have always said that eating in the morning is important to jump-start your metabolism. But what if you have a stupidly early workout like a 5:45 a.m. CrossFit class or you're meeting friends for a 6 a.m. run? You barely have enough sense to put your sneakers on the right feet, let alone time to grab something to nosh on. Or maybe you're worried that eating something will upset your stomach or make you feel even more hungry in the middle of your workout. And if you're exercising to lose weight, aren't you trying to eat less?
If this topic is confusing to you, we asked certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition to set the record straight about eating before an early morning workout. What she likes to recommend is to "eat a little something small and carby like a banana, half a granola bar, a small handful of cereal, or toast with a light layer of nut butter on it." Some people can't handle a lot of food in their belly, so Leslie suggests eating a Honey Stinger to give you energy without stomach bulk.
Aside from kick-starting your metabolism, like so many experts say, it'll also give you more energy during your workout, so you can work harder and actually burn more calories than you would if you didn't eat. On the flip side, not eating before a workout can make you exceptionally ravenous afterward, since you are on empty, which means you might end up eating way more calories than if you had a little something small beforehand.
This is just a suggestion, and Leslie says, because everyone is different, you need to do what's right for you. You'll know you need to eat a little something before your early workout if you feel like you overeat later. Also, "if you don't eat and can't work out as hard, then eat something. The harder you work, the more calories you burn, so that will be a relationship with weight-loss success."