Should I Eat Breakfast Before My Morning Workouts?


By Bobbi Pavlack Extreme Total Fitness

This is a question that I always hear. Depending on who you ask, depends on the answer.

Many medical and nutritional practitioners believe that food is required to stabilize blood sugar levels to avoid dizziness and weakness during the workout.  Meanwhile, some trainers believe that people will readily burn more fat as fuel if they exercise on an empty stomach.

The Mayo Clinic staff published recommendations for eating and exercise performance.  Their view is to wake up with enough time to eat breakfast.  The thought is to stabilize blood sugar levels and to avoid feeling fatigue during the workout.  The choice of food is just as important, because the wrong choice could make you just as tired.  A large meal or something sugary or high in fat would sabotage your morning workout.  A moderate breakfast of a protein and whole grain one to two hours before would give you substantial energy without causing abdominal or intestinal issues.

Other recommendations would be to choose foods low or moderate on the glycemic index to sustain energy. Energy from these foods last longer in the bloodstream and could sustain a great endurance workout for 90-120 minutes. Bran cereal, brown rice, apples and bananas are just a few of the foods considered low to moderate on the GI.

The theory behind exercising on an empty stomach is that a person will readily burn fat and spare glycogen.  The research for this dates back 20 years, and while this theory seems promising, the trials were done on a small number of subjects.  What is not addressed in the studies is meal timing and following a meal pattern.

Eating can enhance your endurance and performance which will lead to a better quality workout, better calorie burn, and consequently more weight loss.  Eating early in the day will improve the ability to control hunger and make better food choices throughout the day, which will lead to weight/fat loss.