Should I workout before I eat breakfast?
Whenever the topic of workouts comes up and I mention that I workout first thing in the morning, I always get asked whether I eat before I go. In other words, do I workout fasted or no? This is often followed by asking what they should do.
My answer, regardless of the person I’m talking to, is the same. Yes, I workout fasted and have you tried it? If not, then the only way to know if it’s right for you is to try it.
As with about 97% of the information available with regards to health and fitness, it all depends on what works for the individual. Is there science to back up one way to workout versus the other? Of course there is. Some research says it’s better to workout fasted, and others say its best to have at least one meal before working out.
Working out fasted works for me. But it might not work for you. It might work for your friend, but it might not work for your friend’s boss.
When it comes down to the human sciences (of which any research related to health and exercise can be under), 97% of the information is subjective. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, in fact, a lot of the good stuff out there is backed by some solid scientific research. In the end though, it is still subjective. Our bodies are unique. We have different metabolisms, different genetics, different sleep cycles, just to name a few.
Fasted workouts + late breakfast work for me, but I only discovered this through trial and error. I worked a 9-5 job and after numerous failed attempts at working out AFTER work, I decided to take the plunge and try out morning workouts. I never usually ate breakfast before I got to work, so decided to test out whether a fasted morning workout would be sustainable.
Turns out it was, and it’s now part of my routine. Waking up extra early aside, the time works for me and I haven’t noticed any noticeable negative changes to my workouts since going this route. That being said, it wasn’t easy and it definitely took some time before I felt like this was a routine I could stick too.
While one peer-reviewed article says a certain way is better, this is for the typical person – when it comes to testing these theories, a sample is used, and more often than not, these samples are not representative of the general population.
Here’s the thing, if you are the type of person (like me) that knows that they won’t workout later in the day and have the most motivation/discipline to go in the morning, then try it. If eating beforehand makes you feel ill, stop and see what that does. If not eating anything makes you feel dizzy or weak, try a drink during your workout that has some simple carbs.
It’s never an easy answer, but something I always encourage my clients to test out for themselves.
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