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Should I Eat Before a Morning Workout?

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In any situation where it could affect performance and/or muscle maintenance or growth, eating beforehand would be beneficial. The days when everyone believed that people who exercise for endurance needed carbohydrates and people who train for resistance needed protein before and after their workouts are long gone. Every athlete demands both. Anyone who performs both endurance or cardio and resistance training sessions back-to-back would benefit from fueling up before their workout and potentially eating some protein and carbohydrates in between the two exercises, depending on how long their double session is expected to last. [1,2]

When a person exercises for an hour, they don’t need to eat beforehand because their body supplies glycogen. This is stored in the liver and muscles and can support exercise for 60 to 90 minutes. Therefore, it is crucial to consume recovery food immediately following each workout if they exercise every morning without taking any days off.

This will help replenish glycogen reserves, ensuring they are full and ready for the next day’s work out. They might recover more slowly if they wait too long to eat after working out. They may experience increased fatigue and “hit the wall” during their workouts as the week progresses, partly because of this. [2]

“Fasted cardio” is the term for exercise that is performed on an empty stomach. According to this notion, the body burns stored fat and carbohydrates for energy rather than in recent meals, resulting in greater levels of fat loss. [2, 3]

Exercise on an empty stomach may also cause the body to burn protein for energy. Less protein is left in the body, which makes it harder for muscles to grow and heal after exercise. Additionally, burning fat for energy does not guarantee that it will reduce their overall body fat percentage or increase their caloric expenditure. [1,2, 3]

Exercise on an Empty Stomach. Is it Safe?

While some evidence suggests that exercising on an empty stomach is beneficial, this does not imply that it is always the best option. A person may squander essential energy sources and have less stamina when they work out on an empty stomach. They might also have other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, nausea, or shaking.

Another possibility is that their body will begin to store more fat than usual due to becoming accustomed to continuously drawing on its fat reserves for energy. [1,3]

When Exactly Should Someone Eat?

Whether someone should eat before working out depends on the type of exercise they are undertaking. They might not need to eat beforehand if they want to engage in low-intensity activities like walking, golfing, or moderate yoga. However, they should always eat before engaging in any activity that requires a lot of stamina, energy, and strength. Tennis, swimming and jogging are examples of this. If they intend to exercise for a period of time longer than an hour, it is very crucial.

They could feel the need to eat at certain points during arduous exercise lasting longer than an hour, such as a marathon. To keep moving, blood glucose levels must be maintained. Additionally, it prevents them from utilizing all their muscular energy reserves. [1,2, 4, 5]

Is Breakfast Required Before a Morning Workout?

Goals, the nature and length of the workout, and personal health all determine whether one should eat before a morning workout. Blood sugar levels are lower after a lengthy night of sleep than right after eating. In addition, they can experience fatigue and sluggishness during their workout as a result.

A small snack before a morning workout may help raise blood sugar levels and provide energy to perform at one’s peak. Since the food has not had time to digest, for many people, exercising soon after eating might induce stomach discomfort. [4]

Although it may be tempting to exercise after skipping breakfast and a snack since waking up, this may make them less effective at various types of exercise. [5]

Exercise and eating go hand in hand. Whether it’s a regular workout or competition preparation, when and what a person eats can have an impact on how they feel while they exercise.

Take into account the following suggestions for food and activity [5. 6]:

1. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast- If someone exercises first thing in the morning, get up early enough to finish breakfast at least an hour before exercising. Before a workout, fuel up properly. Before exercise, consuming carbohydrates might enhance workout performance and enable longer or more intense workouts. When exercising, people may feel lethargic or dizzy if they have not eaten. [1,5, 6]

2. Observe Portion Sizes- Be careful not to overeat when it comes to the amount of food one consumes prior to exercising. The broad recommendations recommend:

  • Hefty meals: Eat these at least three or four hours before working out.
  • Snacks or small meals: Eat these between one and three hours before working out.

A person may feel lethargic after overindulging before exercising. When people eat insufficiently, they may not have the energy they require to feel strong throughout their workout. [2, 6]

3. Almost Everyone can have a Small Snack Before and During Exercise- Their feelings are crucial. One must follow the best judgment. If the workout is less than 60 minutes, snacks that are eaten right before the exercise definitely won’t provide one with any extra energy, but they might help one avoid disconcerting hunger sensations. A person may benefit from consuming a snack or beverage high in carbohydrates during a workout that lasts longer than 60 minutes.

Some tasty snack choices are:

  • An energy bar
  • Apple, banana, or another type of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt
  • A smoothie with fruit
  • A bagel with healthy grains or crackers
  • A granola bar that is low in fat
  • Sandwich with peanut butter
  • Diluted juice or sports drink.

A nutritious snack is crucial if an individual intends to work out for several hours after a meal. [1,3, 6]

4. Combination Meal– Eat a meal combining carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after the workout to aid in muscle recovery and replenish the glycogen stores. Think about having a snack when a meal is more than two hours away. Following a workout, it’s a good idea to eat:

  • Juice and fruit
  • Sandwich with peanut butter
  • Milk with less fat, chocolate, and pretzels
  • Recovery smoothie after exercise. [2, 4, 5, 6]

5. Do not Forget to Hydrate the Body- To help prevent dehydration, a person has to drink enough fluids before, during, and after exercise, to stay hydrated when exercising:

  • In the two to three hours before exercise, consume around 2 to 3 cups of water.
  • During exercise, drink half a cup to a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Amounts should be adjusted according to body size and climate.
  • For every pound (0.5 kilograms) of weight, you lose during the workout, drink 2 to 3 glasses of water afterward.

The best fluid to replace lost volume is typically water. However, if someone is exercising for longer than 60 minutes, they should drink a sports drink. As they contain carbohydrates, sports drinks can help people keep their body’s electrolyte balance while also providing a little more energy. [1,6]

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References:

  1. https://www.tonal.com/blog/eat-before-or-after-workout/
  2. https://www.healthyfood.com/ask-the-experts/should-i-eat-before-my-morning-workout/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/working-out-on-an-empty-stomach#weight-loss
  4. https://www.healthline.com/about/process
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596471/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-
  7. https://www.greencoffeeplus.co
  8. https://www.ketotrim.co

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