Morning workouts are the best and the worst. Worst because you have to pull yourself together at an unearthly hour but the best because once you completed the workout, you are ready to get on with the rest of day without having to worry about hitting the gym later. A dilemma with morning workouts is what to do about breakfast. Personally, I do not eat breakfast before my morning workouts because I do not want to feel ‘heavy’ and slow during my workouts, I do not want to wait for my food to digest before hitting the gym and I sometimes arrive at the gym before my stomach is even awake. But is working out before breakfast actually healthy? Let’s find out and take a deeper look into breakfasts and morning workouts!
Training or breakfast first?
Working out before breakfast is also known as fasted training. One research compared 20 young males during a 6-week program in which exercise in fasted state were compared with a carbohydrate rich breakfast before training. The results were interesting but not conclusive, although the fasted training group seemed to burn more fat for energy than the breakfast group, there was no significant difference in fat loss. Furthermore, multiple other researches do not show any significant differences regarding fat loss between fasted training and training after breakfast. And therefore, it can be said that not eating before short duration exercise may not affect performance, it only affects the source of energy.
Short lasting, and lost lasting trainings?
But what about long duration exercises such as football matches, marathons and other long duration activities which are longer than 60 minutes? One analysis of many studies shows that 54% of these studies measured an improvement in performance when fed before exercise. These studies also mentioned eating slow digesting carbs benefitted the long duration exercise. Regarding endurance athletes, high carbohydrate meals a few hours before exercise showed an increase in performance.
Even though, in short duration exercise there is no conclusive answer if you should workout with or without breakfast and in long duration exercise you will probably perform better with some carbs inside you. Most researchers agree on consuming nutritious food after exercise no matter the duration, to replenish your burned energy and help start the recovery process of the body. Especially after a fasted training because that’s when you used most of your bodies stored energy reserves.
Most studies do not show differences between eating carbohydrates immediately after a workout compared to a few hours later. But regarding protein there are mixed results.
Some studies show that consuming protein immediately after exercise improves muscle growth, whilst other studies show no significant difference as to consuming protein a few hours later.
Should you eat or train firstly at the morning - summary
That are a lot of mixed results and I could understand if you are confused by now, so let’s summarize what we know and find out what is best for our bodies.
Regarding short duration exercise fed or fasted, does not affect your performance. However, long duration exercise lead to a better performance, when consumed carbohydrates before exercise. Also, regardless of the duration, eating after exercise is always important to replenish your glucose levels through carbs and consume proteins to repair muscles and other tissue. It is more important to eat as soon as possible after a fasted training compared to a fed training due to the usage of your body’s energy reserves.
Last and definitely not least is to remember that these are studies, and everybody has their own preferences. Try different types of workouts fasted and fed and see what feels best to you and your body, because listening to your body is still top priority!
Eat or train - summarization
Personally, I feel great completing a fasted training and immediately taking a protein shake to prevent a strong feeling of hunger and to stimulate muscle growth. After my shake I have time to make myself a nice breakfast and start the day properly. Therefore, I would like to recommend you one of the 6 unrivalled flavours of the MZ-Store Whey Protein shake! You can choose out of delicious flavours such as American Cherry Cheesecake, Summertime Vanilla and more!
What is your morning routine? Let us know in the comments!
If you have any ideas for future blogs, drop a comment and maybe your topic will be discussed in my next blog!
Written by Sven Nicholson | Online Personal Trainer at www.healthychanges-pt.com