If you’re looking to lose weight, the majority of studies say workout prior to eating. This forces your body to breakdown fat as a form of fuel rather than the last meal you ate. However, it is very important to eat immediately following your workout. This will allow your body to use the food you eat to help rebuild your body back up rather than storing it for energy later.
If you are working out to improve performance then it is better to have a small meal mainly made up of carbohydrates. When we wake up our blood sugar levels are at their lowest. This doesn’t mean you can’t workout on an empty stomach, however, if you are looking to maximize your performance, you will ultimately do better if there is a quick form of energy. Glucose is the fastest form of energy. We get glucose by breaking down glycogen (or forms of carbohydrates) with a simple one step process called glycogenolysis. In order to get energy from body fat, the body must first break a fat cell down into glycerol and fatty acids through lipolysis. Then, the fatty acids can then be broken down to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis.
There is a lot of lysises and glyes going on there, but this concept is actually a lot more simple than you think. Imagine your workout being a wood stove. In order to get the heat we need to put fuel or logs into the stove to burn. Now imagine you have two kinds of logs. One type you can throw right in. These logs are carbohydrates. The other type of log will be just fine, but before you put it in the stove you need to chop it in half. These logs represent your body using stored energy or fat for fuel. This method takes more time and energy. Both methods will lead to a fire, one just gets the fire going a lot quicker.
There are always exceptions to this rule:
- If eating prior to your workout makes you feel nausea then you have to ask yourself, Do I actually need to eat before. If you have plenty of energy, why force a meal. Listen to your body.
- If you are looking to lose weight and you notice your workout are much better if you have a small snack pre-workout, eat your snack pre-workout.
Long story short: Studies have shown not eating prior to a morning workout helps with weight loss. Studies also show if you want to enhance workout performance in the morning, you should have a snack. Neither of these rules, however, are black and white. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what works better for you. It doesn’t hurt, however, to try doing what could help you meet your goals.
Side Note: The time we should all eat is immediately following a workout. Then you want your meal to consist primarily of Protein. This will help your muscles rebuild themselves faster so you are ready for your next exercise bout!
Good Pre Workout Snacks:
- Wheat English Muffin w/ Peanut Butter
- Apple and String Cheese
- Think Thin Bar
- Gu Around the Holidays you can get Gingerbread!!
*I personally just like a cup of coffee, but I love to make eggs and turkey sausage when I get done with my workout!!!