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TOPIC: Gym on empty stomach in the morning?

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March 12, 2011 6:22 AM
Hi All

i m an early riser and prefer to workout in the morning:I would usually have a glass of warm water with lemon and then head to the gym for an hour workout (30min running machine and 30 min weights/strength exercise) .

I would like to know whether its best to have a small bite to eat before heading to the gym or is it ok to gym and then have breakkie afterwards?

If its better to have a bite, can anyone recommend what i could have without feeling full.

My breakfast is normally a bowl of porridge and half banana, and glass of water.

And also is this the best way to burn calories? I read somewhere that working out in the morning on empty stomach is good way to burn fat but surely the quality of exerice would be undermined if there is little fuel in you?

any coments, suggestions would be appreciated

March 12, 2011 6:29 AM
this is what Jillian Michaels posted on her facebook yesterday........
Smart Tip: Do NOT exercise on an empty stomach. The theory that you burn more fat with no available blood sugar is a myth. In fact, it can result in the loss of muscle tissue. So, make sure to get a healthy snack in you about 45 minutes before you train.
March 12, 2011 6:29 AM
There's no definitive answer.

Some people swear by "fasted cardio" ie working out first thing before eating. I used to jog before breakfast about 3 times a week,and found that a good way to shift fat.

There is then the other argument - your body needs fuel for a decent workout.

There's nothing wrong with the way you're currently doing it - how long have you been doing it that way and how have you found it? If your body is telling you it needs more fuel, then maybe half a banana or a few almonds at least 20 mins before your workout.

I'm currently aiming for ONE pre-breakfast gym session a week, the rest of my workouts are in the evening. And I just have lemon water before I leave the house, though I might grab half a cup of black coffee when I get to the gym itself. I'm a big believer in variety ;-)
March 12, 2011 6:30 AM
i know personally if i were the one going to the gym early i would have some water and that was it before weights and cardio it does tend to burn more fat reserves if you are running on empty........if you feel like you need some energy tho try having a good dinner of complex carbs that will give you loads of energy for the following morning...hope this helps
March 12, 2011 6:31 AM
Sure, running on no fuel that's always a good way to workout. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your body needs food for fuel. Without it you may lose weight, hehe muscle weight but your get to keep the fat! In fact here's what your body needs: 15 to 25 grams of carbs before weight training. First thing in the morning if your workin out you can add 6 to 15 grams of protein into the mix. After workin out your body needs:6 to 16 grams of protein and 45 to 65 grams of carbs.
March 12, 2011 6:31 AM
I prefer to eat before, or else I'm running on nothing and can't push as hard ;)
March 12, 2011 6:33 AM
You def should add a bit of fuel to your body first thing in the morning. A good (low sugar) protein shake or even a glass of skim milk would be a good option. Your normal breakfast does not have any protein! Add peanut butter or a breakfast meat you like. For me protein with "good" carbs are the key to feeling satisfied and energetic! Good luck....keep posting - you'll get advice and support! flowerforyou
March 12, 2011 6:33 AM
I advise empty stomach cardio and HIGHLY disagree with empty stomach training. If you are heading to the gym for just a plain old cardio day, skip breakfast, have 2 cups of black coffee and get after it. The way to also get a good empty stomach fat burn in is to have your normal breakfast before the gym but hit the weights FIRST, that way you use all that food as fuel for your weight work out, which you need for strength obviously, but by the time you get around to your cardio your body will be using the stored glycogen as fuel as it has burned the food you consumed that morning. With that being said, my second cup is almost gone and I am off to the ellyptical! :)
March 12, 2011 6:38 AM
I workout at 4am every day and have for about five years. I never eat before working out. I have had no problems with this. I also fast one or two days a week and often workout at the end of my fast, when I have had no food for about 20 hours and have had no problems with this either. I have been steadily increasing the amount of weight I can lift and also my running distance. It just depends on how you feel. There is no one rule that everybody in the world has to follow.
March 12, 2011 7:12 AM
Hi All

Firstly I am shocked with the number of replies in the short time i posted my initial response (can you tell Im a newbie to fitnesspal)

All comments are appreciated and I think I would follow a a variety of advise from everyone who has posted: ie I will alternate morning workouts and also do some evening workouts: I also agree to get some protein in the breakfast. I also will try having some light bites before gym in the morning and see whether it does me any favours(I love almonds so thats for the tip

I have been going to the gym in the morning (on average 3 times) without breakfast for almost 3 weeks and I can honestly say that I tend to work better without fuel, in comparison to when i workout in the evening which once,in the weekday.

I suppose everyone is different and most definately it is about putting in a variety of workout throughout the week rather than sticking to morning sessions. But needless to say I have lost 2lb each week and i am more than satisfied with keeping this up as long as i can achieve the target goal.

Thanks for all your comments: i am glad i have joined this site: I am already finding it useful and taken on few tips.
March 12, 2011 7:39 AM
Just eat a little protein bar, or some scrambled egg whites on a piece of wheat toast...Just a little something to get your energy moving for your workout :)
March 12, 2011 3:31 PM
I prefer to eat beforehand.
March 12, 2011 3:34 PM
Personally, I prefer to have a protein smoothie about 30 minutes before I work out. That way there's not the heavy feeling of food in my stomach and I'm not getting lightheaded because I'm hungry.
March 12, 2011 3:36 PM
I always work out, cardio wise mostly, first thing in the AM (6am or so) and on an empty stomach. The difference between my early AM workouts/empty stomach and early eve workouts/day's worth of food full stomach is like night and day. I definitely do better early AM/empty stomach. Otherwise, I'm dragging and sluggish throughout the entire workout. I will though get something in my stomach within an hour or so after I'm done. This is just what works for me, not sayinig it's right for everyone. But I did see the post from Jillian (whom I ADORE) saying cardio in the AM on an empty stomach is best.

I say stick with what works for you personally.. everyone's different.
March 12, 2011 4:17 PM
I have to say that I usually workout on an empty stomach....however after speaking with my trainer, he told me that it is not go to do this. I work out 5:30-6:00 am and now I try to make a protein shake, protein bar or banana before I work out so that my body had the fuel for the workout I am doing....flowerforyou
March 12, 2011 4:28 PM
Speaking only for myself,
When i wake up and pretty much go straight to the gym, I definitely prefer not eating beforehand.
I have found that I have the same amount of energy that early whether I eat or not...
So why don't I eat?
Because when i do I tend to feel like I am going to vomit mid-workout.

Do whatever suits you best! NO ONE can tell you the right or wrong for what works for your body.
March 12, 2011 4:35 PM
This is one of those things that's really a matter of preference. I prefer to have something light and sometimes I don't. It really just depends on my mood. I think everyone is different and you'll get different opinions, but it's best to check with your doctor :)
March 12, 2011 11:32 PM
Your body is drained of nutrients and water overnight so you should have a light breakfast before going to the gym. Try a low fat yoghurt with a tablespoon of meusli and half a banana. Also drink as soon as you wake up, before you go to the gym and during your exercise. If you get dehydrated your body will start to retain fluid
March 12, 2011 11:51 PM
I'd love to eat something small before a morning workout but I don't have time to wake up, eat something, then wait an hour before I can go to the gym without puking because I have a belly full of food.
March 13, 2011 12:50 AM
I just find I can do more once I have eaten! Which to me is logical as your body needs food to function....
March 13, 2011 1:52 AM
Yeah but your body also needs time to digest and extract the nutrients from that banana, cereal bar, whatever. I'm not convinced it can do that in under an hour. But then, I've always been puzzled by the time it takes for calories or nutrients to get into the body's system.
March 13, 2011 3:13 AM
You could always eat the banana before the gym and the porridge after? I usually exercise on an empty stomach or have a piece of fruit. A heavy meal before running would lead to a poor workout for me.
March 13, 2011 3:29 AM
how about maybe a small glass of protein shake with skimmed milk half an hour before you workout.
March 13, 2011 6:39 AM
I think your breakfast is great. Oats do have protein and lots of other beneficial things.
Personally, I don't like bananas too close to exercise, so if you can't stomach your normal breakfast but want to eat something, I'd suggest a low GI piece of fruit - berries are good as they won't give you a sugar spike.


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