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Eating before training in the mornings

Like a lot of people I will be doing more training in the morning before work (starting tomorrow morning), can anyone advise me as to wether they do (or would advise) eating before I train? normally, when I cycle to work I don't eat until I get to work, but with looking to do more morning training should I get up even earlier to eat (and eat what?) and how long before I train.



  • AndreAndre Posts: 103
    Scott this depends entirely on the intensity and duration of the training you intend to do, so maybe you could give us a little more information and we'll be able to give you a definitive answer, but...

    As a general rule of thumb, your stomach should be empty for exercise anyway - hence the eat 2 hours before strenuous exercise mantra you'll hear just about everywhere! Exercising in the morning is, perhaps, a slightly more extreme version of this, but it has the same effect: it forces your body to use the fuel it has stored around the body.

    Under most conditions, it'd be a bad idea to disturb your sleep just to take on food for training; instead, you'll just need incorporate energy drinks, gels, bars and bananas into your training to provide you with all the energy you need until you get to work.

    Most people can go a whole hour without anything but water, if you're training for more than 3hrs before work, you'll probably need something 'solid' in addition to energy drinks and gels.
  • Thanks Andre,

    Currently my cycle to work is about 10 miles, but I have a "longcut" that takes it to about 18m, normally I just try and ride like a bat out of hell, but I'm trying to be good this year and incorporate drills so the insensity will be pretty high. I only normally cycle one way though (until the evenings are light enough..)

    I'm also [color=#000000]wanting to [/color][color=#000000]occasionally[/color][color=#000000] [/color]start to run to work (same 10m route) once it gets lighter in the morning, and I also do small brick sessions of swimming followed by spinning one morning a week - Although not too sure if that this type of brick is worth doing, it's [color=#000000]just [/color][color=#000000]convenient[/color].

    As I am starting the new year with completely different goals and a new training system, going to bed earlier and getting up earlier are part of the new routine, I'm just after getting routine correct from the start, from the advise you've given, it sounds like I should be ok for anything under an hour with just the water, and any significant training over that I should consider some energy product.

  • Scott,

    I agree with Andre you don't really need that much in the morning. I find it all depends what I have been eating a few days before. I may have a banana when warming up but usually if I have been eating healthy then that keeps me going. Just that when I arrive at work I have a big breakfast such as porridge and fruit and then 'graze' during the day so I have something in the tank for the return leg. I find keeping a food diary handy and then I can note when I get it all wrong or right.

    Let us know how you get on.

  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    there is also some supposed added benefit of training in the morning without eating in that it forces the body to use the fat supplies more efficiently, cant remember where i read this though....
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Read about that multiple times already too. But what if you don't have too much extra fat supplies.

    I really don't need to loose any fat/weight at this moment(or any other moment).

    Does training on empty stomach have the same benefits for this type of people, or is there simply no reason to do it then??
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    I would always have something before training in the morning.

    Bear in mind that your body is screaming out for nutrients first thing in the morning, having gone eight hours without any fresh supplies (although I take a slow-drip protein before bed to repair muscle damage).

    If you want to lose body fat and break down muscle then exercise on an empty stomach.

    Otherwise I would say have a Go gel and then a hearty breakfast afterwards.

    The times I did try training on nothing my performance was nothing like it is after taking on some fuel.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Read somewhere the empty stomach fat burn thing is a myth..as fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate, then depleted carbs stores will not help fat burn.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Remember where you read this, Britpin??

    I'm not a big fan of starvation before workout, just need some scientific backup so I won't have to do this kind of SM-workouts![:'(]
  • I will also investigate beacuse I really need to lose weight (I'm currently a nice portly 112kg!!) and the statement that if I work out on an empty stomach I'll burn more fat was like music to my years....

    Please Please be true...
  • AndreAndre Posts: 103
    Scott, 'fat burning' exercise is less about what you've eaten beforehand, and more to do with the type of exercise you do: it needs to be fairly low in intensity, but for quite a significant duration - that ain't music to anyone's ears! Starving the body under those conditions actually does more damage than good, so if that's your aim for morning exercise... well, it shouldn't be!

    The safest way to lose fat, retain or build muscle, and gain in overall fitness is slowly but surely. Try doing interval sessions in the morning, which still won't necessarily require you to eat beforehand, but will train your body to use all its possible energy sources. It'll also kick start your metabolism, so that when you do have breakfast, it'll use that for recuperation and repair, rather than store it for later use.
  • Thanks Andre,

    That is also an answer I'm happy with, this means that I can still cycle to work and do some training while losing weight.

    I was concerned to actively lose weight I would have to exercise that wasn't really going to be good training "wasted miles etc.."

    an interval session to work on the bike would be a good solution - if the weather ever allows it!!!

  • jacjac Posts: 452

    The most important aspect of losing weight is having a calorie deficit.

    There are some quote good online resources which can help you work out how many cals you need, based on your height, weight, activity levels etc.. to achieve weight loss.

    The general rule of thumb is to eat little and often - which fires the metabolism and in turn burns more cals. Aim to eat protein with every meal(ideally six times a day). The quality of the food is also of utmost importance. There's no point shoving down processed crap, full of sugar, salt and trans fats. Eat whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, low fat dairy, plus fruit and veg for its vitamins and antioxidants.

    As Andre says high intensity intervals are also great at "melting" fat. I'd also look to incorporate some weights into your training programme - to build lean muscle and turn your body into a fat-burning furnace.

    The real challenge with weight loss is the diet, though. And that's what you need to get spot on. Otherwise you can exercise for England and still not get to where you want to be.

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