No matter what time of day, we do need food to fuel us. Whether your goals are achieving optimal performance, weight loss, muscle building, energizing your life – prioritize food as much as you would your workout, training session, or even competition/race.
Early morning workouts in particular seem to pose an extra challenge. I often hear clients and friends say they don’t eat breakfast before a morning workout. I’ve heard every excuse in the book. Too tired to get up even 15 minutes earlier to eat, not hungry, food makes me nauseous if I eat too early, trying to lose weight so don’t need the extra energy, or simply just unaware that it was important.
First, breakfast is ALWAYS important. It kick starts your metabolism, similar to warming up your car on a cold day. This means you will boost your energy level first thing in the morning rather than waiting an hour or more. A side benefit to this is your body will start burning more calories at rest sooner – which can be beneficial for weight loss or maintenance. Breakfast before a morning workout is especially important as you need fuel for your empty tank (or body!). Yes, you will have some energy without putting any food in you beforehand. However – because you haven’t eaten anything for the past 7-12 hours this energy will come from your body breaking down internal stores of fat and muscle. This in turn will leave you feeling fatigued, and result in a decrease in strength and endurance. Making it much more difficult for you to achieve your goals.
So… lets get back to those excuses:
- Too tired to get up even 15 minutes earlier to eat?
- Not hungry?
- Food makes you nauseous if you eat too early?
- Trying to lose weight so don’t think you need the extra energy?
- Unaware breakfast was that important?
For more tips on how to properly fuel up before, during and after a workout – see this article I contributed to that was recently published in The Vancouver Sun.