For those running on a tight schedule, working out might have to happen early in the morning. When you book your 6 a.m. spin class or lace up for an early morning run, can calories before your workout help you achieve your fitness goals? What happens if you don’t eat at such early hours in the morning?
Yes, you should eat something before you work out!
Some studies have shown that working out on an empty stomach can cause your body to burn more fat during your workout – sounds great, right? Your body relies on glycogen (stored carbohydrates) to fuel your workouts and when glycogen levels are low, like after a night’s sleep, your body will rely on burning fat to fuel your workouts instead. This would be great if there were some guarantee that our bodies had just enough stored glycogen and fats to fuel our workouts, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. Working out on an empty stomach, especially during a tough cardio session, means your body runs the risk of using muscle tissue rather than fat to fuel your morning workouts. This can start to break down the existing muscles you worked so hard to build and could also lead to a lower workout performance and over-eating later in the day.
The timing and size of your meal matters!
Although eating before you work out has its benefits, a massive meal right before you exercise could lead to nausea and cramping. Food usually takes about 45 minutes to digest, so try eating at least 45 minutes to an hour before you start your workout.
What should I eat?
Eating a meal before an early morning workout can sound daunting to some, so work on keeping the meal small.
Here are a few excellent pre-workout suggestions that will encourage optimal performance and recovery before, during and after your exercise routine.