Getting in Shape

Early Morning Workout

I have decided to try working out before going to work in the morning.  I wake up early anyway and I don't get much done, so I thought I should at least be productive with my morning.  I was wondering if anyone could suggest what would be best to eat before and after working out.  Or what would be a good exercise to do in the morning at the gym.  Thanks!

Re: Early Morning Workout

  • A lot of fitness competitors will do cardio on an empty stomach in the A.M. If you are going to eat something I would eat 1/2 of a banana or a small apple to give you some energy. Don't have big breakfast that is going to slow you down. The theory is that you will burn fat on an empty stomach doing morning cardio. If you eat something you will be burning carbs. 

    I usually do my workouts in the AM on an empty stomach. That's just what I like. Then I have a breakfast consisting of egg whites, oatmeal and blueberries that gives me my carb/protein that is needed after a workout. I wouldn't worry about supplements and protein shakes unless you already have a really clean diet and know how to use them. To me, the key is to eat healthy and eat the right foods at the right time. 

    In terms of what exercises, do what you feel. I run on most mornings or do the elliptical. And other mornings I put myself through a high intensity strength training workout with my trainer. Do what you can commit to. 

    Hope this helps. 
  • edited October 2010
    I used to eat a granola bar or a few low-fat animal crackers during the 10-minute drive to morning basketball practices when I was in college and that really helped. I can't function on an empty stomach. Be sure to hydrate before hand too (coffee does not help).

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  • I usually just eat an egg and it gives me good energy and I'm not sick hungry the whole workout. Perfect for me!
  • The tip above about not eating beforehand so your body will burn fat not carbs is completely UNTRUE.

    I am currently in a program at my gym that is for intense fat burning- it has an exercise and nutrition component. And during our first session, the nuritionist told us that it is a complete myth.

    You NEED to have fuel in your body before you work out, because otherwise your body is still fasting from dinner the night before. When it is in fasting mode, it is holding on to your fat, because it doesn't know when it may need it! It's like if you skipped eating for a whole day.

    She explained that if you don't eat before working out (especially an intense workout), your body will actually eat up your muscle for fuel, before your fat. Because it needs to save the fat, in case you are actually starving. If you eat breakfast, your body gets started, your metabolism gets moving, and you burn the food and then fat, not muscle, because your body isn't freaking out about potentially starving.

    This is also why EVERYONE recommends eating breakfast....saying it's the most important meal of the day, etc. It's true! Even if you aren't working out in the morning. Because of the same reasons- your body is fasting, and will burn the wrong energy if it doesn't have real fuel to burn. It's just more extreme if you are working out.

    She recommended at least 100 calories before working out- it doesn't have to be anything big or heavy or even with protein- just 100 calories of something (a bar, toast, nuts, a yogurt, a banana with peanut butter, etc), to get your body started.

    Then, post-workout, it's really important to eat protein within 45 minutes. This helps build your muscles. This can be a protein shake, a protein bar, eggs, dairy, or of course a regular meal with protein (meat, etc). I usually have a protein bar since it's not quite a meal time, yet.

    I really trust this program and the nutritionist, and it makes a lot of sense. Hope it helps!

  • In Response to <a href="">Re: Early Morning Workout</a>:
    [QUOTE]The tip above about not eating beforehand so your body will burn fat not carbs is completely UNTRUE.
    Posted by crnota[/QUOTE]

    Ditto that. 

    IMO, just eat something that won't make you feel sick.  You might have to experiment a bit.

    As for workouts, just do what you'd normally do.  The program I'm following now suggests morning workouts, but it's just not feasible for me.  If you'd like to look into it, I'm currently doing the programs in the book The Female Body Breakthrough.
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  • I'm not sure how early you have to get up, but I generally play one of 3 tactics when trying to coax myself out of bed:

    1.  Commit to 10 minutes at first.  If I feel good at 10 min, I keep going. (I always feel good at 10 min)

    2.  Ask myself if I will feel better for having slept 20-30 min more, or having worked out for that same time.

    3.  Negotiate to do what I feel like that morning.  Maybe I wouldn't get out of bed to run, but I would to lift, or Zumba.  Something is better than nothing.

    Also, for all you morning workout folks, ONE WEEK LEFT UNTIL THE TIME CHANGE!  Woot.
  • I work out in the morning on my way to work, and I love how much more awake it makes me feel.  Plus, I don't wimp out and skip it the way I tend to do if I go after work (any excuse will do- too crowded, too tired, horrible day, hungry, etc).

    I wake up at 4:45, get dressed etc and then eat something very light before leaving the house.  I prefer to eat something that's mostly protein since it sits lighter in my stomach, sometimes I eat a small amount lean ham or leftover chicken breast (I don't always have time to make eggs and I'm fussy about how I'll eat them), but some mornings all I have to work with is toast, so I'll have a single slice of toast.  The other day I forgot to eat before I went to the gym, and by the time my workout was done I was ravenous.  I get to the gym around 5:45 (it's not too close to my house unfortunately) and work out until about 7 am, when I leave and take the train into work. 

    I must confess I need to start eating protein as I'm leaving the gym- I'm thinking of making protein shakes to take with me and drink after my workout.  I get to work around 7:45 or 8 am, and I eat a morning snack, usually an Activia light yogurt (I like the taste of Activia for some reason) and/or some fresh fruit (berries, apple, peach, whatever I bought at the store).  That helps tide me over until lunchtime so I don't inhale my lunch.

    Hope that helps!

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  • I like to workout on an empty stomach, it works better for me. If you are just getting started I would do cardio to get going. Starting out with 20 mins of a really good cardio workoout, stretching and then some abs is a great starting activity for 2 weeks, then start to add in a weights schedule and increase cardio. Cool
  • I workout in the morning (5:30am) on a empty stomach, because my body responds better. When I ate before a workout in the morning, I would feel sick.

    Through this whole experience I have learned that what works for one person doesn't work for the next. You have to kind of go through a trial and error period to find out what works best for your may be frustrating at first but after you become more in tune with your body and you workout and eat accordingly you'll start to see the results and you will be Ecstatic!

    Good Luck!
  • I used to workout with a trainer who advised me to eat at least a piece of fruit before working out in the morning. This is to balance your blood sugar so you don't pass out. I guess maybe it depends on how intense your workout is. I used to workout at 5:00 a.m. everyday before work and it made such a difference! Good for you for starting this-hopefully I can get back into that routine. Anyway, I would definitely do cardio. If you have time, then I suggest strength training as well. I like to super set. Basically you do a series of muscle groups with no breaks in between rather than just working bi-ceps, resting, bi-ceps, resting etc. If you warm up on the treadmill to get your heart rate up and then super set, you will get a cardio and strength workout in one. It's awesome. Post work out you need protein. Eggs are good but I like to make a shake. I use protein powder, ice, frozen fruit, water, and a splash of milk. My fiance adds peanut butter and honey to his sometimes. They also make protein powder that does not have to go in the blender. You can just shake it up with water and ice in a sports bottle. Those are good when you are pressed for time.
    Good luck!
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  • I have found that some natural peanut butter on a whole grain piece of bread is enough for me before an early morning workout (circa 5am) which includes strength training and cardio intervals.  It provides some protein for me to work off of and forces me to drink water before and during my workout.  Afterwards, I usually make some oatmeal or a blueberry-banana smoothie with a little protein powder.  I think working out early is a great idea and really energizes me for my day while also getting me to go to bed a little earlier.  Good Luck!
  • Thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice!
  • CRNOTA is absolutely right...Assuming you're working out for a decent amount of time, your body needs fuel or you will end up tiring sooner and therefor burning less calories overall.  THe reality is that if you eat less calories than you burn in a day you will lose matters not if you eat before or after in terms of that.  I would agree that a light breakfast will adequately fuel you without weighing you one works out well on a stuffed tummy either.  THere is no magical way to lose weight.  Eat less in calories than you burn and you will lose weight.  WOrking out at morning or noon or night has a negligible impact on calories burned, if any at all.
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  • JIllian Michaels 30 day shred is awesome!!
    It works too, the workouts are only 20 minutes long so it's not tedious and boring!
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