Getting in Shape

Morning exercise and breakfast?

Hi everyone,

Trying to get back into shape for my wedding next summer, and have started running again. I've been off this summer (I'm a teacher) and have been able to run at my leisure (ha, ha) 

Anyhow, I'm thinking of doing morning runs with my dog on work days since most days I'm so beat at the end of the day with the kids and have tons of paperwork to do in the evenings.

For those of you who exercise in the morning, what do you do about breakfast?  Do you just eat after?  Do you feel like you have enough energy?  Eating before isn't really an option, since it would mean getting up at like 5 am, which isn't likely to happen...

thanks guys!
Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Morning exercise and breakfast?

  • Ah - it's not just me!

    I've been wondering this exact same thing. I'm a teacher too, and NOT a morning person. Last winter I was doing my workout around 730pm or so, but I'd really like to do a morning workout instead (and maybe an evening one too, if I'm extra ambitious), because I know that I'm going to have a bigger courseload this year.

    I read somewhere that you burn more fat if you work out on an empty stomach ... but I've also read that you can't really give it your all without having eaten something. So I'm stumped. I figured that I'd do the empty stomach thing and see how it goes. I may wean myself into it. I have one week left of vacation.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what others have to say about this - I know that there are a lot of morning exercisers on here.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Hey ladies...I have read a lot advocating that you have to eat before you work out etc. etc. but I recently read something that says to just do what feels best. For me, I am an almost strictly AM workout girl and most of the time I don't eat until after. The only time that changes is when I go on long runs (1 hour plus) and then I usually eat a protein bar before so that I don't crash.

    So I think go with your gut (literally...haha) and do what works best for you. Depending on what kind of exercise you are doing, I don't think you will crash if you don't eat anything before hand.
  • I workout on an empty stomach every morning. I've never been a breakfast person though. I had stomach issues as a kid that made me sick if I ate right after waking up and even though I've out grown it, psychologically, I still hate eating early in the morning. Honestly, if I was you being unsure, I'd try a few days working out sans breakfast and a few days eating before running and see what works for you. I've been running for 12 years, so I'm very accustom to not eating first but I know a lot of people (like my FI for example) tend to need a little something prior. 

    I feel more sluggish working out with food in my belly and the only time I intentionally eat before a work out is if I know it's high intensity for over an hour. I usually will eat a Luna bar an hour before I go to spin class because immediately afterwards I go runnning too. That's an hour and half high intensity and I need a boost for that. But if just go run two or three miles in the morning I skip eating entirely beforehand. 
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  • I can't properly eat before working out, no matter the time, but I do try to get a little something in my stomach because I feel it ramps up my body and gets it into burn mode better.  Not sure if it's true but it just feels better.  So I'll eat a babybel cheese, a piece of toast, or something else small prior and save my heavy smoothies or propeer meals for post-workout.
  • I work out on an empty stomach most mornings with no issue--but that's if Im running from my house.  I did a 7+ mile run on Friday morning with no issue, however, if I was going much longer than that I'd make sure to have a GU with me to eat at 45 minutes or eat a Luna bar beforehand.  When I was doing crossfit at 6:15AM and leaving my house around 5:25 to get there, I'd grab a Lara bar or a paleo muffin to hold me over.

    Do what feels right for you though, and also consider the length of your workout.  If you're going to go hard for over an hour, it's probably good to have something so your body doesn't crash.
  • I agree PP - I don't usually eat before working out in the morning (unless I'm going to be exercising for more than about an hour and a half).  Usually, however, if I think I might wake up hungry, I have a small carb-rich snack (bowl of cereal or slice of toast with nut butter) before bed so that I'm not physically hungry during the entire workout, which kind of kills it for me.
  • I can't work out on an empty stomach, but I also can't eat a lot before I work out.  So I usually have something small, like an apple or banana with about a tablespoon of PB, or a piece of string cheese, or something else small, and then I try to wait about 20 minutes or so (so I usually get up and eat first thing, and then get my workout clothes on, hydrate, get my lunch packed for work, etc--so I'm not just sitting around wasting time).

    Everything the light touches is my kingdom.
  • Depends on your body. When I had morning practices for swimming (5 am) I HAD to eat even though my body didn't want to otherwise I would feel like crap during the workout. I had to force a banana or yogurt or something down.

    Like PP's have said, just listen to your body. I don't think there is a right or a wrong here.
    June 16, 2012
  • I used to have a trainer and he would always tell me eat something small before my workouts but its really up to you. Some mornings I can't eat anything and I just feel like running a few miles but other mornings I'll wake up eat a piece of toast with almond butter and then a few hours after I work out (and shower get ready etc.) I'll make a protein shake before I head into work. Its really up to the individual.
    The Early Yearsimage November Siggy
  • I don't eat when I exercise very early. I can do a one hour spin workout and generally feel okay- occasionally I get a little nauseous.  I've also read that you can burn more fat on an empty stomach.
    I think that there is enough fuel for my body to use from dinner the night before.  When I exercise at 5:30 am it's only been about 10 hours since dinner- we don't eat too early.
    If I want to have a little something in my stomach I would probably have a tablespoon of almond butter or a bite of a KIND bar- just a little something to take the edge off if I'm feeling hungry.
  • Don't feel bad ladies I get up at 4 am so its like I am so tired after work when to work out is the question. I think protein shakes?  milk? I heard that would be good for after a workout. Banana?

  • When I first wake up I drink a glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from half of a lemon). That gives me enough energy to get through a workout and make me hungry enough to eat breakfast afterwards. The lemon gives you a quick little detox which seems to help throughout the day. Hope that helps!
  • I workout at 5:30am every morning- cuz if I don't do it then I won't do it all :) Anyway, I can't eat before I work out- it seems to make me nauseous and a little sluggish.  So I wake up, have a glass of water to get my metabolism going, then workout.  After my workout I try to eat breakfast that has a decent protein within an hour of my workout- I usually have a serving of Shakeology since its quick but if I have a little more time than I like egg whites with veggies- I even do those in a microwaveable cup I can take with me sometimes.  Hope this helps!!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I think you have to find what works for you.  A shot of espresso and 1/4 - 1/2 banana are all I muster early morning before a workout.  I find it's just enough to keep the energy up, and not quite enough volume to affect the actual workout.  I never go out fully empty, or I just don't make it through.
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