You have to exercise regularly to stay healthy, and getting into the habit of exercising first thing in the morning is the best thing you can do for your health. Working out in the morning will help improve your metabolism, regulate your appetite, and give you a sense of achievement. While it is good to work out in the morning, many people have several confusions as well. And one such confusion is if you should eat before morning workout or not.
Should I Eat Before a Morning Workout?
Yes, it is actually a good idea to eat something before a morning workout. It helps provide you with enough fuel to complete your workout with equal intensity. Many people who say you should avoid eating anything before your workout believe that this forces your body to burn fat. This not true though.
Not eating anything before your workout may actually harm you. The reason is that your body needs sugar to produce energy. Without enough blood sugar, you will not be able to complete your workout session with full power. In fact, you will feel sluggish and dizzy when you have low blood sugar levels. Moreover, this may push your body to use muscle tissue for energy, which is highly avoidable. After all, your goal is to build muscle, not eat them away.
General Rules for Eating Before a Morning Workout
Should I eat before a morning workout? Of course, you should! It helps to provide you with energy to complete your workout with good intensity. However, you should follow a few simple rules to maximize gains. For instance:
1. Learn to Time It Right
It means you should understand what to eat depending on your workout timing. If you will start your workout in 2-3 hours, you can eat complex meal containing fat, protein, and fiber. That is mainly because your body will still have time to digest all the food. If there is less than an hour when you start your workout session, go for a simpler meal. A piece of fruit or a small bowl of cereal will do. Eating complex meals too close to a workout will leave you with stomach cramps and make you feel sluggish as well.
2. Assess Intensity
To determine what you should consume before your workout, you should also consider how intense your workout session is going to be. You should go for a smaller meal and eat well before your workout if you will be doing an intense workout. You need full energy to complete a heavy workout session and eating larger meals will result in waste of energy because your body needs to digest that food.
3. Eat Based on Your Exercising Goal
Should I eat before a morning workout? Yes, you should, but you should also consider your exercising goal to determine what and how much to eat. For instance:
- Weight Loss: If your exercising goal is to lose excessive body weight, you will do just fine by having about 10g of branched chain amino acids half an hour before your workout. These amino acids will provide you with the power to start your workout session without causing excessive muscle breakdown. These amino acids make your body to use fat to fuel your workout session and this helps you lose weight overtime.
- Performance: If your ultimate goal is to improve performance, you may start your morning workout with some protein and carbohydrates. Try a sports drink or have coconut water to get 20-25g of carbs along with 10g of branched chain amino acids to boost your blood sugar levels a bit. This will provide you with the energy to complete your workout session with full power.
4. Try Some Snacks Ideas
You can also try some healthy snacks before you start your morning workout. Low-fat yogurt with berries, a whey shake, or apple slices with almond butter will all provide you with strength to complete your workout session with full intensity. Alternatively, you can also eat an apple and 10 cashews; 6oz of plain yogurt with half cup fresh berries; a slice of whole wheat toast with half banana and a tablespoon of almond butter; or a scoop of protein powder with 4oz of water and 4oz of fresh vegetable or fruit juice.
Related reading: What to Eat Before a Morning Workout
Should I Eat after a Morning Workout?
You already know the answer to, "Should I eat before a morning workout?" but what about eating after a morning workout. Yes, you can eat after you complete your morning workout. Eating protein and carbs within an hour of completing your workout session will help replenish your energy store and repair your muscles a well. Here are some healthy choices:
- Enjoy a yogurt parfait with fruit, granola, and a sprinkle of seeds or nuts.
- Try a smoothie made with fresh fruit, yogurt, and some peanut butter, avocado, or chia seeds.
- Eat oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, nut butter, or nuts.
- Have eggs with sautéed veggies along with a cup of reduced fat-milk and a slice of whole grain toast.