A question about when to eat breakfast

This is a question I received from a mom from SparkPeople.com:

She wrote: “The best time for me to exercise is first thing in the morning. If I don’t do it then I probably won’t do it. I don’t like to eat anything until I’ve been up a couple of hours so I work out on an empty stomach and then don’t eat anything until about an hour or so after my workout. What are your thoughts on this?”

I responded with: “Well, let’s do the math: Say you eat dinner at 7pm, then eventually go to sleep and wake up at 6am. Let’s say you finally workout at 10am, then eat something afterward at 11am.

So, your body has not had any new food in it since 7pm the night before, meaning you have not eaten in 16 hours. Two things have happened: One, your body has shut down your fat burning mechanism (your metabolism) and two, has figured out a way to survive during the perceived famine.

So, now its 10am and you are working out with the least amount of energy your body can stand. Are you burning fat? Nope. Research has showed the body attacks the muscles first if no carbohydrates are available. Plus, with no energy, how can you possibly last very long at an intensity high enough for you to burn excess fat?

When you go to Vegas, you put gas in the tank before you leave, not after you arrive. Your workouts will be more effective if you are properly hydrated and have food in your tank to give you enough energy to burn excess fat.” 

Now let’s go and sweat it out!

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  • http://www.trainerjames.com Trainer James

    Thanks for commenting, Amy!

  • http://www.deanbreaker.com/ Amy

    Great advice!! You gotta eat breakfast. Most important meal of the day!!

  • Sheri

    I also don’t like eating right before working out so I make a simple protein shake – almond milk, protein mix and mango. Mix it in the blender and I’m good to go until after my workout. It’s not heavy like eating breakfast, but it ensures I have the energy to get through a good workout. About 30 minutes after my workout, I usually grab a small cottage cheese or yogurt.

  • http://none Veronica

    I love this blog! I really need to start eating breakfast more. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://www.jensfitnesstips.com Jen-JensFitnessTips.com

    Great advice!! You gotta eat breakfast. Most important meal of the day!!

  • deb4him

    Hey James,

    It was so nice of you to dedicate this website to your mom! She must be so proud of you.

    Thanks for sending me encouraging emails every day.

    Take care,