Should You Eat Breakfast Before Or After Exercise?
I am a huge advocate for exercising first thing in the morning for many reasons, including how it sets the tone for the day, gives you energy, and makes you feel good. I am also an advocate for going into your morning workout on an empty stomach, aka in a fasted state, and saving your breakfast for after your workout is finished.
Read below to learn why I recommend eating AFTER your morning workout:
1. It could make you burn more fat
Research shows you may burn more fat if you go into your workout in a fasted state. This is because overnight your body runs out of glucose (aka carbs) for energy and so it starts burning fat for fuel while you sleep. When you wake up your body is still in this fat-burning state, meaning exercising on an empty stomach first thing could accelerate this fat-burning. If you eat carbs first thing in the morning, this breaks the fast (hence breakfast) and you are no longer in a fat-burning state and you are now in a carb burning state.
Health Hack: Coffee before a workout has been shown to possibly accelerate fat-burning. If you need something to get you going in the morning, consider having a cup of coffee with non-dairy milk and a glass of water.
2. You don’t have to wait to workout
Most individuals do not have a lot of time in the morning, am I right? If you plan to eat after your workout then you can just get up and go rather than having to prepare your breakfast, eat your breakfast, and then wait for it to digest.
3. You won’t get heartburn
The worst is when you eat right before a workout and then you have heartburn all throughout the exercise. When you go into your workout with an empty stomach you don’t have to worry about this uncomfortable situation!
4. You won’t feel as lethargic
When you eat before a workout this can cause you to feel weighed down and even tired, especially if you had a carb heavy breakfast.
5. You’ll get through your workout faster
If you have your breakfast to look forward to after your workout, this will make you want to get your workout done more efficiently and quickly, rather than just socializing or wasting time at the gym.
6. Big refuel after
Hooray your workout is done! Now you can feast on a good meal after.
7. Less time planning
Rather than wasting your precious time thinking about what you should eat when you first wake up, you can just get up and go and think about what you want for breakfast during your workout.
8. MUCH less likely to talk yourself out of working out
The longer you wait to exercise in the morning, the higher the likelihood you will convince yourself you don’t need to workout. This is especially true after eating breakfast which can make you feel more relaxed, and make your bed look very inviting.
9. You’ll enjoy your breakfast more
A hard workout makes you feel accomplished and because you literally worked for your breakfast, it makes that meal that much better – you deserved it!
It can definitely be an adjustment to waiting to eat until after your workout is finished, but the benefits are worth it!
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.