Is It Better To Have Breakfast Before Or After Your Morning Training?
A very common question that I get asked all the time by my clients, family, and friends. Now, not to get too much into the geeky science behind training and nutrition, but it simply comes down to what your primary goal is. Believe it or not, the way you approach your training and nutrition is very different if you want to lose fat vs. build some muscle.
Now if your primary goal is to lose fat, then ideally you want to be performing your morning aerobic training on a fasted stomach. This is usually easier first thing in the morning since your stomach hasn’t seen food the entire night, which leaves your body is somewhat of a depleted state. Your body will usually opt for it’s blood glucose and glycogen as it’s immediate energy source, however when those are already low from being in a fasted state, the body is forced to use it’s fat stores for energy. Now the magic of fat burning usually doesn’t just end after your workout, but continues throughout the rest of the day by a process called AMPK!
Now how would you maximize that fat burning process? Well honestly it depends on the individual! Everyone is slightly different with their responses to exercise and nutrition. Generally though, here are some quick tips if you’re someone who is looking to lose a few pounds of fat:
– Perform a full-body workout that recruits and stimulates as much muscle as possible.
– You want to ideally improve your insulin resistance. The best way to do that is to cut your starchy carbs (e.g. rice, bread, pasta, potatoes) from your diet for 2 weeks and slowly reintroduce them back into your diet. This will help improve how your body response to carbs, and also improve it’s fat burning processes.
– Prevent the breakdown of your hard earned muscle by having eating an adequate amount of protein throughout your day. Aim for around 1-1.50 g/lb spread over 3-4 meals in your day.
– Drink a post-workout protein shake to help preserve muscle and promote recovery
– Have a small amount of caffeine before your morning workout on an empty stomach. This helps increase the fat burning processes within your body during the workout. Please advice that everyone responds to caffeine differently, and you should consult a health professional before considering doing that.
– Meditate or perform deep breathing post workout! This will help stabilize your stress hormones, which in excessive amounts can actually do more harm than good. Aim for at least 2 minutes of deep diaphragmatic breathing.
What if you’re absolutely starving before your morning training, what do you do then? Ideally, you want to have a small amount of food that’s enough to cut your hunger so you can focus on your workout. Aim for something that’s low in glucose and high in protein and healthy fats. My go-to is a handful of almonds, or a few slices of smoked salmon.
Article by Omar El-Temtamy PT. Omar has been in the health & fitness industry for more than 5 years, having studied Kinesiology at the University of Toronto, he has a deep passion for movement and physical activity. He’s also been involved in competitive sports such as basketball, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well as coaching varsity level athletes. He has a deep passion for High Performance and Injury Prevention, and those are the two key corner stones he like’s to bring into his training.