Exercise! - Eating Before Working Out?

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03-08-2008, 01:45 PM
I'm not sure if this should go here or in the WL section.
I listened to a pod cast yesterday of Alwyn Cosgrove et al and he said it was super important to eat before you work out.
So this morning I had a cup of warm milk before doing my UBWL.
I felt really uncomfortable and nauseated especially when I got to my ab work and yoga.
I usually work out starting sometime between 5 am and 6 am, and have always worked out on an empty stomach.
This was not a HIIT day and I cannot imagine doing it without an empty stomach.
What has been your experience?
Any suggestions?

03-08-2008, 01:55 PM
If I workout out as soon as I get up, I don't eat... If I've been awake for more than an hour or so I eat before a workout usually some oatmeal... I think the milk may have been the problem, it would be for me...

03-08-2008, 01:59 PM
I've heard similar things saying you shouldn't work out on an empty stomach. The reasoning is your muscles need to have available blood sugar to maximize their output and so you don't exhaust yourself. I think it would depend on how intensely you were working out too...maybe the milk wasn't a good choice for you? I usually have half a protein bar right before my workout and half right after and I'm usually in the gym 1.5hrs. I haven't had any problems with that because it's not really that heavy, but at the same token it gets me through the workout.

03-08-2008, 02:18 PM
I find that dairy products are hard to eat before working out. Dairy products give you kind of a coating on the inside of your mouth/throat, and for me it's kind of yucky for exercise. Try something more acidic, like citrus fruit, or carb-y, like crackers or oatmeal.

03-08-2008, 03:04 PM
I eat a hard-boiled egg white with about 1/2 Tbl. of hummus in it 1/2 hour before I work out. I used to work out on an empty stomach, but noticed as the exercise intensity grew, my energy flagged so I started eating a little bit before exercising.

03-08-2008, 03:22 PM
I think this is one of those areas where everyone is very different. If I exercise within two hours of eating anything, I get terrible stomach pains and feel like vomiting. But if I eat nothing, I run out of energy. So I aim for two and a half hours after eating a light breakfast (slice of toast with vege-pate (home made from seeds and veggies)) and that works for me. Certain things will cause problems even after that much time has elapsed, and one of those things is milk. I can eat cheese or yogourt and exercise, but not milk. Meat is the same way - I avoid that until after I'm done.


03-08-2008, 03:27 PM
I used to work out on an empty stomach too, but these days I'm at the gym for at least 60 minutes, often more, and working really hard the entire time, and I find I need something in my tummy for energy and to stop me from becoming starving mid-workout. I'm still working all this out, but I've been eating a yogurt with a tb of grapenuts sprinkled on top about 30-45 mins before I go to the gym. I have had no problems doing this, even with my 10 min warm-up run. (I really prefer to run on an empty stomach). So I think it's just a matter of 1. finding the right food for you and 2. eating it early enough that your body has time to start processing it before you work out.

03-08-2008, 11:36 PM
When I work out in the morning, I always do it on an empty stomach. I have digestive issues and absolutely have to wait at least an hour after I eat before I exercise. If I'm working out in the morning, I usually am doing it within half an hour of waking up. I'm not willing to get up 30 to 45 min earlier (it's probably going to be at least 15 min from the time I get up until I can stumble to the kitchen to get food) so I can eat something then wait around an hour to work out.

So I work out, sometimes for an hour or longer, on an empty stomach in the morning. It rarely bothers me. In fact, I'm much more likely to have energy issues when I work out later in the day, after having eaten. I think it is more of blood sugar issue, then actually needing sustenance.

In fact, there is a theory that you burn more fat by exercising in the morning, before you eat, because your blood sugar will be low. Low blood sugar = low insulin levels; insulin tells your body to store fat. If you eat before working out, you raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, thus decreasing the fat burning impact of the exercise. But not eliminating it altogether--it is still better to eat and work out, than to not work out at all. And if you need the sustenance to get through your workout, you should absolutely eat. There's no sense in torturing yourself, especially since there are clearly differing opinions on this issue.

03-09-2008, 10:27 AM
Thanks everyone for all your advice and suggestions.
Barbara thank you very much for sharing your experience and the information about the benefits of working out on an empty stomach.
It's good to hear a number of different perspectives.
Since, like you, my only time to work out is a half an hour after I get up --5:30 or so-- I just don't have time to eat something and then wait around till I can digest it and then work out.
But I might also experiment with eating a clementine or a bit of a protein bar, but I have a feeling I will still do best on an empty stomach.

03-09-2008, 10:32 AM
It's individual. I can eat before working out and often do.

03-09-2008, 01:12 PM
KatieK, when I used to get up at that time to workout I just had coffee :coffee: and I was good to go till I cam back for breakfast an hour or so later...

03-09-2008, 02:47 PM
I too work out at 6 AM, I usually have some water. I too have digestive issues, and eating then working out is just not a pretty sight :) I'm usually not hungry until about an hour or so after I am finished working out and then I'll have my usual breakfast.

03-18-2008, 08:20 PM
Hi Katie

I used to do a lot of yoga, and I absolutely could not eat 2-3 hours before working out. Simple poses like childs pose and bow pose became VERY uncomfortable :barf: In yoga you sometimes compress your internal organs (its a good thing!), which can lead to nauseau. The most I was ever able to do was eat a few nuts before class.

I also know body builders who get up during the night to eat to make sure their bodies don't break down muscle for energy, but then again they have almost no body fat, which is not a problem I have :lol:

Have you figured out what works for you?

03-19-2008, 01:08 AM
I always work out on an empty stomach, right after I get up in the morning. I take thyroid medicine and am not supposed to eat for 60 minutes after taking it so that's how I got started doing it this way. It seems to work for me, but I do get pretty hungry during my workout and can't wait to get home to eat my big bowl of bran flakes and cereal. Lately, I've been working out harder than usual and adding some new lifts to my routine and I've been absolutely famished after my cereal. I'm not sure eating before working out would help, though. I'd probably still be hungry all morning... I have a harder time working out later in the day after I've eaten. I feel more slugglish and bloated.