The Maintenance Library - "Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast" article

12-15-2010, 02:03 PM
I came across this article in the NY Times today:

Interesting... Though I don't normally exercise before breakfast, I have in the past and definitely noticed a difference in hunger levels all day. I currently exercise around 4:30 after work M-F, and I will be very hungry afterwards (conveniently this coincides with dinnertime), but "normally" hungry the next morning. There have been times where I did work out early more regularly, though, and was ravenous all day. I figured it was just from revving my metabolism early in the day, but this study says that the group that worked out hard after breakfast, still pretty early in the day, didn't lose as much as the pre-breakfast exercisers.

I have long wished I could handle getting up early enough to exercise, but it has never worked for me. But this is yet another reason for early AM exercising!

12-15-2010, 02:21 PM
I'm so confused.. I heard if you workout before eating in the morning, and keep it up, it somehow slows down your metabolism?

12-15-2010, 03:23 PM
Cite, please, Transporter?

12-19-2010, 07:53 PM
I heard that until you eat breakfast/the first meal of the day, your metabolism is running slower than usual because you've gone hours without food. I wouldn't want to 'waste' the higher calorie burn caused by exercise when my metabolism is running low.

The only benefit I had was that I wasn't as tempted to overeat for the rest of the day because it'd cancel out the exercise calories burned. Also, it got the exercise out of the way before excuses started.

12-19-2010, 07:56 PM
28 healthy, active young men

That's who the study was conducted on. I am hesitant to adopt the results to my lifestyle since there were no women in the study, and their metabolism and body make up is completely different than mine (and I'm guessing most people on this board.)

12-22-2010, 10:43 AM
A lot of the people who do paleo-type eating and also do intermittent fasting swear by working out in a fasted state. Especially Brad Pilon of Eat-Stop-Eat. He makes a pretty good argument in his book for why working out in a fasted state allows you to burn fat instead of food calories.

12-22-2010, 12:07 PM
I think the best time to exercise is when it is best for you. I exercise after 5pm for the most part. Sometimes I'll do morning exercise but its been a long time since that has been true.

12-22-2010, 04:55 PM
Y'know, I tried to exercise in the am. Got my heart pumping and all, but with my size, got me limping and groaning all day long. I guess I have to be a healthy young man to benefit, LOL!

12-24-2010, 06:37 PM
An MD, commenting on the study in the discussion section underneath, hypothesized that the only reason the exercise-before-breakfast group did "better" (didn't gain as much weight) on the high-calorie plus exercise regimen of the study, was because they were forced to burn their own muscle tissue for fuel prior to a meal, thus causing their overall body weight not to increase. The researchers didn't measure body composition before and after, so he certainly could be right. I for one am not planning to change my post-breakfast exercise habit based only on this study.

12-24-2010, 06:57 PM
AGREED!!!^^ Alot of bodybuilders I knew did this, and I tried, but would my performance would ALWAYS be lacking, sometimes I couldn't even complete the workout...and I'd feel faint and was HORRIBLE!:eek: I just cannot believe exercising on an empty stomach first thing in the morning could possible be GOOD for anybody. Like the poster before me said, YOU ARE BURNING MUSCLE...why would anyone want to do that?

12-26-2010, 06:27 AM
I've read several conflicting pieces of advice / articles about that topic, and I must say, I still don't know what's true. ^^; The only thing I know, through personal experience, is that I can't do weight-lifting first thing in the morning (nor right after eating a full meal), but on the other hand, when I want to run for a solid 1+ hour, I do better before breakfast, on an empty stomach. This may have something to do with the fact that I lack proper energy for the 2-3 hours following eating something--and since I have to eat some kind of mini-meal every 3 hours or so, this doesn't leave me with much of a window for cardio training. :( (Note that it works for me for shorter bouts of exercising, like 30 mins max--just not for running more than 8 km in a row.)

But I must also admit that I've renounced understanding how my body works. It seems to do everything backwards these days, including having an easier time maintaining its weight loss now that I'm 31, compared to when I was 20 and couldn't eat an apple without gaining 1 lb.

I guess it amounts down to whatever works best for every individual, as usual?

12-26-2010, 09:04 AM
I alternate between the two methods. I'm not a breakfast person so I PREFER to workout on an empty stomach since I workout at 5:00 AM. But when my weight loss stalls I often switch to eating a banana before working out. Then when I stall again I switch back to working out on an empty stomach. Honestly, I see and feel no difference. I think it's the switching that works for me.

01-07-2011, 11:19 PM
I actually have been doing this since I started. I wake up and go to the gym I wait an hour after my cardio to eat and after weight training days I eat right away. It was something that was suggested in the Body for Life plan that I follow. I get my first 32 ounces of water in during my workouts.

I also eat right before I go to bed too though, usually Greek yogurt or blended cottage cheese, packet of Splenda or Stevia, and strawberries because it's best to have dairy before going to bed if you're going to have anything because of the slow digesting casein that's found in it.

Anyhow, I haven't had a problem with it! When I plan my meals and eat clean I lose nice amounts each week. I can tell when it's a week that I've put 100% vs 60%. I'm happy with my 60% because at least I'm not gaining!

Whatever floats your boat I guess! As long as it's melting away I don't think it really matters :)