Should I eat before an early morning workout

Commented on February 05, 2015
Created February 08, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Ok, So I've been eating Paleo for about a month now AND I've joined Crossfit, so I've made some major changes in both diet and exercise. Here's my question--I read somewhere when I was doing 'Body for Life' that you burn up to 300% more calories in your morning workout if you don't eat beforehand. That was about 3 years ago so I started waiting to drink my protein shake until after my early morning workout (5 or 6am). Now my coach says eat something before you come and lift heavy weights. I've started eating eggs again for breakfast but don't have a lot of interest in eating something at 5 in the morning before heading to my workout. Seems like when I do eat that I have less energy instead of more (my own personal theory was my body was spending energy digesting food instead of lifting weights). What should I do?

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3 Answers

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on February 09, 2014
at 07:01 PM

I am on a low carb, high fat diet. I have no problem working out on an empty stomach. It is a cool feeling to be able to run 10 miles with eating anything prior to the workout. I also enjoy the fact that I now recover very quickly and am able to to a long run the next day...no problem.

I would suggest experimenting to see if fasting works for you. If you are worried about have enough energy, you might try working out fasted but bring along some food as a safety net just in case.


on February 09, 2014
at 03:01 PM

I always workout fasted my bootcamp is 5:30-6:30 am... I have noticed I have much more energy and stamina if I'm fasted otherwise if I do eat I feel sluggish. You should be refueling after crossfit at least that is what works for me


on February 09, 2014
at 02:54 AM

Yes. There was a series of articles on this on bodybuilding.com, they cited physiology journal articles. Not eating before will end up in a net loss of muscle. Even if you have lots of fat to burn. The 300% more calories is burned from the wrong source.

You should eat real food an hour before, although a shake is fine if you're short on time, but it needs to be digested before you start. If you are digesting while you workout your blood is concentrated in your intestines to absorb the food, so it cant go to your muscles to deliver oxygen. Same thing goes for eating drinking while you workout. Unless you're doing super endurance training (more than 2 hours) you should only drink water, and drink it frequently.

Always have your shake after, especially if you're lifting. If you don't drink it within half an hour of finishing the main part of the workout (abs does not count), then it is not doing much good.


on February 05, 2015
at 05:12 PM

Oof. Getting up an Extra hour early to eat would be tough. I normally get up and immediately run to the gym to lift. 

I pre-prep my breakfasts. Do you think it would be effective to eat, nap for ~45, and then head to the gym to lift? This would be much less tricky than waking up (and staying up) a full hour earlier.

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