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A.M. Workouts - To Eat or Not to Eat... That's the Question

posted Nov 3, 2014, 1:17 PM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Nov 4, 2014, 9:35 AM ]
I just got back into the habit of doing a WALK with Leslie Sansone every morning in a personal challenge to 'Wake up and WALK!' A fellow walker asked me if she should eat breakfast before or after her morning workout. Some would say you should eat beforehand so you have 'gas in the tank.' The best advice I can give on this is to know your body and how it responds first thing in the morning.

I choose to eat after my workout, which is choice based on personal experience. If I eat breakfast first, I will have to wait at least 30 minutes before exercising, otherwise I feel sluggish and heavy. My whole purpose of getting up early is to get the walk out of the way so I can get on with my day. I opt instead to drink a glass of orange juice before - this is one of the best sources of simple sugars that turns into fast energy for the body. I drink water as well, and keep a bottle handy and drink here and there throughout the workout to ensure I'm hydrated. My morning workouts are not typically vigorous, either - I save those for later in the day when I'm at my peak.

Now bear in mind that I'm a healthy adult who is not struggling with metabolic disorders or other health issues. Someone with Type 2 Diabetes, for example, should always check his or her blood glucose levels before a workout, regardless of time of day, and ingest carbs as needed based on guidelines provided by a medical professional. If you're concerned about energy levels, then by all means ingest some carbs before you work out in the morning. 

One thing I try to do is eat my breakfast (which usually includes whole wheat toast, an omelette, and a bit of dairy) within 30 minutes of working out. Regardless of when you exercise, ingesting carbs and protein right after is good practice - it gives your body a jump-start on tissue repair and replenishment of glycogen stores in the muscles in preparation for your next workout. 

*Always consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise program.*