Should I eat breakfast before going to the gym?
This question comes up a lot in the fitness world. There are many different ideas on this topic and what is best for you. Like many things concerning health, there is no clear black and white answer to this question. Studies have shown the benefits of working out without breakfast, you can lose up to 20% more fat. There are other studies which try to show negative effects, which we will delve into.
The human body relies on three different dietary sources for maintaining it’s functions: Carbohydrates, fats and protein. There are many debates, without resolution, as to which energy source is the most efficient for losing weight and gaining muscle. There are diets that range from high fat to low fat, and high carb to low carb. It is easy to get confused by all of this information.
When you sleep, your body uses the carbohydrates that are stored to maintain the proper function of your organs. It is a complicated process, but I will avoid using any boring and confusing scientific terminology and we will just leave it at that.
So, as you may assume, your body will be low on carbs when you wake up. Carbohydrates are the fastest producers of energy in the human body, and once your body uses all of the carbohydrates, it will begin burning the next best source: fat.
It’s Good to Burn Fat, isn’t it?
The main reason for exercise is to gain muscle and lose fat, so what is the dilemma?
Well, there are some schools of thought that think not eating breakfast will actually slow down your metabolism to conserve fuel. One obvious point that these detractors apparently ignore is the fact that EXERCISE WILL BOOST YOUR METABOLISM!!!
While we are on the subject of burning fat, it is important to note that the body rarely, if ever, relies on just one source for energy. It is usually relying on a combination of both carbs and fats for energy. The ratio will just be slightly different when you are low on carbs, and a higher percentage of fats will be used.
Higher insulin levels can reduce the break down of fats. The body sees an increase in insulin after eating. Again, we can use common sense to deduce that you will burn more fat without eating breakfast first.
Adaptation of the Human Body
One principle that I really like about the idea of avoiding breakfast before morning workouts is this: You are training your body to burn fat effectively. You will notice that you may feel lethargic or slow the first couple of times you try working out on an empty stomach, but you will eventually become acclimated to it. The human body shows amazing prowess for adaptation, it will literally change its physiology.
Exercise can have a positive affect on dietary choices, so you may find yourself choosing a healthier meal after a workout. The stress from exercise initiates a release of endorphins to the brain, which makes you happier. When you are happy, you are less likely to make those poor dietary choices which may be based on a negative and unhappy mindset.
Everybody is different, wait… Let’s rephrase that: every body is different. It is important to find what works best for you. Test things out for yourself and see how you feel. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.