breakfast before workout

Breakfast Before Training – Should You Do It?

Author: Anne Jonson

Diet & Nutrition Expert

Breakfast before training? Especially when you workout in the morning, it often no longer fits into the schedule. We’ll tell you why you should still have breakfast. And what’s right now.

Monday morning 6:00 a.m. While the city is still asleep, prepare for your workout. It begins in one hour. Unless you wake up at 4 to eat, a big breakfast before your workout is usually not on the agenda. Still, what you eat now decides whether you have a good workout or feel tired and burned out.

Basically, you should always eat something after training. Unfortunately, when it comes to pre-workout breakfast, there isn’t one golden rule that always works. As different as life, training, goals and habits are, so are our bodies. This is why there is no such thing as a pre-workout breakfast that is right for everyone. There are still a few basic rules.

The most important one is: Eating a little something before training always makes sense. Protein shakes and fruit, paleo bars, nuts & berries or other small snacks.

Benefits of having breakfast before workout

Breakfast before training provides energy

Overnight, your body recovers from the day and previous workouts. To do this, the carbohydrate stores are emptied and protein synthesis runs at full speed. That means that in the morning the energy that is available for training is scarce.

With breakfast, you replenish it and provide more energy during training. This has a positive effect on your strength and coordination performance. The ideal carb snack, for example, is a paleo bar.

Breakfast before training protects the muscles

In order to perform well in sport, your body uses various energy sources. Energy source number 1 is always carbohydrates or the glycogen that the body stores in muscle cells from the carbohydrates in your meals.

But fat and protein are also used as energy sources. If you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body can break down muscles in order to use their protein for energy. Pre-workout amino acids can counteract this process.

Especially if you have little time in the morning to have breakfast, but still want to support your amino acid intake in the morning before training, essential amino acids, for example in the form of capsules, make sense.

Breakfast before training supports muscle growth

If you’re training to build muscle, breakfast before your workout makes sense. During a workout with heavy weights, the muscles are put into a catabolic – i.e. muscle-breaking – state. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins and therefore your muscles.

If you ensure a sensible intake of amino acids – especially BCAAs – before training, you lay the perfect foundation for building muscle. In addition, the anabolic hormone insulin – which supports muscle building – is released after every meal.

Disadvantages of having breakfast before workout

The only real downside to pre-workout breakfast is timing. In order not to be in the gym on a full stomach, there should be a few hours between breakfast and training. A full stomach during exercise can cause side stitches and drain your energy.

The strength that your body needs to digest is missing in a workout. An uncomfortable feeling of heaviness comes on top.

The ideal time for a pre-workout meal is different for each of us. As a guide, you can orientate yourself 3 hours before training. This can often not be done in the morning unless you want to get up at 4 a.m. So having a proper breakfast before training requires at least meal prep and reasonable planning. Or you can use smart snacks. If you train early, this is definitely the best option. It’s best to eat something that contains carbohydrates the night before.

What should I eat for breakfast before a workout?

Drinking enough before training is essential. Half a liter of water immediately after getting up and a few extra sips just before training are ideal. The portion size is also crucial. 3 – 4 hours before the workout, you can still have an extensive breakfast. The shorter the time, the smaller your snack should be. There should be at least 20-30 minutes between training and the last snack.

Which breakfast is best before training depends on how much time there is between workout and eating. Low-fat meals with 10-20 g of protein are always ideal.

The main difference lies in the type of carbohydrates. If there are 2-3 hours between breakfast and training, you should rely on long-chain carbohydrates. They supply your body with energy evenly over a longer period of time. You can find long-chain carbohydrates, for example, in whole grain bread or our protein muesli or protein porridge.

If the time until breakfast is shorter, short-chain carbohydrates are particularly suitable. They quickly provide your body with usable energy. You can find them in fruits and dried fruits, for example.

Important to know

After training is before training. What you eat in the evening also has an impact on how your workout goes the next morning. It’s not for nothing that runners have the “Pasta Party”, which is traditionally celebrated on the eve of a marathon. The motto: pasta, pasta, pasta. The idea: eat so many carbohydrates in the evening that the carbohydrate stores are still full in the morning.

Are you in the muscle building phase anyway? Super. Then try out whether carbohydrates make you fit for your morning workout in the evening. However, if you’re working to make the love handles disappear, a protein shake makes more sense.

Conclusion: Breakfast before Workout

  • Breakfast before training supports your performance.
  • Eat low-fat, high-protein and carbohydrates.
  • Which breakfast is suitable before training depends on each person.
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