Do I have to eat before a workout?

DO I HAVE TO EAT BEFORE I WORKOUT!!!!”. As I’ve posted on this before. No 🤪 you don’t HAVE to do anything. Truly. You’re an adult and can do what you want!

BUT we also have to acknowledge the outcomes of our choices vs. goals.

So no you don’t have to and your won’t die. But it likely isn’t ideal. “BUT ALYSSA I GET UP EARLY AND WOE IS ME AND I JUST CANTTTTTTT”.

Here’s the thing. When we’re sleeping our bodies and metabolisms are still running. This usually means we wake up a little dehydrated, in a fasted state, and with lower liver carb stores.

All things that do contribute to performance.

With this, we have to ask ourselves our goals. If you’re just trying to be healthy and exercise for general fitness for 20-45 min then likely your workouts may suck a bit more but it might not be the end all be all.

But if you’re doing harder effort or more goal specific work (heavy lifting, crossfit, running for a race 60+ min)…. It’s likely a good idea to have SOMETHING in your organ sac.

This DOESNT have to be a full high fiber hard to digest meal. When I lifted at 5:50am the first year or so of my PhD I would just shoot back a glass of chocolate milk & maybe some small carb based granola bar on the way.

Think: simple, easily digestible, some protein & no fiber/fat. Those make it digestion slower.

Or if you insist on training fasted maybe at least try to get some water in. & make sure you’re not going to bed with low carb intake / depleted stores.

Then simply this may be a good time to actually take a post workout protein shake to get your body protein ASAP, followed by a full standard breakfast!

20g in a shake (I suggest @legion) + almost any easy breakfast can have 20g more and you’re golden out the door heading into work/the day.

If you don’t eat a formal breakfast consider including some carbs mixed in or along your shake and maybe some fat too to help make a more complete meal.

If you’re training for something or have serious performance outcomes you also at some point may have to suck it up and eat. If you start doing this more it does get easier, your “I don’t have an appetite” feeling goes away, you find out what you CAN tolerate + digest.🤘🏻

Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.