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  1. #1
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    Skipping breakfast before morning workout

    I heard on the radio about a recent study that skipping breakfast before a morning workout helps burn fat. The logic behind it is that your body is low on carbs so gets energy from ones fat reserves. The study recommended eating a breakfast high in carbs (like oatmeal) after the workout to replenish your blood sugar level. If you're lifting weights, I'd recommend a post workout snack with a 3-1 or 4-1 carb to protein ratio.

    I tried this this morning and didn't notice a difference performance wise. I woke up, went on a 50 mile bike ride and just had a clif bar, a clif shot and some gatorade along the way.

  2. #2
    gran jefe
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    wow. i feel pretty sure that i would have completely bonked if i had done that. it does make sense to me that you would burn more fat, but i would think that i would need to go pretty easy to keep from running out of energy.

  3. #3
    Save Jesus
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    This sounds similar to "intermittent fasting".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    wow. i feel pretty sure that i would have completely bonked if i had done that. it does make sense to me that you would burn more fat, but i would think that i would need to go pretty easy to keep from running out of energy.
    I would have have felt the same way until I tried it. I was planning to stop at a gas station for additional food and especially gatorade but felt surprisingly good. One thing I've noticed is that the better shape I get in, the less food and water I consume while riding. If I'm doing something really intense and hitting my VO2 I'll consume a ton of water. But if I'm doing a lower intensity workout (like a steady road ride) I don't need as much.

  5. #5
    gran jefe
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    interesting observation. makes sense.

  6. #6
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I heard on the radio about a recent study that skipping breakfast before a morning workout helps burn fat. The logic behind it is that your body is low on carbs so gets energy from ones fat reserves.
    It's been around for a long time and lots of discussion since an article was published 10 years ago in Bicycling Magazine. Link to it all here.

  7. #7
    bt
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    i hate eating before pedaling. hard to breath, etc.

    don't know about weight loss.

  8. #8
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    Here's an interesting blog that relates:
    Burning Fat for Fuel

    Stu Mittleman Training and Diet

  9. #9
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    I do that before my weekend runs.

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    You'll probably lose weight, for me though I'd make a fruit smoothie or something. Something to just get you going.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I heard on the radio about a recent study that skipping breakfast before a morning workout helps burn fat. The logic behind it is that your body is low on carbs so gets energy from ones fat reserves. The study recommended eating a breakfast high in carbs (like oatmeal) after the workout to replenish your blood sugar level. If you're lifting weights, I'd recommend a post workout snack with a 3-1 or 4-1 carb to protein ratio.

    I tried this this morning and didn't notice a difference performance wise. I woke up, went on a 50 mile bike ride and just had a clif bar, a clif shot and some gatorade along the way.
    I run just about every morning. I almost always skip breakfast before heading out--granted, my runs are less comparable to a 50-mile ride. I always make sure to eat when I get back. Some oatmeal or granola, peanut butter on toast, and fruits (and a pot of coffee). I feel great the rest of the day.

    I would say it works. I weigh 175 and am 6'5''. Maybe even too thin.

  12. #12
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    I don't know if it actually helps burn fat, but as a long time marathoner I almost always did medium-distance training runs (<12 miles) without having breakfast before. I think as long as I ate well the day before, I never noticed a difference or a performance deficit.

  13. #13
    Give it a crank
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    I just skip solid foods but can't go out the door without a cup of coffee to get jump started. Solid food, even just a toast, makes me more sluggish than usual.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I heard on the radio about a recent study that skipping breakfast before a morning workout helps burn fat. The logic behind it is that your body is low on carbs so gets energy from ones fat reserves. The study recommended eating a breakfast high in carbs (like oatmeal) after the workout to replenish your blood sugar level. If you're lifting weights, I'd recommend a post workout snack with a 3-1 or 4-1 carb to protein ratio.

    I tried this this morning and didn't notice a difference performance wise. I woke up, went on a 50 mile bike ride and just had a clif bar, a clif shot and some gatorade along the way.
    I'll try to keep it short and should mention it is a double edged sword for some but it works like this....
    To loose fat and maintain muscle you should avoid "fasting mode". About 3-4 hours after eating your food fuel runs out and you enter fasting mode. At that point, you start to run off stores of fat and depending on your diet, condition, and genes, eventually muscle. Since when you wake you haven't eaten for over 3-4 hours you're in fasting mode like it or not. So if you don't plan on exercising you should eat asap to get your metab moving and get out of fasting. If you exercise while in fasting mode you immediately start burning stores, but regardless of exercise type, you should eat right after at about a 4:1 ratio, unless your goal is to be scrawny with a pot belly.
    OK now, all other times you should avoid fasting mode because like it or not, once in fasting mode your body WILL store from your next meal as a precaution for the next fasting event. So to avoid fasting and therefore storage, eat smaller meals more often.
    The 2 best times to do cardio to loose fat is when you wake, or after a weight a training session because like it or not you're into or very close to fasting so your efforts will start cutting fat right away, unlike when you have food energy available it takes 20-30 minutes for most before you even start cutting into stores. You're still burning calories, just not stored calories.
    Some people find this technique/trick a total waste, while others have great results. Either way, you must do it for a few weeks for your body to realize it has a constant flow of food so it doesn't need to store for times of need.
    Hope this helps some.
    Last edited by theMeat; 07-17-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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  15. #15
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    ^ theMeat, can you explain fasting mode a bit and any scientific evidence behind it?
    By food fuel, do you mean glycogen? How you do know it runs out in 3-4 hours?

    It can probably be debated but Wikipedia says it 8-12 hours:

    After a meal has been digested and glucose levels begin to fall, insulin secretion is reduced, and glycogen synthesis stops. When it is needed for energy, glycogen is broken down and converted again to glucose. Glycogen phosphorylase is the primary enzyme of glycogen breakdown. For the next 812 hours, glucose derived from liver glycogen will be the primary source of blood glucose to be used by the rest of the body for fuel.
    When glycogen is depleted, the body will first burn fat stores before muscle. I could be wrong, but I find it hard to believe that if you don't eat every 3-4 hours, you're body will burn muscle.

    As a disclaimer, I'm a big snacker myself. I wouldn't recommend skipping meals, but don't think a meal is necessary just before a typical aerobic exercise.

  16. #16
    gran jefe
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    i'd say glycogen might last 8-12 hours if you are sedentary, much less (like 3-4 hrs)if you are active.

  17. #17
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    Nothing very scientific comes to mind, but will say I think you're only looking at part of the picture. All foods/liquids are used for different things and get used up at different rates. Sure some things are generalizable but genes, condition, activity level as Bill said, diet and timing of it can be very personal in terms of achieving goals. Will also say that methods such as this are usually used for the last few stubborn pounds and/or as an added jolt to a weight loss plan that has plateaued. Also, If you're new to dieting and/or fitness you can be much more generalizable because just about any improvements you make will/should have more impact.
    I'm not going to argue with Wikipedia but the way I look at it is this... diet for size control, and exercise for strength/stamina gains. But diet can always control size, althou exercise can help that, fitness gains NEED a good diet much more unless you like to work twice as hard to achieve the same goals.
    To be honest, what your blood sugar level is or should be, what your liver does to make more energy, glycogen, insulin, glucose, etc, just confuses me. And phosphorylase ?, wtf is that. While I'm sure I could wrap my mind around it if I tried hard enough, I'm happy just to know what works for me and what others have had success with from years of gym going, cycling and just being interested.
    If I've learned anything about diet and fitness it's that there's more than one way to skin a cat, what works well for some won't work for everyone, and everything works, sometimes wonderfully, for a while. It's not like if you do this one trick you're going to have a chiseled physique or win cycling races, it's just another tool you can keep in your shed that can help get the job done.

    .
    Last edited by theMeat; 07-19-2012 at 10:00 AM.
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  18. #18
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    ^ I was trying to look at in a scientific and accurate way. I'm not sure about your assumption with "eating every 3-4 hours -- fasting mode -- will cause muscle loss" and was wondering why you feel that way. My problem with the nutrition industry is there's a lot of misconceptions based on people and companies pushing their agendas.

  19. #19
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    Starvation mode is crap. Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health

    Mark's Daily Apple is another good one.

    Personally, I'm fine if I don't eat. You don't want to push your stomach into your diaphragm and interfere with your breathing anyway.

  20. #20
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    I've found that I operate better on no breakfast. The other day I didn't eat breakfast and put down 22 miles feeling totally fine. Today I got up and made a bagel with peanut butter and bananas, waited about 45 minutes, and then headed out to ride. After the first few miles I felt like I was going to puke all over the place. I didn't, but it made riding uncomfortable and I called it quits after 11 miles. Maybe the food was too heavy for breakfast and I'd be better off just going with the banana.
    Amassing Miles - My Little Cycling Blog

  21. #21
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    eat your wheaties.

  22. #22
    turtles make me hot
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    I used to eat breakfast before a morning ride. I started taking morning rides only eating a 2" x 2" hunk of homemade energy bar and 16 oz 0f orange FRS. I've noticed I ride better on only that. I save the coffee for the ride home from the trail.
    I like turtles

  23. #23
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    When I'm working at my job, I eat a good breakfast and every 2-3 hours through out the day,( when I'm on maintenance). Before an early morning workout (5am) a banana is enough for me. When going for a long hard trail ride, I eat a bowl of whole grain cereal and a protein shake for sustenance to ride for 5 hours or so.During the ride I probably have a cliff bar and some hammer gel as well.I also believe that fasting does not work. I find small meals often and counting calories is what you want for weight loss, but for riding stamina, I need to eat a light good meal before a ride or a long workout.
    2008 GT Force
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorTC View Post
    I've found that I operate better on no breakfast. The other day I didn't eat breakfast and put down 22 miles feeling totally fine. Today I got up and made a bagel with peanut butter and bananas, waited about 45 minutes, and then headed out to ride. After the first few miles I felt like I was going to puke all over the place. I didn't, but it made riding uncomfortable and I called it quits after 11 miles. Maybe the food was too heavy for breakfast and I'd be better off just going with the banana.
    Could have been the peanut butter. It digests so slowly I always try to avoid it before any exercise.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    ^ I was trying to look at in a scientific and accurate way. I'm not sure about your assumption with "eating every 3-4 hours -- fasting mode -- will cause muscle loss" and was wondering why you feel that way. My problem with the nutrition industry is there's a lot of misconceptions based on people and companies pushing their agendas.
    That's not quite what I said, and I have no agenda so whatever you wanna take from my posts is cool with me. Just putting out some tried and true info, even if it's more in a nutshell, and not a petri dish, it's still sound advice, and it still works for many.
    Proteins are what your muscles need to build and recover, and most types of protein are used up in a few hours so?.
    Last edited by theMeat; 07-18-2012 at 11:34 PM.
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