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Old 08-22-2005, 04:54 AM   #1
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First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

I've heard the advantages of both sides, but what are everyone's opinions on the issue?

I've heard it's better to do your workout before you eat anything in the mornings so that you can burn off what's been stored up in your body instead of eating and then working out so that you'd have to burn what you ate before getting your stored reserves. But is it better to eat first thing in the morning so you can replenish your glycogen stores and prevent your body from going into a starvation mode?

 
Old 08-22-2005, 07:22 AM   #2
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Exercise first. Here are the reasons:

1) You burn 300% more fat if you do cardio first thing in the morning than if you do it at any other time of the day. Your body's blood sugar and glycogen stores are at their lowest level when you wake up so your body will be forced to burn fat when you exercise. If you do cardio at any other time, you will spend the first 20 minutes using up blood sugar and muscle glycogen. That's not an issue if your goal is cardiovascular fitness. But if your primary goal is fat loss, it's essentially a wasted 20 minutes. You're better off using that time lifting weights.
2) Exercising first thing in the morning gets it out of the way. Too often, people find excuses not to exercise in the evening. They get home late from work, they have to fix dinner, help the kids with homework, go to their kid's baseball game, or they're just plain tired. By exercising first thing in the morning, you won't have to worry if something comes up in the evening. If you're tired after a long day at the office, you can just relax knowing that you already did your exercise for the day.
3) Morning exercise helps jumpstart your brain. It's been shown that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more alert and better able to concentrate during the day. I know this is true for me. On days where I've exercised in the morning, I feel more awake and have an easier time focusing on my work.
4) Morning exercise puts you into a healthy mindset. Too often, people let themselves get derailed during the day. They eat a few donuts or get a burger and then tell themselves the day is wasted and they'll start fresh tomorrow. By exercising first thing in the morning, you've started the day off right and you'll want to maintain that. I've noticed that on days where I exercised in the morning, I'm less likely to make poor food choices because I'll look at those foods and tell myself that if I eat that food, the hour I spent running earlier will have been for nothing. And on days where I didn't exercise in the morning, I'll be more likely to eat a donut at the office because I'll tell myself that I can just burn off it later.

You will hear a lot of people say that morning exercise will cause muscle loss. Do not pay attention to that. That's a myth that was most likely started by bodbuilders who by nature are terrified of losing muscle. In my opinion, if you're losing muscle, it's most likely due to not eating enough. Having said that, however, it's important you do the right exercise in the morning. Lifting weights is out of the question because it requires that you have plenty of glycogen stored up. That's why weight training is best done in the evening. Likewise, high intensity cardio is not appropriate in the morning because it also requires plenty of glycogen. Instead, do cardio that's intense enough to cause you to sweat but not so intense that you can't maintain it for at least 30 minutes. In other words, try to put yourself in the fat-burning zone.

Last edited by DonutsNCoffee; 08-22-2005 at 12:48 PM.

 
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Old 08-22-2005, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

I totaly agree with DonutsNCoffee The best time to exercise is in the morning befor you eat. Also keep in mind that drinking a tall glass of ice cold water first thing in the morning will jump start you matabolism. Due to the fact that it forces you body to bring the water to a warm timperature.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Wow, Donuts, what an awesome post! Would you mind giving me your input on my exercise routine? I feel much better since starting it, my clothes and jewelry are substantially looser, but my scale is telling me I haven't lost much weight.

Here's what I do (not much, really):

Walk with two big dogs fast (2 miles in 35 minutes) after dinner five to six nights a week. This is around the 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. area.

What I'm thinking I should do instead:

Walk the same walk in the mornings five to six days a week. Then do one of two exercise videos in the evenings, maybe four or five days a week. One of my videos is cardio/strength training with a body ball. The other is the Eight-Minute series, abs, legs, buns & arms, one video being eight minutes for a total of 32 minutes.

I feel good with my diet. I've eliminated all soda, strive for a 1,500-calorie day, avoid saturated fats and trans fatty acids, but I do consume 20 to 30 grams of fat from natural sources (nuts, avacado) or olive/canola oils; eat plenty of fruits and veggies, lean meats, three servings of whole grains per day; sometimes a small glass of red wine and a daily glass of iced herbal green tea with a teaspoon of honey; about 100 to 150 ounces of water.

Ugh...I'm sooo not a morning person, but I do think I need a change. The few times in my life I've ever tried to exercise in the morning, I'm light-headed for the rest of the day. However, I am eating much better now. I also must have two cups of coffee in the morning to even remotely function. Should I have my coffee first or just exercise and hope I don't hurt myself due to my fog? Is this something you get used to quickly?

Looking forward to hearing back from you

Kindest Regards,
Lysne

 
Old 08-22-2005, 08:49 AM   #5
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

For me personally, I exercise in the morning but I find that I have to eat something first. I do a pretty long workout: 40 minutes of weight training, 30 minutes exercise bike, 30 minutes elliptical; and if I dont eat first I start getting dizzy and lightheaded.
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Old 08-22-2005, 08:54 AM   #6
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

I completely agree with DonutsnCoffee.

Personally though, I exercise in the evening, even though I know its better to do it in the morning. I am 100% NOT a morning person, and I get up at 6:30am as it is, I am not getting up any earlier So when I get home in the afternoons, I use my stationary bike, which I exercise on 4 times for 10 minute intervals, I do 5 minutes of weightligting, and 10 minutes of aerobics. And if its raining outside, I jog for about 10 minutes becaue I love jogging in the rain. Im just starting out right now, which is why I cant do the stationary bike for too long before I have to take a break. But I'll get better.

Just because its better to do it in the morning, dont get discouraged if you cant. If you have to do it in the evenings, its better to do it then than none at all.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Thanks for your input guys.

I always do workout in the mornings, for many of the reasons Donuts listed. It's like a night and day difference if I try to do it in the evenings and wears me out more than it energizes me.

The thing is that it takes me a while to actually DO the workout. I do 30-45 minutes of crunches/resistance training before I even leave my house to go to the gym, and once I get there I alternate my routine, doing weights and strength training one day and an hour on the stairclimber the next.

So I'm famished if I don't eat something before I go and half the time it's nearly lunch time before I'm finished. If I can manage to hold off on the food and do the workouts first, is the exercise enough to keep my body out of starvation mode until I CAN get some food?

 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:17 PM   #8
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DonutsNCoffee HB User
Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

StenoLady1,

If your routine is giving you results, I would stick with it. Don't make changes until you stop seeing results. There are all sorts of rules and suggestions about how to lose weight, but the bottom line is that you have to figure out what works for you. There are people out there who lose fat even though they're violating every rule of proper fat loss. Don't worry about what the scale says. Focus more on how you look, how you feel, and what your clothes tell you. I'm not a morning person either and getting up earlier is not something you'll get used to quickly. I'll have coffee before I exercise in the morning to give my system a jolt. The first 20 minutes are the hardest cause you just want to go back to bed. But after 20 minutes, you'll feel energized and won't want to stop.

Infidel,

Your workout sounds too long. You should never let your workout go past 1 hour because your body will think somethings wrong and actual slow fat burning down and encourage fat storage. I can understand wanting to eat something first. But consider this. If you want to do cardio and you eat first, the cardio won't burn fat until after 20 minutes. If you want to do weight training instead of cardio, you'll need to eat something but wait 30-60 minutes for that food to enter your system. That's why I think it's better to split cardio and weight training workouts. Do cardio in the morning and weight training in the evening when you've already had a day's full of meals to help power the workout. If you need something to help kickstart your system before morning cardio, try a cup of coffee or tea. Both are hot and have caffeine, but not a lot of calories.

Katy284,

I don't consider myself a morning person either. Up until a few years ago, I was one of those people who refused to get up before 6:30 and always slept in til 12 on the weekend. The bottom line is that if something is important, you'll make the time for it. I get up at 5:00 everyday. In the beginning, it was really hard. But after a while, I got used to it. In fact, I've read that it takes the mind about 21 days to make a new behavior into a habit. So before any of you rule out morning exercise, try it for 3 weeks. Don't just try it for a couple days and give up on it. That's a mistake that a lot of people make.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Thereís a lot pluses for exercising in the morning, itís quite for one, especially if you like to run there will hardly be anyone on the streets. It also sets you up for the day. I use to like to a morning run.
However I prefer to do exercise midday or the evening now, I always found than my morning performance was always much poorer than my fully alert state. From a performance perspective I prefer to train after lunch or early evening. However there is something about morning exercise, itís not a bad way to start the day. The most important thing is to find the best time of the day for yourself and one where you will stick at it.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Hi Donuts & Coffee,

You talk about not eating anything before exercise how much effect does this have. If I was to do a one mile run and burn 100 cals what would I burn if I didnít eat first. What Iím trying to say how much effect does eating or not eating really have on what we burn? 10%? 20%? Ė 50%? I mean if you exercise very hard for 20 minutes, you going to burn a lot of calories regardless? But are you saying that not one of them will be fat but muscle?
Iím not trying to be difficult here just trying to understand the difference between burning calories and burning fat. What are the studies out there for this? I mean if you have a calorie controlled diet and if you chose to eat before exercise or after how much effect does that really have? If you burn calories you burn energy? This is an area Iím uncertain on. Iíve always believed the key is calories not fat burning zones, which are really zones where you burn the most calories. But like I said Iím not so up on this area. Whats the really effect of operating in these fat burning zones? WHats the studies out there that show the effect. I've never took much attention to this fat burning zone theory, but perhaps I should, could you give more information on this and the studies, thanks.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:40 PM   #11
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StenoLady1 HB UserStenoLady1 HB User
Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonutsNCoffee
StenoLady1,

If your routine is giving you results, I would stick with it. Don't make changes until you stop seeing results. There are all sorts of rules and suggestions about how to lose weight, but the bottom line is that you have to figure out what works for you. There are people out there who lose fat even though they're violating every rule of proper fat loss. Don't worry about what the scale says. Focus more on how you look, how you feel, and what your clothes tell you. I'm not a morning person either and getting up earlier is not something you'll get used to quickly. I'll have coffee before I exercise in the morning to give my system a jolt. The first 20 minutes are the hardest cause you just want to go back to bed. But after 20 minutes, you'll feel energized and won't want to stop.
Thank you for the quick response, Donuts

This thread (and you) have given me much food for thought

I've just about given up on the scale. I live in Fl where it's extremely hot and humid (today it's 96 with the heat index of 107), so I've been kind of chalking up the scale's, shall we say, moodiness to water retention. Although, I can finally easily get my wedding ring off, which I haven't been able to do in over two years, and I've gone down one size in six weeks. The hubby gets on the scale every week and it's two pounds lower. I was just getting frustrated that I wasn't seeing that on the scale.

I agree with you, tho, about getting exercise out of the way in the morning. That sounds like a big plus and just makes good sense. Evenings do get hectic, and we're adamant about walking no matter what. After work, dinner and cleanup, sometimes I feel like my body is ready to wind down for the day, not go do something vigorous and sweaty.

Maybe we'll take it slow and just mix it up a bit, try walking one morning a week to start and see how we do, then slowly increase if we're finding more benefits with that versus evening walks. The treadmill makes me dizzy when I'm done, and mornings in my neighborhood are pretty busy with vehicular traffic, so I will most definitely have some java before just trucking out

Thanks again for your input
Lysne

 
Old 08-22-2005, 02:02 PM   #12
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

I myself prefer working out in the morning because it energizes me for the rest of the day and I don't worry about being too tired after work or making my way through a crowded gym.

Personally, I do not care for fasted cardio. I don't feel I can workout with the same intensity on an empty stomach as I can with a good breakfast.

Having said that, I believe what works best all depends on what works best for YOU. So if you find that working out on an empty stomach leaves you feeling sick, eat a healthy meal beforehand. If you find that you prefer working out fasted, do that. Same applies to WHEN you work out. Do what works best for you and your schedule.

Any benefit that comes from working out in the morning and fasted, aren't going to work for you if you find that you can't get into it.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 02:22 PM   #13
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Hi Stenolady,

Caffeine is a performance enhancer as well as a diuretic; it was banned for many years by the Olympic committee as a measure how effective it can be. Nothing wrong with having caffeine before exercise it can really give you a boost but just for safety I would advise you take at least one big glass of water at the same time. Exercising while dehydrated could put extra strain on your heart. That dizziness could be caused by dehydration and your going to be even more vulnerable in the mornings after you wakeup, so just make sure you are fully hydrated especially if your going to take caffeine.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 02:49 PM   #14
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StenoLady1 HB UserStenoLady1 HB User
Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

Hi, Sixbells

Thanx for the tip there on the water with java. I would have never thought to do that. Maybe that's why I'm finding activity late in the day enjoyable; I never drank water in the mornings before when attempting a workout, then was dizzy, then said forget this.

Just to clarify also on the dizziness, years ago I attempted to work out in the morning and felt dizzy. I always exercised in the evenings after that. The treadmill makes me dizzy because I have equilibrium troubles. I still feel like I'm moving for hours after I'm done, no matter what time I use it. I also get severely car sick if I'm not driving, merry-go-rounds, hanging my head upside down for more than 30 seconds (yoga didn't agree with me)...the list goes on and on.

Okay...think I'm ready to go tomorrow morning. Hubby says he'll do whatever I want, "Yes, Dear", so he's game. Now for the real question...how do I get my dogs up so early??? They're such sleepy-heads in the mornings, really to the point it's almost comical. The walks are for them, too (my older lab has a triglyceride level of 377, so she must walk daily, according to vet). I'm hoping they'll "wake up" when they see their leashes, but we'll see

Awesome tips...y'all are just great

Lysne

Last edited by StenoLady1; 08-22-2005 at 02:56 PM.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 03:14 PM   #15
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Re: First thing in the morning: Eat or Exercise?

SIXBELLS99,
If you eat before you train the first twenty minutes of your workout your body burns only glycogen (sugar). Try drinking a tall glass of ice cold water and training before anything this will ensure MORE fat loss. In order to maintain muscle you build though you have about one hour after training to take in your protein,vitamins,carbs and other supplements or food. Remember Take in one gram of protein per pound of body fat. Try spreading this out through six small meals every two hours , and take in twice as much carbs during weight training. Good Luck

 
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