I go to the gym as the very first thing I do in the morning (5 a.m.). I keep hearing/ reading you should eat and not work out on an empty stomach. What would be a good thing to eat before I get to the gym and start working out? I’m kind of on a time crunch when I get to the gym, so I don’t have a ½ hour to wait for food to digest. Any suggestions? Also, can one get good results from not eating first thing in the morning? (I lift weights and do cardio in one workout). – Heather S.
Before you head off to the gym, just eat a piece of fruit or cup of applesauce since you don’t have time for more solid food to digest. Provided you’ve stayed hydrated and eaten well the night before, that’s all you really need to jump-start your morning routine and get a good workout. The natural sugars in the fruit are enough to bring blood sugar up from any overnight lull. If fruit isn’t your thing, then choose a slice of cinnamon bread or a few graham crackers. Some people prefer liquids, such as a small light ready-to-drink breakfast shake. Even a just cup of nonfat milk will do.
The point is to have a carbohydrate source that is easily digested so it gets absorbed quickly. Sugar in the blood means fuel for the muscles. And a solid workout is what will give you “good results.” Wimping out due to fatigue or lack of energy won’t.
Don’t miss the opportunity to replenish after your workout! Especially when you haven’t eaten prior to exercise, a good recovery meal is critical to nourishing your body for the whole day. Be sure to have something prepared to eat immediately after exercising (or at least before you head back to the parking lot). Make sure you do get some protein with your starch, but no heavy fats. It doesn’t have to be traditional morning meal fare. A room temperature bowl of soba noodle salad is actually better than a breakfast burrito!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?