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Athletic Fuel: Why you should eat before your morning work out

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Written by Nancy Clark MS RD

Should I eat before my morning workout?

Many morning exercisers believe they should exercise on empty, so that they will burn more fat. While that may be true, burning fat differs from losing body fat.

Losing body fat depends on your calorie intake for the entire day. That is, you can do a fat-burning workout in the morning but then erase that calorie deficit with a big scone and a latte, followed by generous meals the rest of the day. (You know, the hearty meals you “deserve to eat” because you had a hard workout earlier in the day…)

The benefits of eating before a morning workout include:

-You’ll have a better workout
-You’ll feel more alert and have energy to enjoy the workout
-You’ll provide your muscles with the fuel it needs to optimize performance
-You’ll be able to train harder and get more from your efforts
-You’ll help curb the hungry horrors after the workout

If you want to lose body fat, I suggest you plan to do that when you are sleeping, not exercising! (Sleep, after all, is a fat burning activity–if you still thank that burning fat equates to losing body fat). Your better bet is to fuel by day, have energy to enjoy exercise, and then diet (eat a little bit less) at night. Give it a try!

For more information on how to lose weight and maintain energy for exercise, read the weight loss section in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Nancy Clark MS RD has a private practice in the Boston-area where she teaches athletes one-on-one how to eat to win. She is author of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

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