Article by: Finn Coleman
Should I eat before morning training?
Many people love to train early in the morning. Getting a good sweat on before starting your working day is a great feeling, and can fit better into a busy work or family schedule. In The Ironfist Gym’s morning classes, our early risers will often ask, “should I eat before I train?” When it comes to fueling up before a workout, the timing of your food intake prior to training will determine what and how much you should be eating. At the end of the day, it is always better to eat something before training, however what and how much will depend on your schedule, the intensity of your workout, and your personal preferences.
How long before training can you eat?
The first thing to consider before morning training is how long before the session you are able to eat. Because carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body when doing high intensity exercise, it is important to fuel your body with the right type of carbs prior to training. The types of carbohydrates you will be able to effectively use in your workout if you can eat 2-3 hours before training looks quite different than if you only have an hour or less to eat.
The Glycemic Index (or GI) ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar level. The higher the number, the faster your blood sugar levels will rise. If you only have an hour or less to eat, you will want something on the higher end, whereas if you have longer to absorb your meal, you want something lower on the scale.
If you have ample time to eat before a morning workout, which is always preferable, you should be focusing on a more substantial meal with complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates like oats and whole grain bread are broken down more slowly in the body, providing sustained energy.
Every individual reacts differently to foods, and particularly first thing in the morning. While it is important to fuel yourself, eating prior to training is a process of trial and error to work out what foods fuel you, without overdoing it.
2-3 hours is usually enough time for your body to absorb a bigger meal with complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. A big breakfast with eggs, greens and wholegrain toast, or a smoothie with oats, fruit, protein powder and yoghurt are two great options.
1 hour or less
The smaller the window between eating and training, the more you will be looking at simple carbohydrates to provide fuel. Simple carbs are a faster acting but less sustainable form of energy than complex carbs. While it is better to have complex carbohydrates before a workout, sometimes this just isn’t realistic when it comes to training early, because your body won’t have enough time to absorb those nutrients.
Simple carbohydrates will give your blood sugar levels a quick boost – options include bananas, honey, energy gels or white bread.
If you don’t have time for a big meal before training, make sure you have something post-workout containing the nutrients that you did not have time to consume; getting your protein intake in is the most important.
How intense will the session be?
The intensity of exercise that you will be doing matters. If you are doing a light session, it is easier to get away with a smaller quantity of food in the morning, however if you are doing a heavier session, you have to be adequately fueled. You cannot expect to perform well if you haven’t eaten anything.
Because our morning classes at Ironfist will give you a great workout, it is important that you fuel up beforehand, even if that means just having a banana or some white bread with honey.
Remember, while carbohydrates will be the main source of energy for your workouts, you have to meet your nutritional needs throughout the day – this means plenty of protein, good carbs, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. It goes without saying, always hydrate yourself before training!
The Ironfist Gym Brisbane runs morning classes all through the week. Get in touch here to book in today.
Address: 2/4 Devlan St, Mansfield QLD 4122
Phone: (+07) 0431 685 085
Check out our timetable for more details.