Health Team

Study: Exercise before breakfast helps weight loss

Posted December 29, 2010

— Paul Beirne said he only consumes a strong cup of black coffee before he works out in the morning.

“I can’t do cardio if I eat anything before I come to the gym, but I have a big breakfast afterwards,” he said.

A new study in the Journal of Physiology suggests exercising in the morning before breakfast might be the fastest way to lose weight.

Researchers in Belgium followed three groups of young men for six weeks. The first group ate a fatty breakfast and did not work out. The second group had a carbohydrate-packed meal before working out. The third group worked out first then ate the same carb-filled meal.

The group that ate but didn't work out packed on six pounds. The group that ate before working out gained about three pounds.

Those who ate after their workout gained almost no weight.

“The conclusion to this seems to be that if you do not eat breakfast and you are fit, you’re going to access fat as a fuel source for a workout,” personal trainer David Harris said.

For people who don’t like putting breakfast off, some fitness experts recommend eating a little something to provide energy and get the most out of the work out.

“You should not be eating a heavy carbohydrate-filled breakfast, but a piece of fruit would do you good,” Harris said.

Study suggests exercising before breakfast Study suggests exercising before breakfast

Billy Lopresto said he needs some fuel in the tank to work out.

“You have to have some sort of carbohydrate in the morning, otherwise, you’ll fall apart,” he said.

The study also showed that people who waited to eat until after their workout had a lower blood sugar level, reducing their risk of diabetes.


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  • Stand-In-The-Door Jan 4, 2011

    Does it take a study to tell us something we already knew?

  • dbass Jan 3, 2011

    Fits my routine too - 3 to 5 mile run first thing in the morning, followed by a light breakfast. Haven't had any problems, and my weight is down about 30 pounds (not just from that, of course.)

  • aloflin Jan 3, 2011

    I agree, eat breakfast AFTER the workout. I workout from 5 am to 7 am during the week and there's no way I could eat before working out!!! During the weekends I generally sleep later, thus making my workout slightly later, so I do eat before working out and I don't feel nearly as pepped up as I do when I eat after the workout.

  • PlanetX Dec 30, 2010

    I agree with Baybee Doll - really bad advice. There's nothing worse than a sugar crash at the gym - been there done that.

  • Baybee Doll Dec 30, 2010

    Your blood sugar will be low, alright...low enough to make you pass out! You are asking for trouble if you exercise without eating all night & then delaying breakfast on top of it. What dangerous advice! I think having fruit or a couple of slices of ham or some protein b4 the workout would be better than starving.

  • Felton23 Dec 30, 2010

    You should exercise at a time that is convenient for you and keeps you motivated. Otherwise, you will grow to hate it, and then quit. I prefer to work out around 4:30pm, right after work. A morning workout would not keep me motivated in my case as I am not a morning person and like to ease in to my day. Others may love a morning workout, but it is not for everybody