For many of you, early morning training is a necessary evil. More challenging than getting to the gym though, is getting something to eat that will properly fuel you through that training session. I hope that this next blog will finally put to rest any doubt regarding the following question:
Q: Is it OK to train on an empty stomach every morning?
My answer: If you don't eat before you train, your performance will suffer at higher intensities and longer durations. When you wake up, your body is in a fasted state. You might have trouble just turning on the television without a cup of coffee, so you can't expect to perform your best without fueling up and hydrating first.
If eating early upsets your stomach, experiment with different foods rather than skipping breakfast entirely. Try food that's easy to digest like a bowl of cereal, two slices of toast with one tablespoon of peanut butter, a 16-ounce sports drink, or a glass of juice. Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates for breakfast with 10-20 grams of protein and a little healthy fat to balance off your meal.
The body doesn't care what form the fuel comes in—a meal, gel, bar or drink. What matters is getting the nutrients necessary to support your training session. Make it a habit and you'll stay focused and power through your workout, increase strength and power, and burn more calories during your session.