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Breakfast before or after workout?

I workout first thing in the AM, or it doesn't happen. Can I wait until my workout (usually 30-45 min) is over to eat, or should I eat first? It would litterally be eat, put dishes in dishwasher, workout, so I don't know if that's too soon. I expect most days I'll be eating 2 scrambelled eggs w/ veggies.

  • Meni69 commented Mar 1st 2011:
    Leansgains.com advocates working out after a 16 hour fast, he will take in 10 grams of bcaa's just before going into the gym. That should stay off your body feeding on your muscles.


The Best Answer

I can't eat a breakfast within 30 min of waking up bc i have no appetite so this is my routine:

Ice water after I wake up

Whey protein shake mixed with water within 30 minutes of waking (40 grams of protein)

Gym around 45 minutes after the shake so i digest it, also take my pre-workout mix for energy

Slow carb meal after the gym, sometimes i make this a big breakfast or just go into a lunch like slow carb meal

All Answers


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After sleeping all night, your body uses up all the food and energy, so by the time you wake up, your body is starving and dehydrated. However, eating food before working out can give you cramps and ruin your workout. Especially meals that are high in fat or protein. Since you're doing a diet with 'slow-carb' foods, they're purposed designed to take a long time to digest, but that means that your body will be focused on digesting rather than on working out your muscles, especially with cardio.

Theoretically the best thing to do would be to have a little bit of simple carbohydrate (aka juice, sugar) before your workout, but since that's forbidden on the slow carb diet, I suggest you do this:

-Drink water right after you wake up to rehydrate your body

-Work out for no more than 30 minutes

-Eat breakfast immediately after your workout

FYI, I've been eating about an hour after I wake up and have had great results.


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Technically speaking, even if you wake up, eat, and then work out, the food you just ate won't be in your bloodstream and ready to fuel your muscles while you're working out.

So, i would suggest waking up, having a nice big glass of ice water and a whey protien shake with water (so, 2 glasses of liquid). THEN workout, and have your slow-carb breakfast after you are done.

This serves the purpose of getting protein in your system right away (whey protien shake will get to your blood faster than food), hydrates you, and also doesn't disrupt your routine, which is also very important.

  • Dawn George commented Dec 6th 2012:

    I keep reading abt whey protein, what abt a triple protein of rice protein, pea protein & soy protein???

  • wombat commented Dec 6th 2012:

    Don't do it. If you want to do true Slow carb the only approved Protein is Whey Protein Isolate.


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Breakfast is meant to break the fast from sleeping. It gets everything going in the right direction in the AM. That being said, if you are weight training you definitely need something before you work out. I have seen people suggest whey protein shakes. I cannot drink that much before a huge workout. I feel it jiggle in my belly. However, I have a handful of nuts and some cucumber or celery or I have almond butter - enough to sustain the workout and not feed off my muscles. I also have 16 oz of cold water.(hence why I cannot stomach a protein shake). You should then eat immediately following the workout. The fastest absorbing protein after a workout is a protein shake. Food is fuel. You don't want to be hungry at any point. If you can wait 45 minutes then have some eggs or egg whites with veggies and beans before you work out. Still eat within 45 minutes of a heavy workout.

  • BlondAmbition commented May 5th 2011:
    Why don't you just use half of the 16 oz of water to make a shake? That would be about one glass of water and one glass of protein shake.


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Tim blogged on this topic. He suggested a light breakfast high in protein an hour before a workout in the morning.


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I was wondering the same thing. I wake at 5am for 5:30 boot camp and then run for 30 minutes. So, I've been up for about 2 hours by the time I eat--eggs & beans & coffee. I can't bear to think about choking down eggs at 5am--afraid I will throw up at the boot camp. I also don't like the sloshing around if I drink a shake or something with a ton of liquid. I'm getting ok results, I guess I will just keep trying this for now or try taking a protein shake with me...



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In the book, he tells one of his clients to workout before breakfast.


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I often workout at 4 or 5 AM so I know where you're coming from.

I've had pretty good results with having a whey protein shake before working out and then eating breakfast after. You can also try having some BCAAs before for the energy and muscle building boost and then a have full SCD breakfast after.

Also, working out on an empty stomach is not going to hurt as much as some people think it will. See leangains.com for more information about fasted working out: Early Morning Fasted Training

I would worry less about the timing so much as eating the right stuff.

Good luck and work strong!

New John

We will either find a way . . . or make one. — Hannibal

New John for a New Year, my 4HB blog

  • NatalieGS commented May 11th 2011:
    Had a chance to wait the hour after breakfast today (working from home). I was able to do 10 more kettlebell swings. So, yeah, I think there's something to this. Will play with it again on Sunday...maybe focus on upper arms and some cardio.

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