Should You Eat Before You Workout? This Study Has The Answer

When it comes to fuelling up pre-sweat sesh, opinions are divided. Some swear by fasted cardio while others are all about chowing down before deadlifting. But where does science stand?

Well, new research has found that eating breakfast before exercising increased the rate at which the body burned carbs during the workout and boosted the rate the body metabolised food afterwards.

Published in American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, the study analysed and compared blood glucose and muscle glycogen of two different groups. Those who ate breakfast of porridge three hours before an hour of cycling and those who fasted overnight before undertaking the same exercise.

They found that those who ate breakfast burned more carbs during exercise, not just from the food they’d eaten but from what was stored in their muscles. They also continued to digest and metabolise their food at an increased rate throughout the rest of the day.

“This is the first study to examine the ways in which breakfast before exercise influences our responses to meals after exercise,” Dr Javier Gonzalez, co-author of the study, said. “We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb and metabolise carbohydrate that we may eat after exercise.”

“This study suggests that, at least after a single bout of exercise, eating breakfast before exercise may ‘prime’ our body, ready for rapid storage of nutrition when we eat meals after exercise,” co-author Rob Edinburgh added.

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