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Provided that I'm not hungry, should I eat breakfast before or after a 30-minutes morning jog?

Update: There are many answers detailing opinions -- thanks! If someone could supply evidence supporting their view, I'd be even happier.

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After exercising. You can train harder/longer on an empty stomach, than a full belly. –  Anonymous Type Mar 11 '11 at 13:23

6 Answers 6

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I'd say this depends on your fitness, the intensity of the workout and perhaps how much you've eaten the night before.

Assuming jogging means a running speed of about ~10 km/h or ~6 mph, I expect you don't use that much energy that you can't cope with without jogging. More importantly, low intensity workouts mainly burn through fat and anything you would eat either isn't absorbed yet or only serves you energy for a couple of minutes, which won't help you during 'longer' workouts.

Off course, if you start to feel faint at the end of the workout, you could take some glucose with you, just to recharge when you need it.

So my advise: go running and enjoy your breakfast after the workout!


Resources:

  1. Skip breakfast before exercise to burn more fat, studies say
  2. The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast
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Since there are a lot of disagreeing opinions, would you mind providing a source for your answer? –  user26 Apr 23 '11 at 17:02
    
I don't have any source, other than my own experiences. But if you workout harder than you have direct energy in storage: you should have eaten something. If you eat too much before working out or workout 'too' hard after breakfast, you'll feel sick. The problem is, this 'ratio' is different for everyone... –  Ivo Flipse Apr 24 '11 at 14:50
    
Slightly related article: sweatscience.com/… –  Ivo Flipse Apr 24 '11 at 14:52

You should have at least some protein prior to exercise. This will largely serve to prevent you from overeating after your workout is over, and will provide some excess energy during your workout.

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I don't have any source for this but my chiropractor and my experience, but I advise against working out in the morning on an empty stomach. My goal is to burn fat through 30-45 minutes of low intensity exercise 3-4 mornings a week, but trying to burn fat without any carbs doesn't work; your body ends up eating its own protein (read: muscle). From experience, this seems to be true; I felt myself getting weaker about 3 months into my regime when I exercised on an empty stomach.

I found that getting a tiny amount of carbs into my system about 30 minutes before I exercise, then eating breakfast after, has worked well for me for about two years now.

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No breakfast, but half of an energy bar before jogging is good to get some sugar and carbs in your system to get the jogging started.
Then a not too heavy but well-rounded breakfast afterwards.

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The owner of the gym I go to said to drink a full glass of orange juice. It's light, so you won't get tired, but it will also fuel you.

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If Your goal is to loose weight, this would probably be a bad idea. As Ivo mentioned, in these low intensity workouts, You mostly burn through fat, so introducing carbs in the equation will remove the fat burning effect. A glass of OJ after the run is OK, though. –  Janis Peisenieks Mar 3 '11 at 22:16
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The problem with consuming nothing is you'll also burn muscle. –  jmort253 Mar 4 '11 at 3:28

The main problem with eating breakfast before a work out is you have to wait an hour or more for it to be digested. For jogging, a lot of people prefer to eat a carbohydrate rich meal before bed to avoid the wait in the morning.

If you aren't doing anything intense, a low speed 30 minute jog for example, this probably isn't necessary. But for more intense work outs you will use your glycogen supplies quickly without carb-loading the night before. You'll then get tired and do less, and lose lean tissue.

So the choice for running is a low intensity jog on a piece of fruit or drink, or mid-high intensity with a meal the night before.

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