Do I need to eat before morning exercise?

Kerry Sutton   October 16, 2018

Do I need to eat before a morning run or exercise session. If so, what are some good pre-workout foods?

I get asked this questions a lot. I have clients who turn up to hill sessions or a hard HIIT session who haven’t had breakfast and it shows after the first 30 mins. Their ability to keep up the intensity starts to wane and their motivation drops off. This is because they have used up the reserves of carbohydrates in their bodies and are working on empty. It might seem like a good weight loss idea to not have breakfast but it doesn’t work.

So the rule is, you must fuel before a harder run or training session. The only time you can train fasted is if your session is of a low intensity; and even then only do this once or twice a week.

What are some good breakfast go-tos?

Oats: we generally think of eating these heated up as porridge but cold oats with yoghurt and milk with a smattering of fruit and sprinkle of seeds is lovely and quick to prepare. When buying oats, opt for the ‘whole rolled’ variety. I personally try to keep away from the more processed ones as they won’t keep you as full for as long.

Eggs are a great option. Scrambled with smoked salmon or poached with avocado on a slice of sourdough or on a multi grain baked loaf… hmmm don’t get me started.

Freshly made smoothies are also a winner. Here’s a tip: add in a raw egg to your smoothie to get a protein boost. You won’t taste it I promise!

These ideas are great for those who rise early and those who don’t have a busy ‘go go go’ morning schedule of getting hordes of unwilling children dressed and out of the door to school.

So if you are time poor, but know you are heading to Monday circuits or Tuesday speed session, grab something that has a more quick releasing fuel source like fruit. Again a smoothie full of bananas and berries, add some oats and that trusty egg will set you up well. Or you could grab a piece of multigrain toast with peanut butter or even a flapjack. Another thought is to increase your carbohydrate portion the night before so that your stores are high and the 9th rep of Ralph Allen doesn’t leave you dragging your knuckles along the ground in a depleted state.